By Carla Johnson published January 3, 2014

How to Deliver the Right Content Marketing, in a Scalable Way

[Editor’s note: Happy Holidays! This week, the editorial team at Content Marketing Institute wanted to share some of the best content marketing blog posts we’ve seen from the CMI Online Training and Certification program’s roster of expert instructors. Today’s post originally appeared on Carla Johnson’s Type A Communications blog.]


red pencil-multiplication-scalable contentOne of the biggest struggles between sales and marketing stems from understanding what sales needs to turn a prospect into a customer, and what marketing has the bandwidth to produce. It’s a battle that repeats itself regardless of company size or industry focus.

To help remove some of the animosity from the relationship, it helps to have everyone on the same page and understand the multiplication mindset when it comes to creating the right content marketing:

  1. Set objectives: Traditionally, marketing has created content and handed it off to sales teams to use how and when they see fit; a “one-size-fits-all” approach that no longer works. Before marketing can better assist sales, both have to determine their main objective for content — brand awareness, lead generation, sales, customer retention, thought leadership, and so forth.
  2. Know your buyers: Take time to identify the people with whom you want to connect and understand them intimately. By creating personas, both sales and marketing will identify and understand common characteristics of a group of people with whom you want to connect. It outlines their perspectives, fears, drivers, and content needs.
  3. Understand your buyer/retention cycle: Many companies focus on generating leads and closing the sale, then forget about customers until it’s time for them to buy again. That’s a big mistake. Sales teams need to think about retention and renewals as much as the original sale. What matters most to your persona during each phase? How do their content needs change?
  4. The multiplier effect: This is where sales gains empowerment and marketing can catch their breath. On average, teams can create 12 additional pieces of content from a single white paper. Here are just a few examples once you have the main piece created:
  • Blogs: Generate multiple posts that cover why the problem is a problem, the solution (your unique point of view) and the impact the solution has on an organization.
  • Videos: Consider both internal and external. What does your subject-matter expert have to teach about the subject? What’s something that proved most valuable to a customer.
  • Webinar: Think “how to,” and give hands-on information that allows attendees to listen, then immediately use what they learned.
  • Infographic: We all like pictures, and they help make statistics and new processes easier to relate to.
  • Publish an eBook: Look for common themes and questions and then create an eBook that addresses them.
  • Develop an app: Can you help your customers by making life easier for them through an app?
  • Create a community: If you hear the same questions from customers over and over, this may be the time to bring them together. Connect them both online and off and help facilitate connections that prove valuable for them.

Right time. Right place. Right content 

What content you use when depends on the persona and where they are in the buyer/retention cycle. Now that you understand your personas, and the breadth and depth of content that you can create from a single source, it’s easier to map that to the buyer/retention cycle and deliver the right content that engages them with the right message when they’re most likely to pay attention.

Stay tuned for more details on the CMI Online Training and Development program. And if you are looking for more guidance on content marketing, read “Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, & Win More Customers by Marketing Less,” by Joe Pulizzi. 

Cover image via

Author: Carla Johnson

Recognized as one of the top 50 influencers in content marketing, Carla's latest book, Experience: The 7th Era of Marketing, with CMI's Robert Rose, teaches marketers how to develop, manage, and lead the creation of valuable experiences in their organizations. Carla serves as the Vice President of Thought Leadership for the Business Marketing Association (a division of the ANA), and is an instructor for the Content Marketing Institute, the ANA, and Rutgers University. A frequent speaker, Carla also contributes to industrywide news outlets, forums and conferences on the future of the B2B marketing profession, leading through innovation and storytelling. Learn more at Type A Communications and follow her on Twitter at @CarlaJohnson.

Other posts by Carla Johnson

  • Friv 2 Friv 4

    Thank to you page, like this.

    • Carla_Johnson

      I’m happy this was helpful!

  • David Parker

    Very nicely scripted! Simple and straight-forward (probably likely to work then), but I do completely agree with you final statement, you MUST connect online and off-line experiences to be successful. This is one of my annoyances with the focus on Digital/Social” channels only, they are OK, they are a commanding communications channel, but not the end game.

    • Carla_Johnson

      David –

      I absolutely agree! There’s such a huge focus on digital and social to connect, which makes sense when you’re trying to do that at scale. But it’s not the only approach and there are still many people who prefer to engage through traditional channels, including person-to-person. In the end, you just can’t beat a great conversation with another person.


      • Sarah Bauer

        Absolutely! I love to see the person-to-person connections inspire content and social – whether it’s a photo posted to a company Twitter account live from a B2B event, or a blog post covering a commonly asked customer question. There’s tons of room for engaged interplay online and off.

        Sarah Bauer
        Navigator Multimedia

        • Carla_Johnson

          You’re spot on Sarah!

  • Kaloyan Banev

    Definitely the article is going beyond the basics. To be honest, I often doubt that sales team understand on 100% marketing team, that’s why strategy might struggle.

    • Carla_Johnson

      Kaloyan –
      I agree with you about sales not understanding marketing,and I think the reverse is just as true. Marketing creates a strategy without sales’ input, and sales doesn’t understand what their role can and should be in extending the brand story. I think sales teams are significantly easier to work with than many marketers give them credit, it just takes awareness and patience to truly understand how each other works.

      Thanks for your input, I appreciate it,

  • Ali

    There is always a gap between #Marketing and#sales and still it is very tough to integrate both in a one row. Marketing skipped sales before designing a strategy and same response from sales.

    A well thrown rich #content can only be produced when marketing and sales collaboration are positive and both are aligned at one page to meet mutual / combined goals.