I recently put together a new content marketing presentation focusing on the eight things I would be doing as a marketing executive now and into 2012. I thought I’d share it with you. Odds are, all of these won’t work for you, but I guarantee that at least one could make a major impact on your business for 2012.
Tackle One Goal with Content for 2012
Take a look at your marketing plan. Is there something in it that is working well but could work better? Is there something that is completely and utterly broken?
The solution to that effort could be solved with a content initiative.
For example, many people don’t realize that the ultimate objective behind GM’s magazine Corvette Quarterly was NOT primarily as a loyalty tool for Corvette owners. Actually, it was used as a conversion tool for other sports car owners, such as Porsche. Who knew?
How about P&G? They have so many personas and verticals it may seem hard to manage content creation and distribution. So their plan was to create individual platforms for many of their buying groups
- HomeMadeSimple.com – Stay-at-home Moms and Dads
- BeingGirl.com – Adolescent Girls (check out this article on BeingGirl.com performance)
- ManoftheHouse.com – Dudes like me (excellent story on ManoftheHouse here from CCO Magazine)
Point is, think of your challenge a little differently with a possible content solution like GM and P&G has.
Reimagine Your Content 10 to 1
Google’s Panda update earlier this year means that social media sharing is more important to getting found in search engines than ever before. In addition, our customers are completely in control with how and when they engage in our content. That means we have to think from the beginning how each of our stories will be produced and shared.
So, think 10 to 1. Can you reimagine your stories in 10 different ways? Can that blog post become a white paper series, Kindle eBook or even a printed book? Can that video story be transcribed into a blog post, broken apart and shared via Facebook, or transformed into a podcast? Point is, think about these things up front:
- How will you pre-activate the content in all situations? (get the community involved in the content)
- How will you share the content?
- What can the base content offering (blog, video, etc.) become?
Take the Visual Content Audit
Sometimes it’s hard to convince the executive team that your content is broken. Unfortunately, to get some buy-in from the CXO, they need to see it first hand.
- If you can, print out a good portion of your content – white papers, web site pages, blog posts, Tweet stream, etc.
- Then gather your marketing team in a room around a large table.
- Spread out the printed content on the table.
- Engage in your content.
Odds are, you are talking about yourselves in most of the content…you are NOT focused on solving the customer’s pain points. Ask the executive team if they would really engage in this kind of information. Hopefully, after this little exercise, the marketing team will be thinking a bit differently about what is produced.
Clearly Identify Content Marketing Roles
Whatever size company you are with, you need to establish the roles of Chief Content Officer, Managing Editor, Content Producers, Chief Listening Officer and your Content Creators. Look at your content marketing workflow and make some decisions now.
Test a Niche Related to Your Products
Look at what Citrix has done with Workshifting.com, an incredibly helpful content site for those who want to work anywhere and everywhere. They saw an opportunity back in 2009 around this niche of small-business owners and executives on the go, and created the ultimate resource site for them.
Can you do that for one of your target customers or prospects? If so, what would it do for your business?
Partner Where it Makes Sense
Openview Labs, a product of Openview Venture Partners [disclaimer: I am an Openview Advisor], develops almost all of the content for this resource site themselves, using their internal employees and an on-site studio.
On the other hand, American Express outsources most of Open Forum to agencies and freelancers.
Both great sites, both done completely differently.
Find out what you are great at and what resources you have inside your organization…then outsource the rest.
Do you remember when JPG, the photography magazine, was on the selling block? It wasn’t another publishing company that bought them…it was a group led by Adorama Camera, a photography supplies store. Genius!
Are their media companies in your industry that have a great brand, an excellent subscriber base or tremendous talent or workflow? If so, you might want to consider buying them.
For those regular readers of this blog, this point is not new…but critical none-the-less. My take is that Google, currently the world’s largest organizer of content, will soon become the largest publisher in the world, with their recent content purchases of Zagat and on YouTube.
This is scary, because it is possibly that Google could monopolize the entire content finding chain. To combat this:
- Focus on your referral traffic by building relationships with outside influencers.
- Consider creating an influencer content site around a topic that isn’t being fulfilled. Mike Stelzner has done this with Social Media Examiner. We have hopefully done this with the Content Marketing Institute with the help of our 65 contributing authors.
- Create content pieces leveraging the larger community. Put your influencers, including your customers, in the spotlight (they’ll be more likely to share).
Overall, think about these issues for 2012:
- What does your audience really need to know? (their pain points)
- Share awesome stuff (the best in your industry) with clear goals!
- It’s almost never about you (your story needs to be about your customers).
- What are your content roles?