We’re all creating content today, but how do we do it right? Jon Miller(@jonmiller), co-founder of Marketo, along with Michael Pranikoff, PR Newswire’s director of emerging media, seek to answer that question in this webinar.
Jon began the discussion by talking about how marketing has changed in recent years. Back in the ‘Mad Men’ era of marketing, a buyer would have to talk to a sales person to obtain information on a product, but with the abundance of information available on the internet, the sales person is no longer needed until much further along in the buying cycle. According to Forrester Research, at least in a Business-to-Business setting, a buyer is 65% to 90% finished with their sales cycle before they actually connect with a salesperson. This has profound implications for marketers.
3 Main Benefits of Content Marketing:
1) Increased Brand Awareness – Buyers are online. When someone shares your content on a social network, that action gives you free brand awareness in a more powerful way than purchased advertising.
2) Better Brand Preference – People are more likely to choose the product from a company they feel they have a relationship with.
3) Risk Reduction – In Business-to-Business purchases especially, avoidance risk and fear tend to be the most dominant motions in play. A person may make decisions out of fear of losing their job. To reduce fear for your buyers, your trusted content and thought leadership will help you gain trust from your buyers, which is important.
Creating content for the buying process:
To create an effective campaign, you need to create compelling content for the appropriate stage of the buying process. You don’t want to give late stage content to an early stage customer because it’s not relevant to them at this point.
— Early Stage: By far, the majority of content is early stage – usually educational or entertaining content. It’s all about appealing to the audience before they become a customer.
— Middle Stage: the tools that will help a buyer when they are already thinking about a purchase, such as a buying guide, ROI calculator or analyst data.
— Late Stage: is about the product or service specifically, such as pricing, demos and case-studies.
No matter what stage, the content must always be relevant and helpful to the buyer.
The power of visuals
Another trend that Jon talks about is the rise of visual content. Not only does adding multimedia give you more views, there is also better engagement in content with multimedia elements than plain text. Marketers need to create content that people want to share. Michael Pranikoff sited a PR Newswire Web Analytics study that showed syndicated content gets more views as more multimedia elements are added.
Customers want to have fun. With early-stage content, the more you can do to entertain, the better off you will be. Jon talks about the jingle created to promote ‘The Definitive Guide of Marketing Automation’, an e-book available on the Marketo website.
As I was watching this webinar, I pulled up Marketo’s youtube channel & watched the video Jon referred to, as well as some other fun & informative marketing videos, and I can see why these videos would be shared & re-shared. Jon said he believes humor and personality are way underused in b-to-b sales.
Don’t panic – this isn’t as daunting as it may seem
You don’t have to have all your content on Day 1. Just keep creating something new all the time. Think big, start small, move quickly.
Think about how you can take the content you have and cut it in different ways – re-purpose your content.
- Promote your content on different channels: including paid, owned (such as your own website or blog) and earned. On social media, don’t promote too much of your own content. Build an audience and a following, which will build your presence and will get more impact for the content that you do share.
- Syndicate & Connect — Michael Pranikoff shared a story about a client of PR Newswire’s that issued a short news release to online publications with a link to their blog post. After syndicating the release, they found a 54% increase in blog traffic and higher search result ratings. A little content syndication can go a long way.
Social media can give you a boost on every other type of campaign. You don’t have to run a social campaign, but make every campaign that you do social. Give people a reason to share your content.
If you missed the live webinar, you can assess a recording here: Connecting the Content Dots
Author Jillian Courtright is a Senior Customer Content Specialist at PR Newswire.