15 Key Learnings From 15 Years of Content Marketing


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In this presentation I elaborate 15 learnings of pragmatically deploying 15 years of content marketing. Read my five take aways, five challenges and five tips to get started with content marketing in the business context.

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15 Key Learnings From 15 Years of Content Marketing

  1. 1. Key Learnings from Years of Content Marketing
  2. 2. LEARNED BY DOING, FAILING, SUCCEEDING By Gianluigi Cuccureddu Publisher and Founder of Data-Driven Marketing Network I’ve been integrating social- and digital marketing, content marketing and e-commerce in my businesses since 1997. I have also 9+ years of digital and marketing consulting experience working with SMBs and large companies in Europe helping them to improve their marketing performance. I have written over a 1000 articles on all things business, marketing and digital. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  3. 3. CONTENT MARKETING EXPERIENCE 15 years of experience: • B2C and B2B • SMEs • Publishing platforms • Marketing, PR, Sales function • Written, (audio-)visual, digital and print content • Articles, videos, Q&A, webinars and much more • Brand awareness, acquisition, retention, traffic, personal branding goals • Music, Entertainment, Technology, Professional services, Internet, Consumer Goods, Leisure etc. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  4. 4. WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING? Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content Marketing’s basic premise is to “provide some valuable information or entertainment – “content” – that stops short of a direct sales pitch or call to action, but which seeks to positively influence a customer in some way.” (from Wikipedia) SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  5. 5. MY LOVE FOR CONTENT MARKETING I have a background in music publishing, from 1997-2009, I released albums, organized festivals and European tours, had a worldwide distribution network and we started very early with e-commerce. However this didn’t meant that selling products was easy, also due to my study- I started focusing on experiences. 16 years later, having this background definitely helps with today’s content marketing focus, because it trained us one and a half decade in thinking and acting like a publisher. As a student I did not have money to invest in bannering and so on, so I was forced to look into (as we now call it) content marketing and platforms such as the bulletin boards, you still remember them? I never regretted this route, it became very successful for me and I did not spend a single euro on paid marketing techniques until 2009 (for that particular business). SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  6. 6. WHY INVEST IN CONTENT MARKETING? On any given moment, just 7 per cent of your target audience is ready to buy. This means that 93 per cent of your target audience is still evaluating products in the category, but not yet ready to buy now. If you deliver relevant content to this group, you help them make a better informed decision and you are top of mind. Once they are ready to buy, they will likely come back to you. Deploy content marketing to address both segments of the groups (the buyers and non-buyers) by being useful, informational , entertaining and become on top of mind. Reference: Chet Holmes, Dan Kennedy SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  7. 7. WHY INVEST IN CONTENT MARKETING? Harvard Business Review: It's common wisdom that you're more likely to make a sale if you build rapport with a customer. Instead of focusing on the transaction, emphasize the connection by doing these three things: • • • Be generous. Go into each meeting with a list of five ways to make the prospect successful. Don't worry about what you'll get in return. Instead think of it as good sales karma for which you may be rewarded. Become a trusted advisor. Stay focused on your customer's success, not your quota. Give the best advice you can give, only recommending your product when it's a great fit for their situation. Believe in the ask. If it's generous, with a low barrier to entry and huge opportunities for return, then you're much more likely to forge a trusting relationship. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS In a world where information is in abudance, customers search for providers who guide them. This is supported by content marketing WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  8. 8. WHY INVEST IN CONTENT MARKETING? “The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe” – Simon Sinek Content marketing materializes effectively the believe of an organisation, the Why, the Purpose. Provide valuable information or entertainment to positively influence a (potential) customer that reflects the Purpose and they can identify with. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  10. 10. 1: Content ánd Context A diarchy is a form of governing by two rulers, diarchies are known for instance from ancient Sparta and Rome and is one of the oldest types of government. Within content marketing the Diarchy is becoming needed, just quality content is not going to make it anymore. Without an effective Context, the Content has less effect and reach. Without effective Content, the Context gets mediocre content. Content and Context go hand in hand. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  11. 11. 2: Quality ánd Quantity Often shouted cliché statements that it is all about quality are invalid. Quality and quantity are NOT two mutually exclusive things. Every content piece needs to have a base quality, but quantity is important. Create as much content as you can within the given resources and time you have. In an information dense world this is a precondition. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  12. 12. 3: Creation ánd Curation The other diarchy in content marketing revolves around creation and curation. As creator: tell stories that strengthen the brand position, its awareness, show how the brand is unique. As content curator: show your audience that you understand and have an overview of the industry, customer needs, challenges etc. Show that you can connect the dots. By curating you organically perform research which alters your business, positioning, value proposition, marketing, service, PR etc. It’s not EITHER creation OR curation. It’s creation AND curation. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  13. 13. 4: Purpose The Purpose can be richly amplified through content marketing. Content marketing forces organizations to think much better about the Purpose, the Why and make it crystal clear. One of my experiences and effects of content marketing: During my music venture people from southern Germany and Eastern Europe (we’re located in the Netherlands) came to our events just to talk to us and buy music, whilst they could have communicated via phone/internet, ordered online and see the show somewhere more near to them. How about that! We created a platform that people identified with, that’s the power of the Why. It’s all about the Experience. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  14. 14. 5: Content Marketing Success Pillars In order to be successful in content marketing you need to get the following four things right: • • • • Align content marketing with your business objectives Build internal content marketing capabilities Tailor organizational design to content operations Create a culture of sharing and learning Content marketing takes TIME! Be persistent and have fun with it. Content marketing has a long-lasting effect! Every piece of content you create and share adds value and builds trust and relationships! SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  15. 15. SUMMARY Your content marketing efforts must: • • • • SHARE THESE INSIGHTS Support your business objectives Amplify and enrich your Purpose and brand experience Create the right content in and for the right context Have a high frequency of interaction WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  17. 17. MORE CHALLENGING THAN IT LOOKS LIKE At this point you might be thinking it’s portrayed all a bit too easy and successful. Well the journey was far from that. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  18. 18. PERSEVERANCE IS KEY Once you commit to content marketing, perseverance is key. If your goal is to generate leads and sales, DON’T stop if you don’t see short term results. If your content creation efforts do not show the wanted amount of shareability and buzz, KEEP on testing and creating till you find what ticks your audience! SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  19. 19. SELF-RELIANCE ÁND A NETWORK Depending on your background and situation, content marketing is a lot like being an entrepreneur, you need to be self-reliant and have the time and patience to learn and acquire some basic skills. If you really cannot, start to create a network of people around you that is able to help you with all kinds of formats, think of video, audio, infographics, blogs etc. I like to do things myself, but when you start searching for people when you actually need it, you lose a lot time. Take advantage of the network economy! SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  20. 20. MEASUREMENT FRUSTRATION Nowadays more and more analytics can show you what content is being liked and so forth. Years ago this was not the case, and even now, causality is hard to measure, unless you sell something directly. This is exactly the challenge to make the business case. Combine this with the perseverance and the need for short term effects, and you could imagine or identify with this challenge. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  21. 21. TAKE ONE STEP AT THE TIME Because visibility and getting attention is an increasingly challenging task, you probably want to be all over the place at once. No time to lose right? I’ve fallen into this trap, by deploying and wanting to be on every social network to interact, share and connect. In the end it became all too fragmented, no focussed attention and learned to downsize. Always think back to your business objectives and start when you can, it needs time to build trust and relationships. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  23. 23. Content marketing is a Means, not the End Content marketing must support your business objectives. • • • What do you want to achieve? Where does content marketing fit in the mix? Do you have the capabilities to execute? Ask yourself if it’s the right means for the right objective at the right time. Content marketing is a long-term commitment, period. It is paramount to stay top-of- mind with your target audience. It takes a while before you can expect real revenue from your investment, trust and relationships don’t come overnight. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  24. 24. Everybody has a story, what’s yours? Do you know the story of your organization? Is your story crystal clear? Be sure to get to the bottom of the organization's Soul. Know where it stands for, know the value propositions, audiences and so forth. For leaders, another reason why engagement is more and more important. Inspire your teams so everyone is able to materialize it through content marketing. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  25. 25. Understand, Share and Interact First and foremost: take a business approach, what business objectives do you need to meet? In order to create the right content in and for the right context, create a ‘radar-system’ of all kinds of (free or paid) technologies, in order to: • • • Understand where your –potential- customers are Understand what they talk about and how they talk about topics Monitor your competitors, suppliers and markets and understand what is going on and what is keeping them busy • • • How does your value proposition fit in? SHARE THESE INSIGHTS Get ideas about content creation and curation Get ideas about content formats Create relevant content in the right format • • Syndicate and share your content effectively Measure your efforts, learn and optimize WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  26. 26. Do you have the right resources and skills? To be able to create and set an appropriate rhythm of regular high quality content that does not inflict with the brand experience and reputation you or your team needs: • • • The right skills The appropriate amount of resources Enthusiasm If you don’t have the right skills, train or acquire them to deploy effective content marketing. If you don’t have the right skills because you or your organization has not identified content marketing as a viable way, rethink it within your overall marketing mix, test and build a business case. SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  27. 27. Get the appropriate cost-efficient tools To be able to focus on that what matters most, creation and interaction with your audience, make sure you can make the business-case and need for technology that supports you in your content marketing activities. Think of: • Social listening tool • Content curation tool (if part of plan) • Sharing tool • Content management tool • Etc SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  28. 28. Looking for a marketing professional with very strong digital experience and knowledge? Someone that quickly and effectively adds business value and brings in a refreshing view on your (digital) marketing activities or strategy? I can support you, your team and organization through different modalities (interim, advice, (reverse) mentoring, coaching). Feel free to contact me via gcuccureddu [at] yahoo [dot] com. Maybe I can help you out! SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET
  29. 29. The goal of virtually every marketing organization is to make better decisions. We provide marketing professionals with information and insights to inform marketing planning and improve marketing performance. Our Mission is to support marketing professionals to keep practicing their profession effectively and fulfilling and become lifelong learners for the benefit of themselves and their organizations. Our Vision is to be the leading global source and community for marketing professionals and organizations to improve their marketing performance. Contact: info@data-driven-marketing.net SHARE THESE INSIGHTS WWW. DATA-DRIVEN-MARKETING.NET