Webinar Q&A: Content is Marketing Currency


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On Wednesday, I answered a question that had been asked during the webinar about how to improve a content strategy you already have with the post Take Your Content Marketing Up Stream. Today, I'd like to address some of the other questions that were asked during the Content is Marketing Currency Webinar sponsored by GoToWebinar.

Q: Beyond Linked in and Facebook, do you have recommendations for using other third parties to further distribute content?

Off the top, here are a few ideas:

  • Content syndication is a great way to get your content out.
  • Guest blog posts on blogs read by your potential prospects.
  • Guest articles contributed to group eBooks or niche websites.
  • Using Twitter to promote your own blog posts.
  • Inclusion of one of your articles in a partner's newsletter sent to an appropriate audience.
  • Joining the panel in a Webinar discussion that can use your expertise.

Q: Can you point to some good public B2B examples of this kind of integrated content marketing that we can look at online?

One of the best examples around is HubSpot. In addition to their website, they publish a blog, use Twitter and Facebook, host the Inbound Marketers group on LinkedIn, put on HubSpot TV, sponsor the Inbound Marketing Institute, provide widgets like website grader, and more. Everything they do is connected in some fashion. They've taken the Hub concept and multiplied it. And it's paying off. You can see just how well in their case study in my book. If you don't have it, you can download the chapter with their case study.

Q: Do you have a marketing automation technology you recommend.

Not to downplay this question, but it's not that easy. Marketing automation technology is not one-size fits all. I can say fantastic things about Genius.com, Manticore Technology, Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop, Neolane and even smaller players like LeadLife and Genoo – to mention a few.

Selecting the right MA solution for your company depends on a few things:

  • The process you've designed for lead management.
  • Whether your company is sales or marketing driven.
  • The components and purpose of your content strategy.
  • The quality of your lead database.
  • Your ability to respond to prospect behaviors.
  • How easily you can update your website.
  • How well marketing is aligned with sales.
  • and more…

The thing that's important is for you to determine exactly what you want to accomplish, how you'll do it and the resources you have to support the technology and the process – all before you choose. Technology won't solve the problem. Marketing automation is best used in support of a solid process.

Q: As an independent consultant, my "buyer" is my "client," not HR or buying staffer within a large company. Who  is actually reading and participating in twitter, blogs, etc? I doubt it's the VP or program team leader or IT  services company owner I might target, but maybe I'm wrong. What do you say?

I say you need to take a look. You might be surprised. In a recent Webinar, Peter Burris, VP and Principle at Forrester Research, said that 85% of decision makers they interviewed reported to use social media during the decision-making process.

As an independent consultant, myself, I can attribute at least 6 new clients to my engagement with them on social media – during the last year, alone. I don't work with HR or a buying staffer either. I work with marketing and sales executives, company owners, and product marketing teams.

But don't take my word for it. Sites like these are great places to take a look at who's active in social media:

www.twellow.com – search under categories

www.wefollow.com – enter search terms – for example, CIO shows 164 in the list of Twitter users.

LinkedIn – search for CIO there shows over 97K users. I belong to 46 groups and I see a lot of executives participating. For example, the Director of Content Strategy from Microsoft posed a question in one of my groups just last week.

Social media may be in the early stages, but I pretty much bet that your clients are involved in one way or another, even if they're reading blogs, watching videos or attending Webinars. Social media is not limited to Twitter and Facebook.

Remember that most people are passive participators. They're out there but may only be reading and observing. That means you could be missing a big opportunity to catch their attention or connect with them if you're not there. The trick is in diagnosing just which platforms are ripe for you and your company. Do a little research before you say that your clients are not there.

Q: I am a solo marketer working within a professional service business where the fee earners are also the subject matter experts and therefore are the guys who should be generating the content ideas.  Have you any advice for engaging my colleagues in the types of activity you advocate, so that I don't have to drive myself crazy doing it for them?

Yes. I find that it helps if you focus on the experts who "want" to contribute. Some people are not natural writers. Learn which topics your willing writers are highly passionate about and then suggest/outline an editorial calendar for each of them.

  • An outline generally includes several sentences setting up a main idea and 3 bullets of corresponding points that can be applied to that idea to flesh out a content resource. There's nothing worse for many people than starting with a blank page. Hopefully, once they get the hang of it, they'll start submitting their own ideas for content development.
  • Set parameters so they know exactly what they're aiming for. For example; 200 to 250 words is fine for a blog post, 500 – 600 words
    for an article, etc.
  • Set deadlines they can agree to – like twice per month on specific dates.If they schedule the time to draft the content it's more likely to happen with regularity.
  • It also helps to include a link or two to other articles on a similar topic so they can get their creative juices flowing.
  • Offer to help them edit the content to take some pressure off their attempts at perfection.

The benefits of you, as marketer, guiding the process is that you can work toward creating a consistent storyline for your company, focused on your buyers' needs.

Q: how would you build up traffic from zero even if you have engaging content? Doesn't part of it have to be being out and about in the real world? As in not virtually or online.

Being out and about in the real world is always helpful. The catch is transferring people’s attention from interacting with you personally to motivation for them to go online “building traffic” after the fact. You’d better give them a good reason to do so. This said, direct mail that refers people to use links to access online content can also be effective from a “real world” perspective.

There’s ample opportunity to go from zero to found with online approaches. It takes time, effort and an ability to stay the course. From organic SEO to PPC, search engines can help drive traffic. Incorporating a blog with your website can help if you use keywords effectively and publish regularly. Social press releases can also gain exposure that builds traffic – provided you have something interesting and valuable to share.

Commenting on blogs that your prospects read can also prompt people to click on the link to your website or blog – driving traffic. Providing ways for people to subscribe to RSS feeds, email newsletters and other content can also build traffic.

Spreading your engaging content around in other places can help pull traffic. Post your slide decks to Slideshare, your videos to YouTube, and submit your articles to article submission sites – all with links back to your website. The opportunities are endless.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ardath Albee

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist and the CEO of her firm, Marketing Interactions, Inc. She helps B2B companies with complex sales create and use persona-driven content marketing strategies to turn prospects into buyers and convince customers to stay. Ardath is the author of Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results and eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale. She's also an in-demand industry speaker.


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