Ok … I don’t expect content marketing grommets of recent employ to get this Henny Youngman reference in the title, but my hope is that the words stand alone as an offer that both neophytes and know-betters can’t refuse in their rush to impress or fill space.
You see, along with the content marketing hype machine comes the churn of blogs, eBooks, infographics, white papers, videos and other vehicles all destined for the digital landfill because they shared the common trait of being untethered and painfully unencumbered by even a modicum of strategy or end goal.
You know how these conversations start because you are either forced to start them or weather them from above.
Witness: “We need a thought leadership blog.” “We need a video!” “I need you to write an eBook.” “Can you create an infographic for us?”
Need proof that chasing a content format or tactic isn’t working?
A not-so-gentle reminder to know your audience first
The pitfalls of falling into tactics before having a strategy are as old as marketing itself, I know, but in the age of “We need a Facebook page/LinkedIn Profile/Twitter handle/Instagram or Vine account,” it warrants this passionate plea:
Please, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, let’s start with a plan complete with a beginning, a middle and a measurable end before settling on what we need to do or how you’re going to do it.
Before you create anything …
I suggested last time – aided by the wisdom of Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute – that having a point in the form of a Content Mission Statement is a good place to start. After you know what you intend to do with your content, let’s also agree to start content planning sessions by doing this or something like it before attacking the keyboard:
1. Review recent sales data to understand the buying stages for your product, the most common buyer titles, content consumption patterns, and key influencer/decision maker requirements during the sales process.
3. Research content preference data to get a sense for what your prospects might want instead of what you believe they need.
4. Ask current and former customers which types of content helped them become purchasers.
5. Use this information to inform a content creation and distribution strategy tied to an editorial calendar, and then bring it all together in an integrated marketing plan.
In an effort to payoff my headline for this post and give you a head start on #5, I created this SlideShare deck for you: A proven content marketing strategy ready to steal + an offer to lend a hand. In this presentation, you’ll find not only proven content mix for each buyer stage, but also the inbound and email lead nurturing plan I use to increase sales-accepted leads and pipeline revenue for clients. Take a look and if the presentation proves useful, take it. If not, let’s talk soon so we can make it work for you. As always, if you need market or buyer persona research and content execution assistance, send me a email or let’s connect on Twitter.
For those of you with a better way or some thoughts to add on how to create content that helps people solve a business problem, fire away below.
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