Author: Robert Rose

Robert is the founder and chief strategy officer of The Content Advisory, the education and consulting group for The Content Marketing Institute. Robert has worked with more than 500 companies, including 15 of the Fortune 100. He’s provided content marketing and strategy advice for global brands such as Capital One, NASA, Dell, McCormick Spices, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Robert’s third book – Killing Marketing, with co-author Joe Pulizzi has been called the “book that rewrites the rules of marketing.” His second book – Experiences: The Seventh Era of Marketing is a top seller and has been called a “treatise, and a call to arms for marketers to lead business innovation in the 21st century.” Robert’s first book, Managing Content Marketing, spent two weeks as a top 10 marketing book on and is generally considered to be the “owners manual” of the content marketing process. You can follow him on Twitter @Robert_Rose.

By robert-rose published August 31, 2011

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.

By robert-rose published July 5, 2011

What Content Marketing Is Really About

Ask any good author what their story is about and you will almost certainly not get the plot (what happens in the story) but rather the themes (what the story is about).

Take, for example, the recently released hit comedy Bridesmaids.  The story is not about the raunchy shenanigans that go into planning a wedding, but it’s about how life “moves on” with or without you, and you must take charge of it.  In fact, the climactic scene for the main character is not the big wedding, but rather an argument two of the bridesmaids have that convinces Annie (one of the bridesmaids) that she has to “fight for herself.”

Continue Reading

By robert-rose published April 14, 2011

Do You Really Need A Content Marketing Consultant?

Okay quick – how many marketing consultants does it take to change a light bulb?  There is no shortage of punch lines here.   “It depends – how large is your budget?”  Or – “We don’t know – they never seem to get past the requirements stage.”  Or, here’s my favorite (maybe because I made it up) – “Four, one to change the bulb and three to blog how Seth Godin would have done it.

Okay, jokes aside – you may have seen that we have formally launched CMI’s consulting practice (CMIC). I’m so very pleased to have a leading role in helping CMI organize this important initiative, and I’m honored to be working alongside such a stellar group of people.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published September 27, 2010

Content Mobility: The Key to Content Migration

When we think of mobile and content these days, the conversation usually goes to publishing content for mobile devices such as iPhones, Blackberries and Android phones.  While the mobile platform is interesting – and something other CMI contributors have covered – by “mobile” I actually mean something quite different. I’m talking about content mobility: migrating content from one CMS to another.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published September 16, 2010

How to Choose a CMS for Content Marketing: Don’t Hammer with a Screwdriver

My college roommate used to hold up his giant screwdriver and say – “this is the only tool I’ll ever need.” And, he’d hammer nails with it, open boxes with it, open beer bottles with it (yes, college was like that for me). It was everything he needed. Sadly, the same can’t be said for different web content management software.

So, if you’re neck deep in a content marketing strategy, it’s a sure bet that you’re also, in some way, wrestling with a web content management system (CMS). Continue Reading

By robert-rose published July 12, 2010

4 Quick Tips for Increasing Your Content Marketing Budget

There’s a great quote that I love that says, “Budgeting is just a way to worry about money before you spend it.”  As you get ready to move into the planning season for your 2011 budget, it’s a good time to start thinking about things you might do to increase your chances of getting increased budget for content marketing.

So, with no further ado – here are some quick checklist items to do as you prepare your content marketing budget.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published June 7, 2010

How to Use Mapping to Develop and Measure Content

In last week’s post, I walked you through how to map your content to your buyer personas and sales funnel. By having this information, you can start to see where your gaps in content are.

So, what’s next? You need to fill in the gaps and put a plan in place to measure what is and isn’t working.Continue Reading

By robert-rose published June 2, 2010

A Quick and Dirty Way to Segment your B2B Content Marketing

If you’re a B2B marketer you’ve inevitably heard sales say things like this:

“Yeah, we’re getting leads from all that content you guys in marketing are writing – but they’re all tire kickers.”

Or (my favorite): “We don’t need more leads. . . we need better leads.”  What now?

You want to be able to address these questions from sales with answers that are really specific. For instance, wouldn’t it be nice to be armed with this kind of info?Continue Reading