Want to Stay Sane? Scale Your Content.
There's no need to be a content conveyor belt to have an impact.
This isn't just a blog post—we're going interactive, baby. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to take our nifty little content marketing survey.
Let's set the scene: You're a marketer and you've just introduced content into the mix. Your boss has given you the green light on a whitepaper, so you roll up your sleeves, brew up some coffee, and work with your team to create a bang-up piece of content you know your audience is going to eat up with a spoon.
You've been burning the midnight oil, but finally it's finished. Your whitepaper. You feel about it nearly as fondly as you feel about your first born child. And just like a child, you have to let go and release it into the world. You do so with a mix of excitement and trepidation. You post it on your website, sit back, and sigh with self-satisfaction at a job well done.
Now a week's gone by. Your boss is looking at the conversion numbers. They're…okay. A few clicks here, a few clicks there, a bit of engagement, a little sharing—but far from the reaction you were hoping for.
What went wrong?
“You need to produce content that delivers value for you, for whatever you're trying to achieve—or why do it?” says Seth Lieberman, CEO of content marketing software company SnapApp. “You need to have a dialogue—not a monologue—so that users can actively engage with your content. You need to drive engagement for users and drive value for marketers.”
In the case above, our hero may have created a whitepaper of the gods—but he didn't promote it. Neither did he think beyond the piece of content itself. If you want to make an impact, content needs to be part of a strategy, not just a one-off thing. If your idea of content marketing is a single blog post or a once-and-done whitepaper, you're going to be sorely disappointed with the results.
Of course doing the opposite isn't the right answer either. You've also got to consider the quality versus quantity issue and your sanity along with your budget.
“If you're just cranking out more and more of the same content, you're probably not generating results,” Lieberman says. “And if you're not generating results, then you're wasting time and resources you don't have.”
That's why it's all about scaling—taking the quality content you have and using it as the jumping off point for other content opportunities. A whitepaper isn't just a whitepaper—it's a solid foundation for blog posts, infographics, tweets, Facebook posts, videos, etc. Recycling is good for the environment, and it's good for your content marketing strategy.
You've also got to consider the buying cycle. A whitepaper isn't a useful piece of top-of-the-funnel content; but a quick survey based on findings in the whitepaper is perfect for someone just starting to learn about your company.
“It takes a long time to write a good piece of solid content,” Lieberman says. “But if marketers take a piece of thought leadership they already have and come up with eight weeks worth of interesting and fresh ways to slice and dice it into dozens of pieces of consumable content, they'll generate way more leads.”
Nonprofit TV network PBS, a client of SnapApp's and home of everyone's favorite classy soap Downton Abbey, does a particularly nice job of engaging prospects with interactive content. PBS has a two-person marketing team, but they were able to build 200 fun, engaging pieces of content that were both simple and effective, including Downton Abbey-themed quizzes that generated more than 156,000 leads. The conversion rate—an impressive 43%—was so high because PBS figured out the two golden rules of content marketing: Give people content they actually want—and make sure you, the marketer, is getting something out of it too.
“This is about customer intelligence, not just about generating leads,” Lieberman says. “You need to tie all of your content—and the results—to the lead record.”
When a user takes the “Which Downton Abbey Couple Are You?” or “Which Downton Abbey Job is Right For You?” quiz, PBS collects the answers and uses them to lead score and create trigger campaigns and better targeted marketing. It's content with a purpose—not content for content's sake.
“One of the big changes in the world today is that if you build it, they won't come anymore,” Lieberman says. “You have to be really aggressive and proactive to pull people in and push people out. There's no silver bullet.”
How are you using content marketing? What are your pain points? Grab yourself a cuppa joe, and tell us what's going down at your company.