How To Build Your Content Marketing Hub


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You know you should be content marketing and you know you should be using webinars, but you're not sure how the two go together. This ebook from Demand Gen Report outlines why webinars should be central to your content marketing strategy. Not only are webinars the place to interact with your prospects and customers and answer their questions, but they also provide rich data on webinar attendees and registrants that you can use to your advantage for lead and demand generation. Read on for 5 tips for using webinars as your content marketing hub.

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How To Build Your Content Marketing Hub

  2. 2. Everything Is OnlineFor anyone serious about growing a business in the 21st Unfortunately, there’s a lot of competition out there. Content is “a broadcentury, forgoing a content marketing strategy is no According to a 2012 MarketingProfs study, 9 out of 10 term that refers tolonger an option. The era of companies relying primarily business-to-business marketers are using content anything created andon “interruptive” marketing methods like ads, direct mail, marketing as a main part of their growth strategy. uploaded to a website:and cold calls to persuade customers to buy is long the words, images, tools,gone. These days, when people want to make a With so many companies scrambling to launch and other things thatdecision about a product or service, they search blogs, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and reside there.”the web, check out blogs, and put out feelers online newsletters, it has become more difficult -Content Rulesthrough social media. As a result, it is becoming than ever for sales and marketing material to get by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapmanincreasingly important for modern marketers noticed. However, there is one form of content thatto replace one-way advertising with two-way allows marketers to takecommunication. advantage of recent transformations in technology and customer preferencesContent Marketing: Highly Effective, to generate a large and loyal following –Highly Competitive webinars.Google’s recent Panda and Penguin algorithm updates Read on to discover…have ensured that only sites with the highest qualitycontent will appear in search results. Moreover, a recent • Why you should build a hub-and-spoke contentsurvey published by the Custom Content Council reported marketing modelthat 78 percent of people feel companies that publish • The disadvantages of text-only content marketingstrong content are more interested in building goodrelationships with them and 61 percent of people are more • The advantages of using webinars as content hublikely to buy from organizations that deliver informativecontent online. • The case of a company that is getting amazing results with webinar-based content marketingIn short, organizations that create remarkable online • How to build a successful webinar-focused contentcontent and deploy it strategically get the highest rankings marketing strategyand generate the most buzz. 2BUILDING A DYNAMIC CONTENT MARKETING HUB
  3. 3. First Things First: What Is aContent Hub?One of the first companies to pioneer the concept of by “spokes” that are “distribution channels for promoting Hub: a deep repositorycontent marketing was marketing software firm Hubspot. content and in some cases fostering social engagement.” of information whereSince its founding in 2006 by MIT graduates Brian Halligan themed content isand Dharmesh Shah, Hubspot has grown 6,012 percent, In other words, with a hub-and-spoke marketing model, publishedand the model that they established has been used organizations can establish a message that defines them,to generate billions of dollars of revenue for build a central location or hub where they broadcast that Spokes: distributionorganizations worldwide. message, and use supplemental content to continually channels for promoting nudge prospects toward that hub. content and in someIn their book, Inbound Marketing, Hubspot’s founders cases fostering socialwrite that “instead of broadcasting to their users with a Until very recently, most content marketers found that engagementmegaphone, the top-ranked [companies] today have their website or blog was the perfect hub for their online –Lee Odden, author of Optimizecreated communities where like-minded people can strategy. But as the virtual landscape has changed along and Top Rank business bloggerconnect with each other. Instead of ‘megaphone’, with buyers’ perceptions, relying on interactive multimediathink ‘hub’.” has become far more effective than simply pumping out copy. As such, it is the webinar that has become the idealIt is true that online marketing is, at least in part, about hub for a successful content marketing campaign.getting found by search engines. But the true leadersof the field pay as much attention to return visits andengagement as they do to getting visitors to drop by in thefirst place.Lee Odden, digital marketing guru and author of the book,Optimize: Win More Customers with Social Media, SEO,and Content Marketing (Wiley 2012), also subscribes to theimportance of having a ”hub” that is a “deep repository ofinformation where themed content is published.” He addsthat this approach only works if the hub is supported 3BUILDING A DYNAMIC CONTENT MARKETING HUB
  4. 4. The Power of Social Mediaand MultimediaWith so much information and education available on the Exactly How Effective Are Webinars?Internet, potential customers are in total control. They haveunprecedented freedom of how to buy, when to buy, and In MarketingProf’s most recent survey of 1,092 marketers, 70what to buy. As a result, a company has to be in front of percent rated webinars and webcasts as effective or veryprospects at all times to make sure that its name is the first effective at generating qualified leads. The method cameone that comes to mind when they are ready to pull in second only after in-person events, which are difficultthe trigger. to run and even more difficult to scale. As for text-heavy blogs, they were nowhere near the top of the list.So what is it about a webinar that makes it the hub towhich all other content should point? • 70 percent of marketing professionals rated webinars as effective/very effectiveDr. William J. Ward, Social Media Professor at Syracuse • Text-heavy blogs were not among the most effectiveUniversity, recently explained in a Fast Company article means for lead generationthat “blogs were one of the earliest forms of socialnetworking, where people were writing 1,000 words… 70%Then micro-blogs like Twitter came along and shortenedupdates to 140 characters. Now we are skippingwords altogether and moving toward more visualcommunication.”Social media is one of the most effective ways by whichan organization’s content can spread virally. As decisionmakers’ preferred means of digesting long form contentchanges, multimedia needs to have a central place in anyworkable content marketing strategy. Now, where text-based content can be most useful is as a way of buildingbuzz for a main event like a webinar that uses audio, video,and interactive technology. 4BUILDING A DYNAMIC CONTENT MARKETING HUB
  5. 5. Webinar-Focused ContentMarketing in ActionOne company that has successfully used a webinar- to the switch from the company’s traditional sales “We’ve establishedfocused content strategy to reinvent its marketing is the strategy to one based on content marketing. a real good rhythmconsulting and B2B software firm Competitive Solutions, Inc. where everybody in our “We decided, let’s play that game,” says Jordan, “Let’s database knows thatCompetitive Solutions sells a training program and constantly provide fresh, relevant, easy-to-use, simple, every Tuesday morning,methodology that allows executives and managers to how to-type content so when people do go searching they’re going to get anbecome better leaders, along with scorecard software for answers, we might pop up. And then they might get email with a little piecethat helps decision makers manage their processes and addicted to what we have to say.” of free content that’strack their progress. The company’s typical clients are very relevant to what theylarge organizations, such as the U.S. military, oil companies, At that point, the only question remaining was what form care about and to theand fast food corporations. Competitive Solutions’ typical the content should take. topic of the month. Andsales cycle is eighteen months minimum. there’s a free webinar at Competitive Solutions’ Choice the end of the month ifOver the last few years, the executive team at Competitive you want to join us. WeSolutions began to notice a shift in the buying patterns of During the initial stages of developing its content get 400 to 600 peopleits prospects. They observed that approaches that had marketing approach, Competitive Solutions had a who sign up toalways worked for them, such as establishing a presence at number of choices regarding how to structure its each one.”trade shows, were becoming less and less effective. hub-and-spoke model. It ultimately settled on the –Connor Jordan, development of a series of once-a-month webinars. Director of Marketing Competitive Solutions, Inc.In describing this new reality, Competitive Solutions’ It also decided to continue to create other forms ofDirector of Marketing Connor Jordan says, “About 75 to 85 content, but to use these supplemental pieces to pointpercent of buyers’ decision-making processes take place prospects to the webinars that formed the hub ofbefore you even know them. They’re going to go onto its sites, competitors’ sites, blogs, social media profiles,tweets. They’re going to find out for themselves, without The selection of the monthly webinars as Competitiveany interaction with anybody in sales, if they care about Solutions’ focal point has made all the difference inwhat you have to say or not.” It was this realization that led ensuring the company’s success with content marketing. 5BUILDING A DYNAMIC CONTENT MARKETING HUB
  6. 6. Every action that the company takes from a content The company also uses the opt-in feature of the exit “We were attendingmarketing perspective exists to drive people to its monthly survey allowing attendees to select to enroll in future about 40 trade showswebinars. Its text-based tips, emails, and tweets educate events automatically, which garners fifty new sign-ups per year. But, afterand inform, while at the same time subtly maneuvering each time. But the real significance of the post-show doing an analysis, wepotential customers to the main show. And all of the work it does is far greater than simply driving higher found we reachedcontent that the organization produces during the week is attendance. By continually gathering information on more people viarelated to the theme that the webinar will examine what is working and what is not, Competitive Solutions monthly web eventsin detail. is able to perpetually improve all of its content, which with GoToWebinar than results in more leads, better leads and, ultimately, by presenting at tradeAs a result, Competitive Solutions comes into contact more sales. shows — and webinarswith 400 to 600 truly qualified leads every month. Many don’t require all thatof these people choose to immerse themselves in the travel and expense.”company’s message by engaging in a dialogue with –Connor Jordan,their presenters through the Citrix GoToWebinar platform. Director of Marketing Competitive Solutions, Inc.Eventually, regular attendees come to view members ofthe organization as trusted advisors – and people buy frompeople they trust.After the Main EventIn discussing the final piece of the content marketing puzzlethat has led to his company’s success, Jordan describeshow he takes full advantage of the survey and reportingfeatures built into the Citrix platform. “In the webinar itself,we create poll questions in a way that we’re gatheringintelligence. So then later we can call them back and say,‘Hey, looks like you had issues with trying to figure out whatto measure or how to use a score card.’ And then on theexit survey, we ask them what else they need; what they’dbe interested in seeing more of.” 6BUILDING A DYNAMIC CONTENT MARKETING HUB
  7. 7. Implementing the StrategyHere’s how to create a webinar-focused content quite a bit different than what you’ll end upmarketing strategy that will generate a steady stream of needing to produce in the future. Build processesqualified leads for your business: to ensure that changing one part of your content strategy doesn’t throw off everything else. 1. Plan “big idea” webinars – Begin by sketching out topics for your webinars. Make sure you choose 4. Produce – While planning is important, action subject matter based on big ideas in your industry is even better. Launch your first webinar sooner that you can explore deeply. Planning in advance rather than later. If it’s not perfect, the next one will ensure that you are able to efficiently marshal will be an improvement. Get the word out to the resources you need to produce multimedia whatever list you have now. If it’s small, it will get content on a regular and timely basis. More bigger. The great thing about online marketing importantly, deciding on webinar topics at the is that it doesn’t have to be polished. In fact, it’s outset will determine the overall tone of your sometimes better if it’s not. Unlike print material, marketing strategy. TV commercials, and magazine ads, there’s very little risk involved in trying a content marketing 2. Scope out a supporting content strategy – Once approach, testing it, refining it, and then you’ve decided on your webinar topics, it’s time trying again. to build your support plan. Will you promote the webinar with a blog post? What will the blog 5. Use webinar intelligence – Take full advantage content include? How will it (subtly) point readers of your webinar platform’s polling, survey, and toward your webinars? The same goes for email, reporting features. Ask webinar attendees to tweets, Facebook posts, E-books, white papers, tell you what they liked, what they didn’t like, case studies, and any other content that you plan and what they would like to see more of. Inquire to use to add to the conversation and support about whether they want to enroll for automatic the hub. updates. If you get more and more attendees to keep coming back without having to think about it 3. Create structure for change – It is inevitable that and are able to continually improve your content market factors, conditions on the ground, and new based on real world findings, it won’t be long things that you learn will make change necessary. before you have more qualified leads than you The content you plan to create now is most likely can handle. 7BUILDING A DYNAMIC CONTENT MARKETING HUB
  8. 8. Checklist for developing a webinar-focusedcontent marketing strategy The Final Word According to MarketingProfs, 46 percent of B2B companies use webinars as a primary part of their marketing strategy. And over the past year, there has been a 27 percent increase in the use of webinars as a marketing tool – a growth rate second to no other form of media. Plan “big idea” webinars Online marketing has come a long way from the time when simply picking the right keywords would get a company Scope out supporting content strategy maximum exposure. Today, organizations that want to get noticed need a sophisticated approach that strategically Create structure for change uses multimedia supported by a full range of accompanying content. Produce Connor Jordan had the following to say about the success of Competitive Solutions’ webinar-focused content marketing initiative: “About half of the business we have now is because Use webinar intelligence of this. So you can only imagine what would have been if we hadn’t made this transformation.” In a world where consumers and search engine algorithms become more sophisticated every day, no organization can afford not to have a content marketing strategy. And in an online environment that is becoming increasingly oriented toward audio and video, building a plan that places webinars at the hub of your marketing is the most sensible approach to spurring growth both now and in the future. 8BUILDING A DYNAMIC CONTENT MARKETING HUB
  9. 9. DemandGen Report is a targeted e-media publication spotlighting the strategies and solutions that help companies better align their sales and marketing organizations, and, ultimately, drive growth. A key component of our coverage focuses on the sales and marketing automation tools that enable companies to better measure and manage their multi-channel demand generation efforts. For more information, visit 411 State RT 17 S Suite 410 Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604 1.888.603.3626 Citrix GoToWebinar is the easiest-to-use, do-it-yourself event tool that projects your message to up to 1,000 online attendees. With GoToWebinar, you can reduce travel costs, generate more qualified leads at a lower cost, and enhance communication with customers, prospects and employees. Host unlimited webinars for one low flat fee and give attendees the option to join from a Mac, PC or mobile device. GoToWebinar Premier Event is also available to provide custom-built solutions for thousands of attendees and is available with video streaming. To learn more, visit Citrix 7414 Hollister Ave Goleta, CA 93117 1.805.690.6400 9BUILDING A DYNAMIC CONTENT MARKETING HUB