5 Things Your Content Campaign Is Missing
No matter how experimental you want to get with your brand’s content, it should always align with your sales goals. Whether you’re writing daily blog posts, producing a video series, or investing time in writing an e-book, you need to tie those efforts back to revenue in order to stay on track.
As marketing consultant Suzanne Baran put it, “a viable content strategy relates each [customer] persona and target audience to each phrase of the sales engagement cycle.”
But this can get tricky because content marketing is not always a direct sales tool. Content marketing drives sales by generating brand awareness, building trust, and engaging prospects. Consequently, good content marketing requires keeping clear metrics of success at the top of your priority list at all times.
Here’s what some of your most basic priorities should be for optimizing your strategy:
Content gives your brand legs — and these metaphorical legs can walk. Content opens doors to new, ever-growing distribution channels that your landing pages, product galleries, and contact forms could never enter. Every blog post you write can be shared or syndicated with larger media channels if you strike the right deals and relationships. Anybody can link to your stories if you make it easy for them to share.
Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to get your content in front of as many people as possible by joining relevant conversations, sharing information, and actively seeking to add value. It’s up to your marketing team to kickstart the process, taking into account strategies that may involve syndication partners and dissemination of stories through social channels. At the very least, make sure those Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn sharing buttons are high up on each piece of your brand’s content so that readers and viewers can get the word out.
As an example, LaunchBit CEO Elizabeth Yin syndicates her writing with the more widely-read Women 2.0 blog. This strategy helps her amplify her reach and exposure while generating awareness about her ocmpany.
2. Strategic Partner Development
Trying to get the attention of a potential brand partner, advisor, or customer? Write about her — feature her story on your blog, and link to her. Better yet, ask for an interview. Content marketing opens doors for conversations that will teach the interviewee or partner about your brand in the process.
When you’re leaving blog comments, responding to discussion threads, and featuring great stories, you’re doing more than just growing audience — you’re building new relationships. Make sure there’s a dialogue between your content marketing efforts and your partnerships team. Knowing their priorities can help shape yours.
For inspiration, check out Crazy Egg and Unbounce — two conversion optimization software companies that run amazing blogs. They’re leveraging their content marketing efforts to cross-promote one another. Blogging is social, powerful for companionship, and invaluable for community support.
3. Customer Retention
If you’re handling goal #1 on this list properly, you’re seeing that good content brings prospects to your site. Now what? Use it to make them come back. Newsletters, social media, e-books sign-ups, and regular blog updates are all invaluable strategies for building retention. Make sign-up fields and social “follow” buttons prominent. Customers won’t come back unless they have reason, so you’ll need to craft a strategy to push that content right to them once they show the initial interest.
Money management platform LearnVest maintains a daily newsletter that pushes high-quality content to subscribers each morning. Readers get a glimpse of great writing in their email inboxes, but the really good stuff? You have to click through to the company blog. They use a “tease” of inspiring content to keep bringing customers back to their site.
4. Brand Advocates
If your content rocks, your community will share it — and the more that they share, the more your audience will grow. But you can’t be everywhere online — that is, until your fans and followers start sharing your content in their own professional and personal circles. That’s free marketing. Identify who these brand advocates are, reach out to them, and let them know you’re paying attention to them (this applies to branded content much in a way that it applies to basic social media management). That’s a basic way of improving their connection to you so that they’ll share even more prolifically.
When power Twitter user Peter Shankman tweeted to Morton’s to meet him at the Newark airport with a steak, he hardly expected them to show up. To his (and everyone else’s) surprise, they did, and his response was more than enthusiastic. If your brand is awesome, the world will find out.
5. Employee Training Assets
You’ve been there — you find the perfect entry-level addition to your team. Thing is, he knows nothing about online marketing or your industry. If only you could accelerate the growth of his wisdom. If only you had the time to teach him everything. You’d love to get him set up even before his official start date. Well, if you’ve been blogging regularly or producing great video content, you’ll have exactly that — instant training tools for your new team members. Your content tells your brand story and this is invaluable for people getting to know your company internally as well as externally.
As an example, check out Zappos. This online retailer produces an annual ‘Culture Book’ of employee-generated content that’s distributed to team members, visitors, and new hires.
The ROI of content can go a long way if you keep the right goals in front of you at all times. When you do, that content will prove invaluable to your business’s bottom line. Happy writing.