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Pro Practices for your Content Marketing

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This ebook covers: Ideas for building a buyer persona based on your best clients, Tips for integrating content marketing into social media and other marketing tactics & Ways to map content to your customers’ buying journey

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Pro Practices for your Content Marketing

  1. 1. Written By: Shawn Smajstrla Senior Content Specialist © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. Is Your Content Marketing Missing These Pro Practices? As a content marketing product manager, it’s safe to say that Lee Whitehead knows a thing or two about content. And because he’s helped hundreds of our customers meet their goals for content, he knows how tough it can be to create a sustainable strategy on your own – and how much easier it can be if you know about the practices that content marketing professionals use for their campaigns every day. That’s why Lee wrote this ebook. In the next few pages he’ll tell you where you need to focus your efforts most so that you can get the results you’re looking for with content marketing. When marketers begin to put together a content marketing plan, it seems that we all go toward our strengths (basically what has had some success in the past). Whether that’s setting up an email drip campaign or blasting out a free white paper to try and acquire leads, every company can point to a success and say that “this works for us.” The problem is when the “this works for us” becomes a closed-minded approach to marketing. Especially in the content marketing world, I imagine several companies look at just one or two touch points that they have used in the past and stick with them because they have “worked” up to the standards of the company. Not that their standards are sub-par, but sticking to their guns at the cost of innovation is the type of old school mentality I think we need to get rid of to a degree. I talk to every type of client, from your small businesses to your multi-million and even blue chip companies. I often see that the best results come from having the best foundation for their content strategies. Tried and true principles of content marketing are not just about having assets. Consequently, this ebook is not about how to make great content and what to write about. This is about making sure you’re basing your strategy on a sound foundation and hopefully giving you some ideas on how you can improve. So let’s get started.
  2. 2. Google Analytics Marketo Hubspot © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 7© 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. 2 Outlining your personas can make for much more targeted content I think one of the greatest assets you can build for yourself is to actually nail down your custom audience in the form of personas. And that begins not just by identifying who your customers are, but who your best customers are so that you can create content that attracts more like them. Whether you are using tools you already have like Google Analytics or marketing automation tools like Marketo or Hubspot, or you’re seeking information out through other methods like customer surveys make sure you have a clear line of sight on what data you need before spending the time and money getting it. This can include firmographic and demographic information, pain points and their typical buying journey among other things. Once you know the characteristics of the clients that are the best fit for your business, you can start looking at what content they like the most. Start looking at the types of content they’re downloading from your site, which kinds of social posts they engage with most, and information in your CRM about what content your sales people are sending to those types of clients that tends to move things forward. At the end of the day, it comes back to attracting and retaining a clearly defined audience. Go niche, not wide net, when asking questions. The more detail you can pull from research, the easier it will be to refine your strategy. Personas are the key to understanding who you are communicating with, and by combining what you know about your customers with what you know about their buying journey, you can map relevant content to every stage that will help them down the path to purchase. And that brings me to my next point. B2B Connected. Is Your Content Marketing Missing These Pro Practices? 369 216 45 CRM Information Social Post Activity Downloads From Site
  3. 3. © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 3 And maybe the most important question of all: Are you developing content that is valuable, sharable and designed to attract and retain a clearly defined audience? I must admit, The Content Marketing Institute had a lot to do with that last question, but it makes sense right? It is important to know that with a holistic strategy, you need more than one gear in motion. All parts of your content marketing strategy need to be able to work symbiotically throughout the journey to make an effective action take place. In addition to this point, I have thought of some other key things to get anyone started in the right direction by identifying your buyer/customer, building better content standards and integrating content into social media and other marketing tactics. Research When clients realize they have a need, how do they do research? How do clients find you? Specifically, how do they find you online? Through search engines or display ads? Do you have a blog that covers topics that will easily pop up in search engine results for relevant queries your customers make? Do you have web page content that will serve as landing pages for display ads? Evaluate How do clients compare you and your competitors? How can your content communicate the unique value you offer and show that you’re an expert at what you do? Does your social media distinguish your company from competitors by providing valuable information and embodying your brand essence? Does it repeat content that your client sees everywhere else or is there a specific strategy for it? Do you send out a newsletter regularly to your clients and prospects with valuable information and resources to keep you top of mind? Decide Once clients have a short list of companies they're considering, how do they decide which one will best meet their needs? What criteria do they consider? Do you have FAQs, product collateral and side-by-side comparisons that answer questions clients often have based on those criteria? Have you reached out to happy clients to create customer testimonials and case studies that show off the results you've helped achieve? 1011010101101010101 001010101010101000 11101010110101010101 0100101010101010111 0101011101101010100 Knowing your customers’ buying journey gives you a basic content roadmap Let me start by first saying, there is no silver bullet strategy to content marketing and as it stands, there should be no shortage of experimentation with your content marketing strategy either. But there is one thing that can start giving your content marketing some cohesion right away: your customers’ buying journey. Find out how your customers realize they have a need, carry out research, evaluate vendors and make their final choice. This can include talking to key stakeholders in your company, looking at data from your website analytics, and talking to customers themselves. After you’ve done that, think of all the touch points you have with a client and ask yourself questions like the ones below to help you start mapping what content you need for every stage of the journey. (This will also help you identify any content gaps.) B2B Connected. Is Your Content Marketing Missing These Pro Practices?
  4. 4. © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. *Content Marketing Institute 4 Don’t just raise your output, first raise your standards We all hope that one day we will have a content marketing campaign that is perfect and will not need much effort from us to execute, but it will never happen. Just ask Amanda Todorovich at Cleveland Clinic. In an interview she talks about how she built one of the leading health and wellness portals out there. “What has evolved are our standards, and how we decide what to publish and when. It’s been about refinement and listening to the data.”* Take the cue from some of the best. Focus on getting better, not creating something perfect. The first thing to make sure of when you’re aiming for quality is that all content is built carefully around something that your audience wants to hear about. It doesn’t make sense to spend the resources to create flashy, premium visual content or even everyday content like blog posts without making sure that they’re relevant to your audience. This means choosing topics that answer questions your customers are asking to research, evaluate and make their final buying decision as well as topics that show why you’re an industry authority. But quality also means investing the time and effort into making sure that your content thoroughly covers its topic in a well-thought out yet interesting way. (Telling stories to illustrate your points and writing in your own unique voice are a couple ways you can be entertaining while keeping the focus on the information you’re presenting.) It’s better to produce less content that’s more robust and engaging than the other way around. And don’t be afraid of out-of-the-box thinking, especially with the format of your content. Videos, infographics, gifographics and other newer types of content are rising in popularity, and they can set you apart – as long as your specific audience will appreciate them. Whatever types of content you choose to create on a regular basis, make sure they’re what your buyers want based on what you know about who they are and what their buying journey looks like. Finally, our discussion of quality wouldn’t be complete without touching on one final point: content marketing is an ongoing initiative that needs constant optimization... I’m sorry, but it’s true! The key to consistency – in how often you create content and in how you measure results. I would try to make it as easy as possible on yourself by first setting up a calendar. Then you can decide on a regular interval for checking on website traffic, bounce rate, shares, likes, retweets etc. to look at engagement. Once you know what topics and types of content are getting the most attention from the buyers you most want to attract, then you can hone in on creating more content that's similar and get into the rhythm of the optimization process: create, review and tweak. Rinse and repeat. Putting this emphasis on raising your standards might be tough, but it’s worth the opportunity to keep customers coming back to your content through their entire buying process and even after the sale to encourage them to do business with you again. B2B Connected. Is Your Content Marketing Missing These Pro Practices?
  5. 5. © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. *Earnest Agency **MediaPost 5 Integrate content marketing into social media and other marketing tactics Now let’s talk a little about how you can use content and social with other marketing activities. In the B2B world social media is becoming more and more prevalent. A whopping 85 percent of B2B buyers* believe that companies should present information via social networks but there seems to be some disconnect. When asked how effectively they think social media is linked to their company’s marketing strategy, only 40.5 percent of CMOs believe it's linked very or somewhat effectively.** I hope you are seeing the opportunity here. Social media can be a huge advantage to you and your customers. It is designed to engage and spark conversation. Social media is the voice of your company and should act as such. Example: Trade shows. All companies that actively go to trade shows know how important their face-to-face experiences are when creating brand lift and gathering leads. You are there to show how awesome you are and why they should buy from you, but there might be a missed opportunity on Twitter. Twitter? Why? Glad you asked. Twitter is probably the easiest and best place to have an immediate and focused update on what is going on at the trade show virtually. You have an opportunity to let all the people at the show and beyond know what your every move is, and you want that to happen because you go to trade shows to be in the spotlight. So make yourself that spotlight by following a few tips for making the most of social media while you’re at this or any event. Have a customized strategy, PLEASE. Don’t go into a trade show all willy-nilly and pretend that you will just increase booth traffic with simple posts. Figure out ahead of time how many times a day you’ll post and decide on what types of posts you’ll create. Use the trade show hashtag. This sounds like a simple one, but you would be surprised how caught up you can get in your strategy and then forget the little things. Using the trade show hashtag is going to get you in front of everyone looking at that hashtag. Make sure you’re in the mix.# B2B Connected. Is Your Content Marketing Missing These Pro Practices?
  6. 6. Wherever you post, remember to be helpful, entertaining and informative while posting a mix of your own content and third-party content that’s relevant to your current and potential customers. Summing up content marketing strategy 1. Customer Personas Find out who your best customers are and how they digest content as well as what is important to them. 2. The Customer Buying Journey Think on all the touch points your client is using to view your brand and what different stages of the buying journey they are in during those touch points. Then utilize those insights to provide valuable, sharable and interesting content throughout the entire buying journey. 3. Content Quality Focus on getting better with higher standards for your content, not making something perfect. 4. Social Media Integration Promote your content and other relevant content on your social media channels. Make sure you have a strategy, especially for special events like trade shows. Talk about where you are, how you are doing, who you are listening to, what interesting things have been said and how they relate to your industry or your business. (Example posts could include observations about an educational session, stats about your company or products or photos of parties.) Remember to interact with other attendees and talk to anyone who replies to one of your posts. Be personable if you can, just keep in mind you only have 140 characters to do so. B2B Connected. Is Your Content Marketing Missing These Pro Practices? © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. 6
  7. 7. © 2016 MultiView. All Rights Reserved. *SiriusDecisions 7 Lastly, remember that 70 percent* of the buying journey is usually completed before a client picks up the phone or attempts to make contact. They are doing research and evaluating companies out there somehow. If you can give them the information they’re looking for while showing your unique value, they’re more likely to choose your company. Become their thought leader, become their educational resource, and become their reliable source of customer interaction in the digital world. In order to accomplish these three things, you need to know who you are speaking to, what their journey looks like, make sure your standards are up to par, and communicate effectively with your audience on social media so that the content you create promotes engagement and ultimately brings you customers. About Lee Lee is a content marketing product manager for MultiView, which means he manages the execution of creating content for clients and evangelizes about how powerful that is. He has a passion for content marketing and all the benefits it brings to businesses in the B2B world. Since coming to MultiView in 2012, Lee has developed extensive expertise in all things content. After helping hundreds of clients define their strategies and achieve their content marketing goals, he knew he'd found his niche. Lee graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2012 with a degree in entrepreneurship and a double minor in sports management and marketing and enjoys golf and tennis. He's always looking to improve and expand his expertise. B2B Connected. Is Your Content Marketing Missing These Pro Practices? Visit us at multiview.com Learn more about the pro practices your content marketing is missing 972.402.7070 solutions@multiview.com

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