Don't Be So Idealistic! Here's Content Strategy for the Real World

Dec 06, 2013

When it comes to content strategy, it’s easy for blogs, articles and white papers to tell you what to do and how you should do it as though every situation is the same and every company is the same. That simply isn’t the case. Resources, talent and circumstances are different for every company at every level. Whilst perusing the World Wide Web, I came across this article from Direct Marketing News. It offered up some interesting statistics about content strategy and includes these tips to improving your content strategy:

  • Determine content gaps in the buyer journey and create targeted content to fill them.
  • Develop fully segmented personas for more targeted content marketing.
  • Develop a tightly focused content development plan for lead generation.
  • Use the technology the company already has in house to start measuring the performance of a company's content marketing efforts.
  • Eliminate underperforming content after six months if it's not producing the desired engagement or conversions.

Those are all great tactics to employ, and I am by no means attempting to belittle the thought that went into them, but at the end of the day, how reasonable are these strategies for certain businesses in certain industries? Let’s take a look at each of these again and try to reconcile the ideal, text-book way to do things with the harsh realities of organizational limitations:

Determine content gaps in the buyer journey and create targeted content to fill them.
There will always be content gaps. Identify the largest gaps and address those first. Determine how “into the weeds” you need to get with your content as it pertains to the products/services you offer. Don’t let a content gap turn into a content black hole that swallows up all of your time, attention and resources. A little content, especially if it’s good content, can go a long way.

Develop fully segmented personas for more targeted content marketing.
This really comes down to time and people-power. If you have a smaller marketing team, generic isn’t always the worst thing in the world. Good content on sales methodology, for example, will often have nuggets of knowledge relevant to anyone is sales; you wouldn’t necessarily need to write one specifically for sales in Industry X. You can get crafty with titles and promotional text (on social media, for example) to present generic content in a more targeted context without repackaging the same message for every segment of your audience.

Develop a tightly focused content development plan for lead generation.
This should be the backbone for every content marketing strategy regardless of budget, time or resources.

Use the technology the company already has in-house to start measuring the performance of a company's content marketing efforts.
For SMBs or organizations with limited marketing budget, this will typically mean utilizing free resources like Google Analytics and social media and measurement tools (you should be pushing your content through social media, by the way). This will work for a centralized marketing department, but when marketing and sales are working in unison on a campaign (meaning more people are involved) more detailed tracking and metrics may be required. This is where marketing resource management systems and marketing automation systems can provide support to both sales and marketing teams.

Eliminate underperforming content after six months if it's not producing the desired engagement or conversions.
Archived content, unless the information or branding elements within it are grossly outdated, isn’t harming anything by staying on your site. No one ever had too much content. Reuse a white paper in a tweet if it hasn’t been downloaded much in the past few months. Having a large pool of content – even if it’s not the most clicked or downloaded content on your site – allows you to keep your messages fresh on social media or email campaigns without having to write two new white papers or three new case studies every month. Not to mention unless you have a team solely devoted to content development, six months is simply too frequent of a turnover rate for content.

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Tags: Blog, sales, content marketing, resources, collateral, white papers, target marketing, budget

A Look into Seth Godin’s ‘Connection Economy’

Jul 16, 2013

We are in an age of "permission marketing." This was the topic I had the pleasure to hear Seth Godin speak about at the Integrated Marketing Week Conference last month. One of his main points: All media is optional. If people don’t want to talk to you or listen to you, they don't have to. We're past the time when marketers can just cram messages down people's throats. Everyone skips the commercials on DVR. In the subject line of an email, you essentially are asking them to open your email. In the opt-in form on your website, you have to ask them to sign up for your newsletter. You can’t just say attack the audience with your product; you have to build a connection first.

The Connection Economy
This significantly reduces the value of the mass market, according to Godin. The real value for your marketing dollar is on the edges – the places where specialized info will be most valued. The edge is more receptive to specific messaging. Think politics and religion if you want more vivid examples – the edge craves content on their subject and consumes it at much deeper and higher rates because there’s more passion there. That's where you’re making your connection, and that’s what drives Godin’s notion that we are living in a "Connection Economy."

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Tags: branding, Blog, content strategy, messaging, B2B, content marketing, marketing technology, marketing resource management, connection economy, seth godin

May 2013 Monthly Marketing News Snapshot

May 29, 2013

Stay better informed as a marketing professional with this monthly series highlighting the latest developments in all things marketing. Get caught up with the May Marketing News Snapshot.

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Tags: branding, Blog, marketing news, online marketing, google, Twitter, TV, content advertising, Tumblr, B2B, Yahoo, B2C, content marketing, USPS, Nielsen, advertising, May, postal service, email marketing, social media, marketing technology

Three Ways Marketing Can Improve Cross-Functional Relationships

May 21, 2013

Executives hate to hear the S-word. The very sound of it is abrasive to their business sense, and hearing it tossed around the office is an affront to the culture they’ve tried to build. That word, of course, is “silos” – the word used to describe the extent of divisions between functional departments within the organization.

Deep down, humans really don’t like to share and that means a siloed organization is one that will struggle to thrive or reach its full potential. In Robert J. Herbold’s book “The Fiefdom Syndrome,” the author addresses the turf battles that often undermine company strategies, and your marketing strategy is not exempt from those battles. The author points out those fiefdoms tend to hoard and hide information in order to reflect the view that puts them in the best light. When it comes to your marketing strategy, the discipline of collaboration across the entire organization is an element you cannot give up on.

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Tags: branding, Blog, silos, blogging, brand advocacy, employee engagement, marketing, content development, content marketing, brand consistency

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