Tuesday, April 19, 2011
5 Ways to Guarantee Content Marketing Success
I got some push-back on the word "Guarantee" here. But I'm sticking with it. Do these 5 things (plus the bonus one), and good things will happen.#5: Participation.
Companies who are most successful with their Content Marketing Strategy have wide participation among all of their employees.You hire smart people who like their jobs and understand the problems of the customer and your solutions. They want to be empowered and they want to help—let them.
Within your environment, free them to blog, Tweet, and promote their own content to their personal social networks—good things will happen. We just did an internal analysis of our blog post traffic sorted by Author. The person who keeps our laptops and networks running wrote the second-most trafficked
post over the last 30 days. This is a guy who doesn’t talk a lot in the office and in a ‘traditional’
world would never be given the keys to a corporate blog. Progressive organizations like ExactTarget have over 160 employee bloggers. Sears actually has participation in blogging as part of the job requirements.#4: Transparency.
We all know intuitively that people buy from people,
and the more transparent an organization the more human you become. Successful content marketing organizations make sure they include the human aspects of the business. Birthdays, anniversaries, parties, and awards all become part of the content mix. Along with this transparency comes the responsibility of honestly facing shortcomings and address problems. Companies who aren’t transparent aren’t trusted. The Iowa legislature is on the verge of approving a bill that makes it illegal to film animal feeding and processing facilities.
How do you think this will affect peoples excitement for eating meat from Iowa?#3: Focus on the customer.
The most important person in any business is the customer. What all content marketing efforts demand is that content needs to be focused on addressing and telling the stories of the customer. The greatest selling tactic in the history of mankind is “The Similar-Situation Story”
. Tell me a story about how you have helped solve a problem like mine, for someone like me, and I’ll trust you can solve my problem.
This is best accomplished via email or other interaction with your existing customers soliciting their stories. Not necessarily reviews (content about you
) but use-cases, situations and recommendations to others.
Suppose you sell treadmills.
You are going to have a picture of that treadmill and odds are you will have a model of some sort posing on that treadmill. That is a similar-situation story. Depending on that model, customers will imagine themselves and think “this is the right treadmill for me”.
Now imagine you capture pictures and stories from hundreds of customers. You are going to get all kind of stories, use-cases, and pictures of customers of all shapes, sizes, dispositions, etc. All this leads to dramatically increasing the types of similar-situation stories you can tell, directly increasing your opportunities for success.#2: Focus on sharing.
You create content to educate, engage, and enable discovery. Sharing is key, but it doesn’t happen by itself. Successful strategy requires active management of your sharing program. ‘Active’
shouldn’t intimidate you as something that requires an inordinate amount of work. Tools like Email, Co-Tweet, and a host of others make sharing programs easy. Sharing is more about using your imagination.
Think about using email to point customers to their own stories
with giant share buttons.
Marketing 101 tells us that your best prospects are the people who share the behavior and characteristics of you
r existing customers. By definition, they are probably the FRIENDS of your current customers. Do everything you can to help your current customers share THEIR stories on THEIR Facebooks.
Another great tactic is to hold contests among your content creators (customers & employees
) to see who can get the most likes. You will be surprised how much spread you can get with simplistic contests and incentives.
There was a great book in the 80’s called “Hope Is Not A Strategy,”
yet so many Content Marketers seem to live on the ‘Hope’
that their content will be shared. Make it happen.
#1: Think like an SEO Expert.
There may be some who will protest, but let me state unequivocally the number one benefit of Content Marketing is the qualified traffic you will get from search engines. I recommend that every marketer take the time to review their keywords at least weekly. Guide your writers and your audience to use these words in your content. Was is Matt Cutts who called keywords “The Language Of Your Customer?"
Understanding your keywords is understanding how your customer is interacting in your industry and how they are thinking about their problems.
I once was looking for rubber floor mats for my garage to park my cars on
. After a herculean effort, I find them on a catalog site labeled “PVC floor covering
." (I'm sure some lawyer was like: "We can't call them Rubber.")
My perception of PVC is white plastic pipe for plumbing, not something to park my car on.
Remember—and if you don’t believe me, check your own analytics—
most of the consumption of your content is coming from a First-Time Visitor.
Our studies show that, on average, 80% of all blog reading is done by people who have never been there before. Thinking like an SEO will help you grow your audience by targeting the right people.
Pay attention to calls-to-action & conversions. I can’t tell you how many blogs I see with no CTAs.
Remember that your goal with content marketing is to grow your business.
When you're operating online, this is best accomplished by converting traffic towards a deeper relationship. Don’t forget this. Sometimes it may be hard to increase your traffic, but you can almost always increase your conversion. Focus on what you want the consumer of your content to do. Share? Download? Buy? And don’t forget to test.