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9 Steps to Winning Your Content Marketing Marathon

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In my recent breakout session at Content Strategy Applied USA 2014, I used running as a metaphor for how companies need to approach content marketing. It is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Marketers must be prepared to go on a journey when they embrace this digital strategy. Ultimately, the benefits are worth it, but it's rarely easy. It requires perseverance, patience and self-awareness about how to push your limits.

My presentation took attendees through nine steps to help them learn what to expect and stay in the race, even when it's hard. From deciding to run, defining goals and picking the right metrics to choosing the right partners and the right races, I offered insights, frameworks and case studies from our experience running alongside clients in their marathons.

Published in: Marketing
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9 Steps to Winning Your Content Marketing Marathon

  1. 1. Connecting the Content Marketing Dots… CONTENT, CHANNELS AND CULTURE Laurie Paleczny, President, Dash Digital Group November 18, 2014
  2. 2. The challenge • Content marketing is forcing marketing professionals to rethink how they engage audiences • Hundreds of digital channels offer potential • How do you decide? • How do you measure what works and what doesn’t? © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  3. 3. It’s all about you What is right for your • Business • Customer • Resources © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  4. 4. Source: The Guardian © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  5. 5. The Content Marathon • It’s not a race • It’s not a campaign • Content marketing is a practice © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  6. 6. Run, Laurie, Run! Let the parallels begin… Running is a journey, full of lessons and insights © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  7. 7. What does it take to win? • Goals • Focus • Tenacity • Thrill of accomplishment • Willingness to learn (and share) © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  8. 8. The First Step DECIDING TO RUN © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  9. 9. Now it’s all about me J • First half marathon at 47 • friend put me up to it • Once committed, I took ownership © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  10. 10. Step Two DEFINE YOUR GOAL(S) © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  11. 11. What does success look like? • Content marketing can have many purposes that benefit your company — what is most important? • Drive sales • Generate leads • Foster loyalty • Support customers (displace calls) • Brand affinity / awareness • Reduce costs
  12. 12. Start with smaller goals • Confirm progress: weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually • Put meaningful metrics in place — know that you can measure progress and understand • Build on success © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  13. 13. Step Three ESTABLISH MEANINGFUL METRICS
  14. 14. Meaningful metrics • Don’t take on someone else’s goal • What really matters? © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  15. 15. Measurement Framework Purpose Drive specific insights about the quality and performance of content, amplification, and conversions © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  16. 16. Measurement Framework Goal Create comprehensive framework that marketers can use to benchmark and test new tactics (content, amplification and conversions) © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  17. 17. Measurement Framework Build effective reports for key stakeholders: 1. Executives 2. Managers 3. Blog owners / authors © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  18. 18. Sample Framework © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014 Content Activity Amplification Performance Amplification Activity Engagement/ Conversions Content Performance
  19. 19. Step Four CHOOSE YOUR TOOLS
  20. 20. Right tools that work together • The wrong tools will only distract • Understand your capability and limitations • Still have to put in the training, the hard work to make content successful -- crafting good stories, producing quality ideas and creative © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  21. 21. The Fifth Step CHOOSE YOUR RUNNING PARTNER(S)
  22. 22. Partner • Work with experts who understand your goals and will run alongside to help you achieve them • Partners can introduce you to new • Tools • Approaches • Processes • Partners © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  23. 23. Step Six PICK THE RIGHT RACE
  24. 24. Know which channels matter • Where is your target audience? • How does engagement differ from channel to channel? • Which online venues perform? • Know how to tailor content and engagement strategies for each © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  25. 25. Example – financial services • Researched how personal finance topics were discussed in various channels • Industry marketed in Twitter and Facebook • Consumers read blogs and posted in anonymous forums • Cultural norms were different in each channel © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  26. 26. Research volume of content © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  27. 27. The culture of the race Different races have different cultural norms; they may not be a good fit for you, or to run them, you may need to embrace a different culture © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  28. 28. Know the channel culture • Learn • what values and attitudes exist online about your brand/industry • the political, cultural or sociological reference points • Understand the cultural nuances of audiences in order to more effectively influence or inform their behavior © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  29. 29. Who is my target client? © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  30. 30. Step Seven MAP YOUR RACE
  31. 31. Content Journey - healthcare Awareness Program Info Partner Information About Benefits The Team Interest Information White papers Tools/Lists Contests Portfolio/Case Studies Intent Testimonials Studies Awards/ Certifications Memberships Partners/ Endorsements Action Find a provider Request Info Share/Follow Click/Call Submit form
  32. 32. Enterprise example – phase 1 • Global B2B software company • Goal: Lower support costs and drive interest in new products • Approach: Build IT practitioner community for product support, sharing and collaboration • Action: Selected Lithium as its platform for forums and blogs • Initial launch was a success, but then stagnated — weren’t ready to run the long marathon • Community needed content Learn through practice runs - assess what works and what doesn’t. © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  33. 33. Enterprise example– phase 2 • Product blog teams to create practitioner-focused content • Useful, step-by-step, including code samples • Empathetic to changing job demands • Best practices for images, headlines, build blogger profile • Created front-page to community • Better UX / navigation • Surface evergreen content - How-to articles, videos • Drive conversion to lead gen (webinars, white papers) and featured software downloads (“conversion”) • ROI conversation • Newsletter - sign-up campaign Awareness Interest Intent Action © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  34. 34. Editorial Calendar © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  35. 35. Step Eight PLAN TIME TO RECOVER
  36. 36. Evaluate Performance • Marathons take their toll • Take time to recover and think about what worked, what didn’t • Engage stakeholders and partners You should have some failures Learn your way to success © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  37. 37. Measurement • Have defined goals • Have a defined set of tools • Understand gaps • Structured taxonomy is essential • SqueezeCMM • measure the constellation of social clicks, content consumption and CTA conversions © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014
  38. 38. Content chain results 240 Free Software Registration Page 58 46 55 364 9 88 23 8 1 9 Guide to Analytics 901 63 267
  39. 39. Content chain results 240 Free Software Registration Page 58 46 55 364 9 88 65 143 1 9 Guide to Analytics 901 63 267 11 3
  40. 40. Step Nine KEEP RUNNING
  41. 41. © Dash Digital Group Inc. 2014 Laurie Paleczny laurie@dashdigitalgroup.com

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