5 Steps to Creating an Actionable Content Marketing Strategy


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Carla Johnson of Type A Communications presented “Building the Beast: 5 Steps to Creating an Actionable Content Marketing Strategy” at the Business Marketing Association of Kansas City November meeting.

Marketing has changed significantly in the last few years. As the number and ways we can connect with customers continues to expand, so does our ability to listen, get feedback and respond. But there’s a difference between just pumping out content because technology now makes it easier and having something relevant to say. Today’s B2B marketers needs to know how content marketing feeds the new buyer’s journey and why you need a thoughtful strategy in place to drive the sales and marketing engine.

Smart marketers know they can’t do everything and be everywhere. But how do you determine your priorities? Developing a content strategy that tells a consistent story to a specific audience serves as the first step. But that strategy requires a relevant, contextual approach and sustainable storyline that reflects the social nature of business today.

During this presentation, Carla covered:
- Why a content strategy matters
- How it affects the success of a content marketing program
- Specific steps to create a content strategy
- What two questions to ask as soon as you leave this program

About the Speaker:
Carla Johnson, Principal, Type A Communications, helps companies tell better stories in order to build stronger brand awareness, create employee and customer engagement, align marketing with sales, and, ultimately, generate top-line revenue. She’s a consultant to the Content Marketing Institute, director on the international board of the Business Marketing Association, a frequent speaker, contributing author to the book, Advice from the Top: The Expert Guide to B2B Marketing, an Instructor for the Online Marketing Institute, and writes on the power of storytelling, content marketing, B2B marketing, and innovation for the Content Marketing Institute, Chief Content Officer magazine, CMSwire and other high-tech, industry and business audiences. Follow her on Twitter @carlajohnson.

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5 Steps to Creating an Actionable Content Marketing Strategy

  1. 1. Building the Beast: 5 Steps to Creating an Actionable Content Marketing Strategy Carla Johnson Principal, Type A Communications
  2. 2. CARLA JOHNSON Principal @CarlaJohnson
  3. 3. WHY CONTENT STRATEGY MATTERS 100% 93% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 44% 42% % Who Have a Documented Strategy % Who Say They Are Effective at Content Marketing 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% % B2B Marketers Who Say They Use Content Marketing 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, North America, Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs
  5. 5. PURPOSE OF A CONTENT STRATEGY • Call out the goals of your content marketing program and how you’ll accomplish them • Persuade your internal audience (i.e. those who approve budgets) that content is a true resource and game changer for your customers and prospects • Create a ‘profile’ of successful content types that others can see for future reference and use
  6. 6. CONTENT STRATEGY VS. CONTENT MARKETING Content Strategy • Why, Who and How • Knowing what your audience wants • Directs content with the goal of generating a financial return Content Marketing • What and When • Creating and distributing what your audience wants • Guided by and overall strategy that delivers specific content at the right time and place
  8. 8. BUILDING A BUSINESS CASE 22% of B2B marketers say that it’s a challenge to get executive buy-in for a content marketing program. 2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, North America, Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs
  9. 9. BUILDING A BUSINESS CASE 1. Tell them your purpose 2. Describe the current situation 3. Define content marketing and its value 4. Use data 5. Create an action plan 6. Ask for what you want
  11. 11. CREATING YOUR STRATEGY 1.Define your objectives − What business objectives do you want to accomplish? ─ What do you want your content to do? ─ Prioritize what’s most important, i.e…. • • • • • Build brand awareness Establish your expertise Educate buyers Move leads through the sales process Improve retention
  12. 12. EXAMPLE DEFINE OBJECTIVES A software consulting company wanted to shift the perception that consumers and prospects had of them from a vendor to one of a trusted advisor so they seek their advice earlier in the sales process. • They wanted their content to educate people about changing technologies in our industry and how it impacts the business performance of companies • Priorities: Establish expertise, educate buyers, build relationships with influencers
  13. 13. EXERCISE DEFINE YOUR OBJECTIVES Write down your business objective for the next 6-12 months What does marketing need to do to help accomplish this?        Build awareness Educate buyers Engage influencers Generate leads Lead nurturing Better engage existing customers Cross sell / up sell
  14. 14. CREATING YOUR STRATEGY 2. Develop Your Story − Understand and articulate what business you’re really in ─ It’s not about features and benefits; it’s about the difference you’re trying to make in your customers’ lives ─ Answer WHY
  15. 15. TOO MANY COMPANIES SOUND LIKE THIS ACME is one of the leading providers Florida. Since its inception in 1976, ACME’s signature has been its responsiveness to clients and its delivery of a superior product. Our commitment to excellence, combined with our responsiveness, has gained us an outstanding reputation in the transportation industry and more importantly, the trust and confidence of our clients. Today, we are one of the largest minority owned civil engineering firms in Florida and among the top in consulting engineering firms specializing in civil and transportation related projects. Our corporate headquarters are located in Miami with regional offices located in Pensacola, Tampa and Jacksonville.
  16. 16. EXAMPLE DEVELOP YOUR STORY Old Story: We’re the leading organization in North America focused on marketing analytics, optimization and automation. New Story: We empower marketers to do their jobs better and with less effort.
  17. 17. Your Competition Isn’t Your Competition What Does the Fox Say? 234,606,896 Views 1,673 Years of Human Time
  18. 18. Your Competition Isn’t Your Competition Gangnam Style 1,824,814,573 Views 14,545 Years of Human Time
  19. 19. EXAMPLE DEVELOP YOUR STORY Old Story: We’re the leading organization in North America focused on marketing analytics, optimization and automation. New Story: We empower marketers to do their jobs better and with less effort.
  20. 20. EXERCISE DEVELOP YOUR STORY Answer these questions:  Why was your company started?  What have you always done well?  What have you failed at miserably?  If your company went away tomorrow, what would be missed?
  21. 21. CREATING YOUR STRATEGY 3.Develop Buyer Personas ─ Composite of characteristics of a group of people ─ Help you to understand their perspective, fears, drivers and content needs ─ Types of content: • How they access it • What messages resonate with them • What matters when in the buyer’s cycle
  22. 22. Senior Director, Director (head of e-commerce)
  23. 23. Profile Technology background - online/digital marketing, programming, web development. Oversees a team comprised of online strategists within the marketing organization that may also include social media, marketing automation, demand generation, campaigns, database administration, mobile and marketing infrastructure. Oversees a small team usually ranging from three to 15 employees. Consumption of content depends on time of day – smart phones and tablets in the morning, addition of laptops during the day. Uses laptop in the evening for heavy reading. Primarily use laptop when looking for content for research and decision-making.
  24. 24. Frustrations/Pressures/Concerns: • Battling a preconceived notion of what e-commerce entails and that the B2B experience is the same as B2C • Spends a great deal of time getting management / executives to commit to ecommerce as a main part of their business strategy • Wants to control the customer experience and is concerned about making the wrong e-commerce choice and being “stuck” with it • Challenged to keep up with changes in technology
  25. 25. Priorities/Drivers: • Raising the profile of e-commerce so that the company commits to it as part of the business strategy and doesn’t operate from a tactical level • Establishing and communicating the need to improve IT applications and infrastructure and overall efficiency through a flexible platform • Improving how e-commerce integrates with the overall IT infrastructure • Creating the ideal e-commerce shopping experience that supplements / enhances the offline experience
  26. 26. Messaging: • Flexible, multi-branded, multi-store front capability • Can run different price points, images and brand experiences from a single database • Ease of use of use of the architecture and platform, including mobile • B2B-specific component • Demystifying the technology by telling a story that relates it to people and the business • Set the context by starting with the business perspective and get down to the technical • Flexible and modular; not necessary to engage vendor to make changes • Ability to “test drive” software before making a decision
  27. 27. Content Needs: Content Sources/Types: Type of content depends on where he is in the buying cycle. Conducts initial research through analyst reports and white papers. The closer he gets to the desired vendor of choice, the more he wants to interact with them directly. Requires one-to-one interaction before making a decision. • • • • • • • • • • Webinars Research reports Analyst reports White papers Case studies Vendor demo sites Google search Conferences –programming and technical Peers/Word of Mouth Blog posts
  28. 28. Persona 1 Persona 2 Persona 3 Persona 4 ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________
  29. 29. CREATING YOUR STRATEGY 4. Content Audit / Mapping ─ What content do you already have that you want to continue to use? ─ What type is it? What topic? ─ What persona does it address? ─ What condition is it in? ─ Once you’ve created the list, are the obvious holes that you need to address?
  30. 30. EXAMPLE CONTENT AUDIT Content Type Content Topic Target Persona Location Comment Web page Product Karen Olson URL Content is solid but needs updating to reflect brand story White Paper (PDF) Trends in marketing automation platforms Jeff Smith Online (URL) Marketing portal Highly technical product information for last stage decision making Video 3 Things to Look for in a Marketing Automation Partner Maria Jensen YouTube (URL) 90 seconds, geared toward YouTube to help ignite the conversation of what to look for in a partner
  31. 31. BUYER’S JOURNEY Possible Solutions Vendor Search Selection Retention Upsell Evangelism What’s my problem? What do I need to do? Who can help me? I want to feel good about my decision Reinforce my choice Thought leadership ID problems How you’ve helped others Detailed, technical information Prove ROI How to use, Success stories Problem Awareness Education Something isn’t right What’s the difference you want to make? Bigger Story Detailed Story + Proof Points
  32. 32. CONTENT MAPPING Possible Solutions Vendor Search Selection Retention Upsell Evangelism Persona #1 Persona #1 Persona #2 Persona #2 Persona #2 Persona #3 Persona #1 Persona #2 Persona #2 Persona #3 White paper Tradeshow Case Studies Cust Event Articles Solution Briefs Case Studies Videos Blogs Prove ROI Testimonials Cust Events User Stories Blogs Problem Awareness Education Bigger Story Product specs User Stories Testimonials Detailed Story + Proof Points
  33. 33. CONTENT MAPPING Problem Awareness Bigger Story Education Possible Solutions Vendor Search Selection Retention Upsell Evangelism Detailed Story + Proof Points
  34. 34. CREATING YOUR STRATEGY 5. Determine Measurement Metrics ─ Tie to your business objectives ─ Know what you’re willing to change ─ Measure what drives the behavior you want ─ Use metrics to make refinement
  35. 35. EXAMPLE MEASUREMENT METRICS FOR CONTENT CONSUMPTION Content Consumption Page Views 1,796 Video Views 323 Document Views 293 Download 197
  36. 36. EXERCISE What metrics support your business objectives?        Build awareness Educate buyers Engage influencers Generate leads Lead nurturing Better engage existing customers Cross sell / up sell
  37. 37. Carla Johnson, Principal Type A Communications (720) 344-0987 carla@goTypeA.com www.goTypeA.com Type A Communications @carlajohnson Carla Johnson
  38. 38. HOMEWORK Find out how much of your content is actually used! • What’s use most? • What’s never touched?