7 Ways to Launch White Papers with a Bang

Publishing a new white paper is a lot like publishing a new book — you need to do a lot of marketing ahead of time. Marketing beforehand can help create a lot of buzz and get people to line up to read it as soon as it is published.

But unlike marketing a book, you don’t have to market your white paper for months before you publish. If you start your marketing push a week or two before you plan to publish, you should have plenty of time to generate excitement and prepare to engage your readers.
The tips below will help you prepare for the big launch:

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100 Inspirational, Educational, and Just-Plain-Cool Content Marketing Examples

Looking for content marketing ideas? Aren’t we all? In the moments when I feel most overwhelmed with all the blogs, white papers, articles, social media posts, and more that exist online, sometimes it helps to take a step back and just browse my favorite sites for inspiration.

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5 Tips for Creating Customer Testimonial Podcasts

Capturing the voice of the customer is critical for producing an engaging customer reference, whether it becomes a full-blown case study or is incorporated into a press release, solution brief, or other type of marketing collateral. Collecting quotable material almost always involves an interview, either in person or conducted by phone and recorded to accurately capture the customer’s words.

This customer interview provides a key opportunity that many organizations overlook: The recorded audio can be repurposed for a podcast. Why produce a written document alone when you can provide direct access to the customer’s unique voice? For many prospects, actually hearing real customers endorse a product or service can be very convincing. Podcasts can supplement case studies and product web pages, provide multimedia content for interactive eBooks and conference presentations, and can even be incorporated into a series offered to subscribers over iTunes or other online distribution services.

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Are Your Content Registration Forms an Entry Point or a Barrier?

Content registration is sometimes considered a no-brainer in the content generation and distribution process: Write a white paper, eBook, or other content asset, put up a landing page and reg form, and you’re off, right? The problem is that registration can create friction in the lead generation and nurturing process. Marketers need to strategically decide when it’s appropriate to ask for contact details in exchange for content — and how much information to request.

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How to Engage Your Writers to Create More Compelling Content

While an organization’s content can take many forms — including web pages, blog posts, articles, white papers, presentations, brochures, and even books —  they all have one thing in common: The written word. That’s why as high-quality content becomes more important to growth and market differentiation, so does great writing.

This is particularly true for professional services firms, such as consultancies, law firms, and accounting firms, whose chief offering is expertise, not products. For such firms, content is the chief embodiment of the company’s expertise and, thus, must be as strong and compelling as possible.

Yet, for any company, not paying enough attention to the writing process can result in content that is unclear, jargon-filled, or simply not all that interesting. Even worse, such substandard content can give clients and prospects the impression that the firm’s ideas, innovations, and offerings are substandard as well.

The good news is that any organization can significantly improve the quality of its writing — and by extension its content — by following five key guidelines.

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5 Quick Tips to Make Your Content Live Longer

Content marketing is lunch pail work. It wears a blue collar and sometimes even a dirty blue collar. It’s the guy with callused hands in the boardroom. That’s because content marketing is for doers. After all, who has the time to sit around “thought leading” when there is so much coal to shovel onto the fire?

Believe me. I know.  I run content marketing, and I have the blisters to prove it.

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Content Marketers: Leverage Those Relationships!

One of the thousands of things we learned at Content Marketing World is that people still want (or you could even say need) in-person events. The event itself took the efforts of 100 people, from the staff to speakers to the event team and sponsors. The response from so many of you on the success of the event has been  overwhelming and has prompted many questions on how we managed to put it all together.

One specific question that kept coming up was, “How did you get the word out there?”  Well, I can tell you, a great deal of our success can be attributed to the content produced on the Content Marketing Institute, as well as on Joe Pulizzi’s blog, CCO magazine, and on our social media platforms. But the biggest asset we had was recognizing how important it was to leverage our relationships.Continue Reading

13 Content Options to Support Purchases

Is your marketing organization on the fence about using content marketing? If so, consider recent research from Cone Inc., which shows that across formats consumers are increasingly going online to find content that will help them make purchase decisions.

While Cone Inc.’s research highlights that consumers continue to turn to ratings and reviews and that blogs have gained customer interest, the reality is content marketing can support every step of the purchase process. If you don’t provide useful content, your competitors, other consumers, and the public will.

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How to Create an On-demand Webinar that Converts Readers into Leads

In today’s hyper-competitive world, typical white papers and webinars are no longer enough to attract qualified leads. We’re all overwhelmed with data and facts. Adding more to the pile simply doesn’t work.

So what makes some content offers stand out above the rest? It all comes down to perceived value vs. perceived risk.

Value is created when you can solve important and challenging problems; in other words, you need to determine how badly your customers want the content you are looking to provide, and how difficult it has been for them to find this information.

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What It Takes to Effectively Manage Content Marketing for Your Business

As we take a collective breath before we head to Cleveland to experience how content, marketing strategy, Rock & Roll, and more orange than we ever knew existed can be mixed together, Joe Pulizzi and I wanted to offer up a little surprise.

Before I get to the surprise, let’s talk a little about how we can make content marketing real in our organizations.

At this point, you’re no doubt convinced of the “why” of content marketing; it’s now a question of “how”: How do we make it a reality in our organization? We know that the ideas in content marketing aren’t new — we’ve all been doing it for years, in varying ways. But really, there’s been no standardized way to create repeatable, manageable, and measurable processes to manage content marketing.

As we’ve worked with some of the biggest brands in the world on creating content marketing strategies, we’ve see some of the same things coming up again and again, including certain challenges, tools, solutions, and processes that just simply work. And, they are reflected in the themes that we see repeated throughout the amazing content from CMI contributors. The big issues to address all seem to boil down to a great Top-10 list…

10. How do we build the business case?

Remember: A business case is not ROI; ROI is a goal that the business case addresses. Sometimes, before we can build a business case in our organization, we have to build a case for innovation itself, to prepare for this new way of thinking. As I mentioned, content marketing itself isn’t new; but implementing it as a regular practice in a company very often is an unfamiliar prospect that requires some guidance. You can find some of that guidance in Tom Pisello’s article, Is Your Content Marketing Relevant to Buyers, or Arnie Kuenn’s Developing Your Content Marketing Mindset.

9. Who are our buyer personas?

We need a process for identifying our buyers — the people who will be passionate subscribers to our brand — and mapping them to a content marketing strategy that will support our business case. I recommend Barbara Gago’s 4 Questions about Buyer Personas to get you started on this task.

8. What are our pillars of content?

What’s our story really about? Whether it’s one blog, a small white paper program, or a holistically integrated strategy, we have to tell a complete story. I discuss how to do this in my recent piece on What Content Marketing Is Really About.

7. What channels do we use?

Should we use print? Do we have a social media strategy? How do we create a channel strategy that makes sense and can be repeated? If you are looking for answers to these questions, take a look at Joe Chernov’s excellent post on how Content Marketing Is a Force Multiplier.

6. What workflow should we use, and how do I set up an editorial calendar?

How do we align content on all the available channels into a calendar and other process tools? Take a look at Kathy Hanbury’s wonderful post on creating a Content Marketing Toolkit or Michele Linn’s post on How to Put Together an Editorial Calendar for some ideas.

5. What tools do we need?

Of course, a great process is facilitated and made easier with the tools we use. From content management to lead generation to social media, choosing the right tool can mean the difference between struggle and success. My post on How to Choose a CMS for Content Marketing offers just one example of this.

4. How do we get our choir to sing?

It’s a safe bet that any given organization might not necessarily be filled with skilled writers and other content producers. We need to align our best content resources so we know when and where we might need to outsource. A number of CMI contributors tackled this issue in the great roundup post, How to Hire the Right Consultant.

3. What is the best way to listen?

Of course, one of the biggest changes in our strategies is that it’s not just content we’re publishing — it’s conversation. And, as part of any good conversation, we need to listen first — to both the conversations we’re generating and those happening outside of our organizations. Joe Pulizzi’s post on setting up and managing Listening Posts provides an excellent discussion on how to make this happen.

2. How do we measure success?

Perhaps the most popular topic in content marketing is how to effectively create a measurement process that can justify the time and effort it takes. Tom Pisello’s post on How to Calculate the ROI of Social Media Marketing has some great measurement tips that can help.

1. How do we put it all together?

Here’s where I get to the surprise that Joe and I have for ya’ll:

We are very proud to announce that we’ve spent the last six months taking all of the experience we have gained over the last few years of working with REAL clients with REAL content marketing challenges and have distilled it into what we think can be your owner’s manual for content marketing.

Our new book, Managing Content Marketing – The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand, is designed to tell marketers exactly how to put content marketing to work with a structured, repeatable process. In fact, it covers the processes of the Top-10 list that you just read.

As Jeffrey Hayzlett, the former CMO of Kodak and author of the bestselling book, The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing, said in his very kind forward:

What gets me fired up about this book is that these guys have it so right. Their book provides the vital steps required to navigate this new path called content marketing.

You can certainly learn more about the book here. But we’re very proud to announce that, due to the herculean efforts of Newt Barrett and the editing team at CMI Books, we will have a limited supply of preview copies for sale at Content Marketing World, and online sales will follow very shortly in mid-September.

At Content Marketing World, we’ll have four full days of talking content marketing. We’ll learn so much about how the power of story can work for our business. The process is new. We need to be okay with that. The budget allotted for new content creation is going to become a significant part of our “new media” budget. And subject matter experts in our organizations are going to have new responsibilities. It’s a transformative new process, and it won’t happen overnight. But it can, and should, happen.

Get Content Get Customers, showed us the light, but there’s been no book to show us the way.

Until now.

See you in Cleveland.