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Despite what many traditional Content and Search Engine Marketing agencies claim, online content is not a magic marketing bullet. The mere act of publishing content does not deliver leads on a silver …

Despite what many traditional Content and Search Engine Marketing agencies claim, online content is not a magic marketing bullet. The mere act of publishing content does not deliver leads on a silver platter. Yet, the recent rush to “just write something” has misled many well-intentioned marketers into producing plenty of volume …but very little value. The result? Lackluster leads. Time to get serious about your Content Strategy.
This Action Item Report was designed to help you and your team shift your collective mindset around online content development. Just say “NO!” to the Status Quo!

Inside you’ll find:

How best practices in online content have evolved — especially for thought leaders.
Why developing high quantities of content is no longer enough.
How to nurture leads and improve content by shifting to a “servant” mindset.
How to weave content around customer needs and prospect pain points.
What content your team must walk away from. No matter what.
The importance of mapping content to specific audience segments based on where they are in the buying cycle.
And more…


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  • 1. 2 0 1 2 ACTION I T E M 10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" ContentWell Planned Web, LLC | 813.863.1486 | WellPlannedWeb.com
  • 2. I NTRODUCTIONOnline marketers have lived by a new creed in recent years: “Content is King.”Why? Research and statistics show that more content means more visits from Google, higher search rankingsand a more dynamic website. Hurray!But, what about the leads?Despite what many traditional Content and Search Engine Marketing agencies claim, online content is not amagic marketing bullet. The mere act of publishing content does not deliver leads on a silver platter. Yet, therecent rush to “just write something” has misled many well-intentioned marketers into producing plenty ofvolume ...but very little value.This approach has become the status quo — resulting in lukewarm lead generation.Today’s content has to work harder.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 2
  • 3. D ITCHING T HE “S TATUS Q UO ”This Action Item Report was designed to help you and your team shift your collective mindset around onlinecontent development. The landscape has changed. Time to catch up.Today, in order for content to generate leads, it must literally lock eyes with prospects as they search for help,answers and information about the problems they’re trying to solve — the very same problems you tackle foryour clients and customers every day.Here are 10 ways to start ditching the "status quo"...10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 3
  • 4. #1: A CCEPT T HAT C ONTENT H AS E VOLVEDTodays Content Marketing brings an entirely new set of rules to the table. It’s imperative that your organization’s leaders embracethis — otherwise you’re headed for another Status Quo Content kind of year.Content is no longer about gaming Google or injecting short-term boosts in traffic to impress the CEO in next weeks report.Forget traffic. Go for leads. We’ll get into that more as we move through the list.Content Works When It Provides ValueContent Marketing is about helping prospects make decisions througheach phase of the research and buying process. Its that simple.For those companies engaging in effective Content Marketing, it seemsto be working. So much so that 60% of B2B Content Marketersindicate that they plan to increase their content marketing budgets overthe next 12 months. (Source: B2B Content Marketing: 2012Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends). Lets jump into tactics for asecond. While B2B Content Marketers are singing the praises of CaseStudies, Events, White Papers and Blogs, they place Social Media atthe bottom of the list. Why? B2B Content Marketers still recognizeSocial Media as a valuable tool  — but theyve gotten over thehype and see it as just one part of the mix.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 4
  • 5. #2: D ON T J UST P UBLISH . L ISTEN .Thought leaders often get trapped in the mindset that selling their expertise means sharing a bunch of contentthat prospects will flock to, digest and love. Some even go so far as to call their content a free “gift” for theiraudience. Reverse that thinking.Shift to a servant mindset — that you can always do more to help. Ask customers what other informationthey need. Find out if the content was helpful. Ask loyal clients for feedback. After all, they know your productbut also know your audience. Don’t overlook such a tremendous resource!Remember, listening doesn’t mean passively waiting for comments to appear on your blog. Proactively seekfeedback from specific people…whether it be on the networks, through email or in person.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 5
  • 6. #3: D ON T J UST L ISTEN . R ESPOND .So, youve gathered feedback, questions and insights from customers. Now what? Take action.You may have a question to pass along to your sales team. Or, perhaps you’ve learned something fromcustomers that you need to tell your engineering department. It’s important to translate any new information intoa response.The response may also be deeper content.Here’s an example:A technical services company released a carefully researched white paper. The response was terrific. But,customers and prospects were so enlightened by the cost efficiency portion of the paper that they wanted toimmediately calculate what their own savings would be. Chances are the majority of them werent quite ready fora one-on-one sales call. Because the content producer knew this particular audience well, she also knew theylikely wanted to do the math themselves to begin making their case internally. The response? An online calculatorand worksheet that allowed them to pull together the numbers to begin buildingtheir argument. The leads followed. Be willing to learnA calculator as content? You betcha! from your customers.Taking content cues from customers is what differentiates thoughtful experts It not only makes forfrom arrogant know-it-alls. good content. — it makes for good business, too.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 6
  • 7. #4: I F C ONTENT I SN ’ T R ELEVANT , D ON T U SE I T .Producing content can be SO darn fun! But, if youretruly committed to  "locking eyes" with yourcustomers, youve got to be willing to walk awayfrom that irrelevant content that youre dying topublish.Does this mean you must abandon all creativity?Heck no! This means  virtually  every piece of contentyour team produces must map directly to aspecific audience need, dilemma or pain point(which can still be fun!). Content that is publishedsolely for a team members personal satisfaction orto appease a high-level executive will erode youraudiences trust and appreciation.Adopt a "tough love" checks-and-balancespolicy: Just because its something you want tosay, doesnt mean it needs to be heard.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 7
  • 8. #5: B E P ART O F T HE C USTOMERS ’ J OURNEYIf you’ve already invested in understanding your audience through Audience Profiles and Buyer Personas, you’re likely ahead ofyour competition — or at least many in your industry. But to ditch Status Quo content, get ready to dive even deeper.New lead-nurturing technology like Eloqua, Marketo and SilverPop make it possible to segment your audience by type — and tocommunicate with them based on where they are in the buying cycle. After all, that prospect who just became aware of yourservice yesterday has a completely different level of knowledge than the prospect who has devoured four white papers, read yourblog and engaged in three emails with your sales team. We cant forget about those who are so engaged that they want more!Best of all, segmentation challenges us to communicate with those who are our best sources for new business  — our currentclients and customers. Examine ways to include content for those who are already your greatest advocates.Be willing to let go of the broadcast mentality and talk directly to segments, sub segments and sub-sub-segments. It’s not as easyas a single email blast to your list. But, talk about relevant! The Customer Journey. Who is Your Content Speaking To?10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 8
  • 9. #6: "G ET R EAL " W ITHOUT G ETTING L AZYJon Steinberg,  of BuzzFeed recently stated in Ad Age that "No One Wants Polish, They Want Real." In otherwords, people no longer want overly produced, overly branded content thats overly art-directed. Its true.Especially for Consumers. But, in the business world, its important to try out the "real" waters while stillremaining professional. Revisit your Voice and Tone in 2012. Can you inject more of your teams personality intoyour content? Try on new headlines, new styles, new transitions and new quotes. Add some reality with a littleless polish.But, dont mistake "real" for lazy. Invest in professional graphics. Insist on a clean, professional blog design. Besure your production team uses a tripod and microphone. Proof your work.Just because consumers lean towards "real" content, doesnt mean you should risk credibility and clout withyour business customers.Get real. Not sloppy. Theres a difference.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 9
  • 10. #7: D ON T A BANDON Y OUR W EBSITEWith the plethora of Content Marketing tactics and channels available today, its easy to forget about that littlething called your website. Although there is no longer a single path to gaining a lead, chances are any seriousprospect will eventually take a visit to your home base — your website. After all, buyers eventually reach a pointwhere they’re ready for your online "elevator pitch" — the neatly organized "brochure" that tells them who youare, what you do and why you matter.Straighten up your navigation, showcase your best content and create a welcoming and professional experience.Clean up your house before inviting visitors in!10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 10
  • 11. #8: G IVE THE K EYWORDS A R ESTWith B2B and complex sales, exact keywords are often elusive. And, remember, different audience segments willnow search for different terms. Sure, SEO still matters. But, its no longer in charge. An outdated contentstrategy built to "game Google" may draw high traffic but those visitors wont necessarily be themost qualified. With each new algorithm, Google makes it clear: meaningful, updated, helpful content wins. There will always bethose who try to outsmart Google. Sure, they’ll get a “sugar rush” of traffic. But, it’s those companies whofocus on the prospect and customer that will win theleads.When it comes to lead generation:Meaningful content trumps keyword-rich contentevery time.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 11
  • 12. #9: A DOPT A "N O L EAD L EFT B EHIND " P OLICYCEOs and CMOs: Listen up! Marketing teams in recent years have been expected to produce evidence of highwebsite traffic, thousands of "Likes," low bounce rates and, ultimately, oodles of incoming leads.But how many of those leads were actually acted on?Did your Sales team and Content Marketing teams collaborate to ensure every Limbo is no place for a lead.lead was investigated? Reprogram your team by insisting...no...demandingthat every lead be scored, nurtured and acted on (even if that meansdismissing the lead).Were talking zero tolerance here. If content brought in a highly qualified lead, for Petes sake do not let yoursales team drop the ball. Todays lead scoring, lead nurturing and lead generation tools make it possible to turnyour CRM into a lead intelligence system. But, it doesnt stop there. Your sales team should connect with leadson LinkedIn, subscribe to their newsletters, find them on Twitter and go where they go. Email is simply no longerthe only option. This is not about being the old-school “stalker” salesperson. It’s about staying connected long-term.This is where content and sales become two sides of the same coin. When the salesperson is well connected toprospects, he brings valuable information that makes for more relevant content.Your sales team should also know your content library better than anyone. That way, they can share relevantcontent at a moment’s notice, ask related questions and understand where a lead is in the buying cycle.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 12
  • 13. #10: H IRE THE R IGHT T EAM Content Marketing is becoming an increasingly challenging role for companies to take on in-house. Which is why more and more companies are turning to outside expertise for content strategy, development or both. When evaluating Content Marketing agencies or resources, be sure you find a team that understands the  ever-changing  content marketing and online marketing landscape.But, can an outside group really capture yourexpertise and knowledge? It can if it has a solidapproach and process for becoming one with yoursubject matter experts. Hiring a team of writers is not theanswer. Hiring a team of true content marketers is abetter choice.Stay tuned for another Action Item Report which outlinesthe top things to look for in a Content Marketing partner.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 13
  • 14. A BOUT T HE A UTHORDeana Goldasich has built content strategies for multi-million dollar retailers, high-profile brands and influentialgovernment and health agencies for over 15 years. Today, Deana’s focus and passion is in Content Marketing – winningcustomers through information, education and thought leadership.Deana founded Well Planned Web in 2009 to help “trailblazing” businesses embrace a content-focused approach intheir marketing efforts.Today, the Well Planned Web team specializes in:• Website Planning and specifications built around “Mission Critical” content• Content Strategy “Buyers  and  customers  no  longer  • Content Marketing want  to  be  ‘marketed  to.’  • Content Creation• Content Distribution and Social networking Today’s  content  must  solve  a  Well Planned Web’s current clients include national B2B companies, professional services, problem,  not  sell  a  product.”medical leaders and specialty e-commerce.Deana speaks often to audiences about effective web content and was part of the New Media Special Interest Group for the American MarketingAssociation. She was also chosen to speak as the “Blogging Pro” at the 2010 National Speakers Association Convention.Prior to Well Planned Web, Deana served as Director of Content and Production for HSN.com—the e-commerce arm of the  Home ShoppingNetwork. Deana led the company’s aggressive marketing and content strategies for merchandising campaigns, celebrity showcase events, storefrontlaunches, video on demand, and interactive shopping guides. She and her team crafted online content initiatives for hundreds of HSN celebrities andbrands such as Wolfgang Puck, Sephora, Bob Vila, Gateway, Kodak, Suzanne Somers, Susan Lucci and Joy Mangano.Before HSN, Deana was a consultant with Sapient Corporation, specializing in User Experience (UX) and Content Strategy. During that time, shefocused on user-centered web content for clients such as the American Cancer Society, Kodak, Conoco, Janus and the Texas Department ofCriminal Justice.10 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 14
  • 15. Y OUR T URNLet’s  Connect! Share This Report on LinkedIn Link with us Share This Report on Twitter Follow us Circle us Share This Report on Facebook Like usEmail:     deana@wellplannedweb.comWebsite:     h:p://www.WellPlannedWeb.comNeed  More?Was this report helpful? Need more help to make your company’s online content andmarketing more meaningful, measurable or effective? Let us know. That’s what we do!813.863.148610 Ways to Ditch "Status Quo" Content 15