By Regina Antonio published September 6, 2012

Distilling the Magic and the Mystery that is Content Marketing Success

Today’s keynote speaker was Marcus Sheridan, an energetic and super passionate advocate of content marketing. His enthusiasm was contagious; but more importantly, he shared some inspired and proven thinking that audience members could immediately apply to their business. His main message? “Content is the greatest sales tool in the world. Period.” In his talk, Marcus dispelled some common mysteries that surround content production.

Mystery #1: Getting started, then staying inspired

What is the ultimate content marketing strategy? According to Marcus, listening is the greatest content marketing tool in the world. Great listeners never run out of content. If you listen well, thousands of questions will come your way. Follow the golden rule of content marketing: “They ask, you answer.” Get people in your company together and ask what questions they answer every single day. Write them down. Within 30 minutes, either you will come up with 50 questions, or you didn’t try. Turn every question into a blog post. That translates to one year’s worth of content. Sexy content is stuff that people want to know about. Consumers define what’s sexy. Make that your guiding light.

Mystery #2: My competitors will steal my secrets

“You ain’t got no secrets.” It’s common for everyone to think that they have a special sauce that can’t be shared with the world. There is no special sauce. Anyone can go to Google and find out just about every answer to every question. Share your knowledge. Be a teacher. Customers will look to you as the expert.

Mystery #3: “I don’t have time for content marketing”

Content marketing is important to your business. Look to content marketing as you look at payroll. There’s simply no debate; it’s not an option. The whole myth that there’s no time to create content does not exist. Make it a culture in your business. It’s how you roll. We live in an age where information can do so much for a business. If you allow yourself to think that you don’t have the time, then you don’t get it.

Mystery #4: Thought leadership

We all should have a desire to lead people within our realm. Marcus related his personal story about being the first to publish an eBook that graded manufacturers of fiberglass pools. Nobody knew who he was at the time, but he put his ideas and observations that he had built over the years out there, and the next day every single manufacturer in the industry started to contact him. Over the next few months, he got calls from around the country and then from around the world. “If you want to be a thought leader in your industry, then have a dang opinion, and share it.”

Mystery #5: ROI

Every business needs to know how much its content is making for it in sales. Marcus studied the metrics from his pool business website and gained some valuable insight about his business. He compared the number of people who filled out the form on the website and later bought a pool with the number of people who filled out the form but didn’t buy a pool. And he came up with the magic number of “30.” He found out that the customers who read 30 or more pages of his website ended up buying a pool. And so he ran with this key information and ensured that potential customers viewed 30 pages of content before they even started the sales process. Marcus’ powerful advice was “Be the best teacher in the world on what you do. We have no idea how much info viewers will consume on our websites until we give it to them.”

Mystery #6: Buy-in

Not everyone “gets” content marketing. We need to change the mentality of our staff and convince them that this works. Typically, what people don’t understand is why content marketing is important. With practically all information available on the web today, we must shift our thinking. In a company every employee has knowledge to share and has the ability to answer questions. Therefore, every employee needs to be a part of marketing. Once all employees understand that generating content allows them to become teachers with valuable information to share, they will make the connection that the content they create will ultimately help grow the business. Then they will buy into the thinking that creating content must become part of the company culture.

Final thoughts that Marcus shared… insourcing will be the greatest factor of content marketing. Content isn’t about tools; it’s about culture. We know the rewards of success — ROI, real sales, real relationships, real culture… but there is something that goes beyond all of this. Every person has a different answer to “why” we do what we do. Marcus left the audience with a challenge to seek out the deeper “why.”

Author: Regina Antonio

Regina had over 15 years' experience consulting and managing technical writing and documentation projects for large corporations before transitioning to marketing. In her role today as Director of Marketing at Aditya Birla Minacs, she continually takes on an ever-growing mandate to support business development while driving new initiatives in social media, analyst relations, and public relations.

Other posts by Regina Antonio

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  • http://allmarketingsolutions.co.uk/social-media-marketing-services Ayaz

    Hi Regina! I agree with you on that a good listener can be a good speaker and that’s how you can judge and analyse the other one how they are reacting to you and in terms of content I believe a good listener can absorb lots of different situations and when he got a chance to express, he certainly do it with a great way.

    • Regina Antonio

      I hear you, Ayaz. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/carlfriesen Carl Friesen

    I heard Marcus Sheridan at CMW 2011, and was inspired to start a blog on
    the basis he described: Write out the top questions your
    clients/prospects ask, and then answer them. In professional services
    marketing, I find that this works particularly well in marketing a “commodity”
    service, one that many of your competitors can do as well. Regina,
    you’ve set out the essence of what Marcus had to share at both
    conferences, and to me, this is the heart and soul of content marketing.
    Well put.