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How Events Fuel the Content Marketing Fire

December 14, 2015

how events fuel the content marketing fire

Quick, guess what B2B content marketers named as the most effective content marketing tactic?

OK, the headline probably gave it away, but a whopping seventy-five percent of B2B content marketers rated in-person events as most effective, over white papers, newsletters and blogs.

That’s according to Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs research report, “B2B Content Marketing: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America.”

2015-14-October-Shaio-Image1

From: B2B Content Marketing – 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America slideshare

After in-person events, the marketers named webinars (66 percent) and case studies (65 percent) as most effective.

Why are events so effective for content marketing? Because they’re structured as a time-bound, content-producing machine: keynotes, panel discussions, training sessions and presentations. All involving people with a shared purpose and shared interests. How could you NOT create interesting content from events?

According to Monina Wagner (@MoninaW), community manager at Content Marketing Institute (CMI), “The key to leveraging in-person events for content marketing is knowing where to unearth ideas.”

Let’s consider five ways you can leverage events to unearth content ideas.

1. Event as a Listening Device

As content marketers, our existence is tied to our target audience. Picking the right events means finding those where we’re surrounded by that audience.

You can learn about your audience via Google Analytics, keyword research and social media listening, but there’s nothing quite like looking them in the eye and speaking to them. You’ll gain an appreciation for their perspectives and challenges in a way that metrics like bounce rate and time on page can’t deliver.

According to CMI’s Wagner, “Events provide an opportunity for an organization to see in real-time what topics resonate with its target audience.”

I want to adjust my own mindset to place a higher importance on listening at events. If I don’t produce a single piece of content from an event, but spent hours talking to my target audience, then I’ll have gained valuable insights.

“Live events give you an opportunity to really hear from your audience. Listening to their questions and challenges and then asking some good follow-up questions will often expose areas where you can fill an important content gap,” said Scott Ingram (@ScottIngram), strategic account executive at Certain.

2. Inspiration for Writing

I love to write. Give me a topic and I’ll dive right in. My challenge is finding things to write about. I prefer to cover a unique topic or delve into a distinct angle. That limits my choices. Sometimes, a comment that I hear at an event will inspire an entire post or article.

My prior CMSWire piece on infographics was inspired by a fellow content marketer. She made a comment about infographics at a Silicon Valley Content Marketing Meetup. On another occasion, I attended a meeting of customer experience professionals. A comment made during a panel discussion inspired me to write about spending more time with customers.

3. Write About the Event Itself

Your target audience is at the event. Others couldn’t make it. If you produce content about the event, both sets of people will be interested.

Last year, I attended Marketo’s annual customer Summit. Because my target audience attends that event, I published a blog post about it, which included six takeaways. Note: Hillary Clinton spoke at the event. One of my takeaways was that she’d run in 2016 (I was right).

For people who could not attend in person, sourcing footage from the event can be an attention grabber. According to Ingram, “Your people are there. What a great time and place to grab some great audio and video content that can be repurposed across multiple channels.”

4. Inform Future Content with Audience Questions

Good content marketing serves to answer questions faced by your target audience. Events are a great place to hear those questions get asked: during technical sessions, breakout sessions, presentations, panel discussions and more.

Write down all of the questions you hear. Next, jot down the answers to the questions. When you return to the office, catalog the questions into topic categories. Determine whether your in-house experts can provide answers that go above and beyond those provided at the event. If they can, you have a nice set of topics for blog posts, webinars, videos, e-books and more.

5. Report on Expert Insights

This is where content marketing meets influencer marketing. All events bring together subject matter experts who are influential in their industry. Put on your reporter hat to write articles about what the experts spoke about.

Recently, I attended a Social Media Club event. An expert panel spoke about social media marketing. The panel shared a number of interesting examples and case studies. The next day, I published a blog post with my takeaways from the panel.

Some of the panel participants saw my post and shared it to their social networks. When you write about someone’s presentation or talk, they’re inclined to share. So reporting on expert insights kills two birds with one stone: you develop content for your target audience, while having the experts share the content on your behalf.

Time to fill up my calendar with meetups, events and conferences. Not only will I hear interesting presentations and meet interesting people, but I’ll have a fresh set of ideas and topics. Given that 75 percent of B2B content marketers find this tactic effective, I’ll see you there. Can we do a short video together?

Notes About this Post

Image adapted from CommScope’s photo on flickr.

This post was originally published at CMSWire.

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Content Marketing Lesson from an Evening in Venice

November 12, 2015

content marketing lesson

Dusk turned to dark and I walked from my hotel onto Piazza San Marco in Venice. As I reach the square, musical performers entertain a large crowd:

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore.”

The Performers

A portly man belts out lyrics from the song made famous by Dean Martin. He’s joined by performers on the accordion and clarinet. I gather alongside a crowd of nearly 100 people. I squeeze my way forward, so I can see the stage.

Here’s a photo of the performers:

performers in venice italy

The singer played to the crowd. He’d start in, “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…” then pause. He’d raise his arms to urge us to finish the lyric. When we fell short, he’d raise his arms again, as if to say, “What happened?”

The next time he came around to those lyrics, we did a better job chiming in. Here’s a photo of the assembled crowd:

audience in venice italy

After a few more songs, the singer had a message for the crowd. Knowing we were mostly tourists, he chose English:

“We’re going to take a short break. We’ll return in 15 minutes.”

The Other Performers

None of us stuck around for the 15 minutes. We saw another group performing across the square. The crowd of 20 people soon turned to 120 when we all walked over.

This group featured a violinist playing classical music. I stayed for a few of their songs, then left to explore other parts of town.

Spectators vs. Customers

Both performances took place at cafes with outdoor seating. They hired the musicians and the performances drew crowds. But guess what? The tables were 10% occupied. The “free” crowd outnumbered the paying customers 20:1.

While I enjoyed both performance groups, I left each cafe without spending a dime. In fact, I don’t even know the name of either cafe. On a return visit to Venice, I may seek out the evening entertainment in Piazza San Marco, but have no affinity or loyalty to a particular cafe.

That’s a lost opportunity to the cafe!

The Content Marketing Lesson

Here’s the lesson for content marketers:

  1. Your content is the musical performance
  2. Make good music
  3. Create an association between the music and your cafe

 

Create great content, but don’t stop there. Your content should make your brand more memorable.

Make your readers come back to sit at a table. Soon enough, they’ll be ordering food and drink.

 


5 Things You’re Probably NOT Doing with Your Blog Posts

March 27, 2015

a quote on great blog posts

You think of an idea for a great blog post. What’s your first reaction? To start typing. That’s wrong. Here are five things to do first.

1) Leave Your Usual Setting

Whether it’s your office or home office, your desk is the place where you check email, have people visit, take phone calls, make phone calls and check Twitter. When sitting at your desk, your frame of mind is all about your day-to-day job. Disconnecting from that frame of mind frees your mind.

When I’m working from home, I’ll move to the kitchen table. Sometimes, I’ll get in the car and drive to the park, where I sit on a park bench. When I’m in the office, I’ll head to a table in our outdoor patio.

2) Completely Disconnect

Leave your computer or tablet at your desk. It’s hard to plan a great blog post when people are contacting you via email, Skype and Twitter. The computer is a temptation. Stay focused on planning your blog post. Emails can always wait.

3) Write an Outline with Pen and Paper

Ditch the computer and use pen and paper. Whether or not I’m writing a list-based post, I sketch out a list of the major points I’d like to make. I’ll then break up each point into “sub-points,” writing sentences or phrases to help me illustrate the main point.

4) Take Occasional Breaks

The one device I allow myself to bring is my phone. While I’m sketching out my outline, I find occasional breaks useful. I’ll open the phone and check Twitter. I try not to check email.

Sometimes, scanning the Twitter stream is simply a diversion. Other times, it triggers further ideas about the blog post. On a few occasions, I’ve engaged with users on Twitter (about the blog post I was writing) and included their thoughts into the post.

You can find the breaks that work best for you. Focus on keeping them short.

5) Write Your Blog Post in Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is what I use, but use your editor of choice. The main point is, don’t write your post within your blog publishing system. You’ll find less pressure and more focus when you write “offline.” When you’re done with the first draft, step away for a few hours (or, overnight), then return later to review and create a final draft.

When done with the final draft, transfer the post to your blog publishing system. Think of this like creating a painting. You get a practice canvas (using erasable paint) to create your masterpiece. When done, the work of art is transferred to the “real” canvas.

Try It, You’ll Like It

Try these few steps before you start writing your next blog post. You’ll like it. And more importantly, your readers will like it, too. Leave a comment below to let me know how it worked out.

Where to Find More of My Blog Posts

At DNN, I’m responsible for our corporate blog: I manage content sourcing, scheduling and editing and even write some posts myself.

Have a look at some of our recent posts and let me know what you think. Also, if you’re interested in contributing to our blog, feel free to reach out to me.

Note: I originally published this post to my LinkedIn profile.


10 Steps to Building a Culture of Content in Your Organization

April 10, 2014


Photo source: Graham Lavender on flickr.

Introduction

Note: This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

While Marketing is the voice of many organizations, a lot of subject matter experts reside elsewhere. They reside in Engineering, Product Management, Customer Support and Sales. Look at the last ten posts published on your blog. If more than half came from Marketing, then ask yourself why there aren’t more posts from the folks building, selling and servicing your products or services.

By extending the list of contributors on your blog, you present a broader range of perspectives and knowledge. At the same time, you create a stronger sense of trust from prospects and customers. They’ll respect and admire the collective expertise that your organization exhibits.

To make this happen, you’ll need to establish a culture of content in your organization. Here’s my 10-step plan to do just that.

1) Explain the Big Picture.

I tell my colleagues about the power of content and give examples, such as HubSpot and Marketo. I explain how those companies grew their businesses via content: ebooks, blog posts, SlideShares, white papers, etc. Next, I talk about personal branding and how important it is to be published online. If search engines don’t find you, then you don’t exist.

2) Gain Executive Buy-In.

It’s easy when you have executive buy-in from the start. It’s trickier when you don’t. Tell executives about other organizations in your space and show them how they used content to grow their business or cause. Employees take direction from above, so this step is crucial to gaining employee involvement.

3) Utilize Extrinsic Rewards.

For each blog post published, I reward employees with a $25 Amazon gift card. It’s a small token of appreciation for their effort. As employees publish more and move beyond the blog (to other forms of content), the extrinsic rewards are elevated.

Photo source: Richard Bao on flickr.

4) Reinforce Intrinsic Rewards.

Extrinsic rewards are important for establishing contributions early on, but they’re not sustainable over the long term. Intrinsic rewards come from the enjoyment and achievement sustained from the core activity performed. Once employees buy in to the intrinsic rewards (e.g. visibility and personal branding), they’ll contribute without the need for extrinsic rewards.

5) Convince Everyone They’re a Writer.

Photo source: Mike Licht on flickr.

“I don’t write well” is a comment I often hear. Not true. There’s a writer in everyone. And everyone has knowledge and expertise to share. Your job is to serve as mentor, coach and editor, to bring those words to life. I’ve given an employees an “outline template” to help them plan out their blog post. I then offer to write the first paragraph to get them started.

6) Look for Content Opportunities Everywhere.

My top source for blog post ideas is our company intranet. There, employees use an Activity Feed to post what they’re doing. I’ll chime in, “Sounds neat. How about writing a blog post about it?” As I chat with colleagues by the coffee machine, I also look for interesting stories, especially those involving customers.

7) Share Successes.

One of my colleagues landed a speaking appearance from her very first blog post. A regional user group discovered her blog post, found it interesting and invited her to speak at their next meeting. I was sure to tell that story to the entire company at the next “All Hands Meeting.” If there’s someone on the fence about participating, hearing successes like this may push them over the top.

8) Recognize Contributors.

I use this slide at company meetings. It contains the profile photo of every person who published a blog post. When I receive the first submission from some employees, they’ll comment that they wanted to have their face appear on this slide.

9) Find and Empower Evangelists.

You’ll find a few employees who jump on the “culture of content bandwagon.” Enable them to become evangelists for the cause. Show them your editorial calendar and ask them for suggestions. Let newbies know that they can lean on these evangelists for help, advice or tips.

10) Evangelize, Evangelize, Evangelize.

My colleagues are beginning to think that I’m addicted to content. And they’d be right. I consume a lot of content (OPB = other people’s blogs), which gives me ideas on how to better create our own content. As the facilitator for your organization’s culture of content, you’ll need to serve as principal evangelist. Find your ABE Lincoln = Always Be Evangelizing.

Conclusion

Whether you work for a commercial business or a non-profit, content can create wonders for your cause. It helps you get discovered and builds trust with customers and constituents. It’s hard to scale your content solely within Marketing. Establish and foster a culture of content and you all win.

For a look at our culture of content, have a look through the DNN blog.


How Mark Schaefer Made a Splash with Content Shock (And What You Can Learn From Him)

January 29, 2014

This post was originally published on the DNN Software blog.

Insights for Content Marketers

I consider 2014 “The Year of Content Shock and The Conversation that Ensued.” Mark Schaefer is Executive Director at Schaefer Marketing Solutions, where he provides marketing consultation to businesses. He’s the author of the {grow} blog, along with a number of books.

Photo: Mark Schaefer on Twitter (@markwschaefer)

Shortly after the New Year, Schaefer published a blog post, “Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy.” The post received 400+ comments, along with thousands of tweets and hundreds of articles. This week, Schaefer followed up with a new blog post to address all of the dissenting opinions.

My Quick Take on Content Shock

Content Shock
Image via Mark Schaefer.

Too many dissenters took a “black and white” view of Schaefer’s piece. Either content shock will doom us all or it won’t. In fact, this was my original interpretation. As Schaefer’s follow-on piece notes, however, we don’t live in a world of absolutes – there’s grey matter in between the black and white.

As a content marketer for a “small” brand, you’re not doomed to hopeless failure. In fact, if you’re a small fish in a big pond, Schaefer prescribes the following:

“If you are facing a possibility of content saturation in your market, you need to be thinking of ways to change the game.”

Mark Schaefer’s Winning Formula

Mark Schaefer
Image via Schaefer Marketing Solutions.

Schaefer Marketing Solutions operates in a highly crowded space. First, consider their direct competition: individuals and agencies who offer similar consulting services. They’re blogging and publishing books, too. On the agency side, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of agencies with far bigger budgets.

Next, consider the “indirect competition” – the rest of us who are publishing related content. Whether it’s social media marketing or content marketing, Schaefer competes with HubSpot, Marketo and KISSmetrics for attention and readership. It’s not a zero sum game, but it’s competition nonetheless.

So with the two blog posts alone, let’s consider how Schaefer combats content shock for his own business.

Find a Timely Topic

While some trace “content marketing” back to the age of cavemen, it’s hard to avoid the fact that the discipline and the term are getting a lot of buzz in 2014 (and, earlier in 2013). We’re all talking about “content marketing” – but more importantly, brands are putting serious dollars behind it. I’ve worked with journalists in past jobs and many of them (today) are heading up content marketing at B2B brands. So January 2014 was a good time to introduce “content shock.”

Take a Well-Reasoned Stand

Taking a stand garners attention. Taking a well-reasoned stand gets attention, but also drives dialog and conversation. If you wrote a blog post about “Why World Peace is Overrated,” you’re taking a stand, but you’ve lost credibility with most people in the title alone. Schaefer presented a well-reasoned argument that combined with a timely topic and a little controversy, generated a firestorm.

Side note: a search on Google shows that the original Content Shock piece has 12,500 inbound links pointing to it!

Be Open, Inviting and Genuine in Your Interactions

If he had enough time in the day, I bet Mark Schaefer would reply to every single blog comment and every single tweet. If you look at his blog posts, he gets rather close to doing just that. It takes a lot of time for Schaefer to respond to people.

blog comment

But consider his competition: other marketers, agencies and vendors like Marketo and HubSpot. They might have bigger budgets than Schaefer, but some of them do NOT interact as much – or if they do, they don’t do it in the inviting and genuine style of Schaefer.

Advantage: Schaefer.

To combat content shock: having a plan in place to genuinely engage with the readers of the content you produce. Schaefer, “predicted” all of this (in a sense) with an earlier post  that he published, “How to beat Hubspot at its own game.”

Follow Up

Sometimes, it’s not enough to reply to comments and engage with your readers (and dissenters). If you were fortunate enough to have your content spark a conversation, then take the time to carefully review all of the input (both in favor and in opposition of your stance) and follow up. Your follow-up should summarize the dialog, then provide your response. Just like Schaefer did.

Conclusion

So how can smaller fish survive in the larger content pond? Consider what Mark Schaefer did:

  1. Find a Timely Topic
  2. Take a Well-Reasoned Stand
  3. Be Open, Inviting and Genuine in Your Interactions
  4. Follow Up

What are you waiting for? Go do it!


How a Webinar Presentation Generated 10,000 @SlideShare Views in 1 Week

October 12, 2013


Photo credit: Flickr user sylvain kalache via photopin cc

Introduction

At DNN, we provide several webinars per month. Recently, we created a profile on SlideShare. We now publish the presentation from each webinar on our SlideShare account. SlideShare was working out quite well for us – we could tap into their “60 million monthly visitors and 130 million pageviews” (source: SlideShare).

Our webinar presentations were receiving anywhere from 200 to 900 views. And then it happened. We did a webinar on content marketing and posted the presentation to SlideShare. Within 1 week, the SlideShare received 10,000 views!

Analytics - SlideShare PRO

Image: a chart available in SlideShare PRO Analytics.

Continue reading this post to find out how we generated 10,000 SlideShare views and pick up a few tips on how you can optimize the views of your own SlideShares.

Getting 10,000 SlideShare Views: The Logistics

1) Publish.

Upload Presentations via SlideShare

In the past, the number one question we received on webinars was, “will the slides be available?” With SlideShare, we answer that question before it gets asked. During the early part of the webinar, we’ll promote our SlideShare channel (e.g. list the URL on a slide).

We’ll let viewers know that after the webinar, they can visit our SlideShare profile to view (and download) the slides. I like to upload the webinar presentation to SlideShare an hour (or less) after the webinar is over.

We have less than 20 followers on SlideShare. This means that once we publish, we’ll receive a modest amount of views on SlideShare. As we receive more followers, we’ll benefit from more views upon publishing. But for now, we rely on other “channels” for promotion. So for now, this step was simply the beginning of the process.

2) Promote on social channels.

I’ll promote our SlideShare to our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles. In addition, I’ll publish it to our LinkedIn Company Page. On Twitter, I’ll look to see who tweeted (during the webinar) and send them “at replies” to let them know the slides are available. Posting to our Facebook page was a key step in this process – I’ll cover that later in this post.

3) Write a blog post related to the webinar.

I don’t find a literal summary of the webinar particularly useful. After all, you could flip through the slide deck or view the webinar on-demand. Instead, what I like to do is use the webinar as an opportunity to create original content. So with the slides as a “backdrop,” I author a related blog post.

I embed the SlideShare presentation within all webinar-related blog posts. And here’s where a significant “multiplier” took effect: shortly after publication on the DNN blog, the post was syndicated at Social Media Today.

An Aside: Embeds + Syndication = a Big Winner

So the secret’s out: we achieved 10,000 SlideShare views primarily via embedding the presentation and then syndicating it to a site (Social Media Today) with wide reach. Of all SlideShare views, nearly 75% came from “embeds” and over 90% of the embedded views came from Social Media Today. Page views on the Social Media Today article received a nice boost from the nearly 2,000 social shares received (as noted by summing the counts listed on the article page).

I happen to value embedded views a bit less – on the SlideShare site, the visitor arrived specifically to view your presentation. With embedded views, visitors are there to read your post and some may not see the SlideShare at all. That being said, an embedded view is better than none at all.

4) Receive endorsements.

While easier said than done, endorsements help to boost views. In our case, we received two key endorsements. The first arose from sharing the SlideShare to our 20,000+ fans on Facebook. Based on the traffic that our Facebook fans sent to our SlideShare, we were added to the “Hot on Facebook” section of the SlideShare homepage.

Next, the editors of SlideShare reviewed it and decided to list the presentation in the “Featured” section of their homepage. “Featured” has a prominent location on the SlideShare homepage, directly beneath “Top Presentations of the Day.” We made sure to share this exciting news via our social channels. Using social proof (no pun intended) helped to drive further awareness (and views) of our SlideShare:


How Attention Begets More Attention

Attention on the web can benefit from the snowball effect. The key is to get the snowball large enough so that it’ll roll. And once you find a hill that’s steep and long, you set it in motion. The key is getting “over the hump.” Once you’re there, the snowball starts to roll and there’s no stopping it after that.

1) SlideShare Likes.

SlideShare Like in LinkedIn Newsfeed

Image: a SlideShare “Like” as seen in the LinkedIn Newsfeed.

As your SlideShare receives more views, it’ll pick up a corresponding number of Likes. Once users “Like” my SlideShare, that action will appear in the Newsfeed of other SlideShare users following them. In addition, users who connect their SlideShare account to their LinkedIn account will have the “Like” appear on their LinkedIn profile. This, in turn, will appear in the Newsfeed of their LinkedIn Connections.

2) Shares on SlideShare.

Similarly, social shares from your SlideShare (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest) promote your presentation to an whole new audience. If an influential Twitter user tweeted your SlideShare to her 10,000 followers, your presentation could receive 100 instantaneous views.

3) We’re all drawn to popular items.

I think it’s human nature to be drawn to popular items. When we pass a busy restaurant, we’re apt to wait in line for 1 hour to get a table. When we pass a restaurant with no tables occupied, we’re afraid to become their only customer.

When I scan the “Featured” presentations on the SlideShare homepage, my eyes are naturally drawn to those with the most views. Sure, the title is important, but if a presentation has 10,000 views, that signals an endorsement of sorts (from others).

How to Hit The Mark on SlideShare


Photo credit: Flickr user modenadude via photopin cc

I try to kill two birds with one stone when I assemble a webinar presentation: as I create each slide, I try to optimize it for SlideShare at the same time. I could always go back (after the webinar) and re-work the deck for SlideShare, but I’ve come to realize that optimizing the deck for SlideShare also creates a more effective webinar.

1) Pick a hot topic.

I subscribe to 50+ sites (via feedly) on marketing, social media, SEO and more. Of late, it’s challenging to get through a feedly session without 10+ posts with “content marketing” in the title. So the timing was good for us: a webinar and slide deck on content marketing was sure to get some attention.

2) Use decent visuals.

If you have a designer available, take advantage of that. If not, you can assemble graphics and visuals on your own, but pay attention to design. You may have the most useful content in the world, but poor visual design can compromise both credibility and attention.

3) Optimize for “productive scanning.”

People don’t read blogs, they scan blogs. If you’ve gotten this far in this post, I bet you’ve scanned this post’s headlines, rather than reading each and every word (thank you very much, if I’m wrong about this).

SlideShare takes blog reading to an even skimmier level: visitors can flip through the deck quickly and find key points they can take away. So make your SlideShares easily scannable and use each slide as an opportunity to deliver actionable advice. The more wisdom you can impart, the higher likelihood of gaining a Share or Like.

4) Include useful hyperlinks.

When I do research for a webinar, I’ll often find useful articles that inform my presentation. I like to include links to those articles, both to give credit (to the source) and provide viewers with a place to receive more detailed information. When you upload your presentation to SlideShare, confirm that all of the PowerPoint hyperlinks are functional within your SlideShare.

Conclusion

Incorporate SlideShare into your content marketing mix! Use it to widen the reach of your content. There’s 60 million monthly visitors out there: make it easy for them to find you via compelling content.

In closing, I’ll note that we upgraded to SlideShare PRO. Because of all of the views we were getting, we wanted to use the lead capture feature of PRO to invite viewers to contact us for more information on our products (review SlideShare’s premium plans).

And Here’s the SlideShare.

In order to gain even more views of our SlideShare, I’m embedding it below for your viewing pleasure.

Note: originally published on the DNN Software blog.


Stand Out From the Crowd with Unique Content Marketing

October 5, 2013

Photo credit: Flickr user theirhistory via photopin cc

Introduction

A recently published report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs noted that 93% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing. Let’s hope you’re not a part of the 7%. With such a high rate of content marketing adoption, competition is fierce. Not only is your content “up against” your direct competitors; you’re also fighting for attention against all other B2B marketers.

Let’s say your content is about marketing automation, while another piece of content is about Hadoop. If your reader chooses to read the Hadoop article and forgets to return to your marketing automation piece, then you’ve “lost” that mini-battle. In this piece, I’ll cover tactics you can use to stand out from the crowd. Since everyone’s doing content marketing, you need to attract attention by being unique.

Create a perpetual motion machine of content.

Consider the top content marketers. They’ll publish multiple times per week on their blog (some may even most multiple times per day). They’ll create new videos, white papers, eBooks and webinars each and every month. They publish so much content that readers can’t even keep up (and that’s OK). And, they don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

Marketers who create a perpetual motion machine of content are unique. And it’s this uniqueness that creates a sustainable advantage for them. Consistently churning out high quality content is not something competitors can easily copy.

Vary your content formats.

Good content marketers re-purpose their content. Great content marketers vary with a purpose. You’ll want to take that webinar and create multiple pieces of content from it: a Slideshare, a podcast, a white paper, a few blog postings (and a little bit of gravy to go on top).

But don’t pigeonhole yourself into a fixed set of media. If you’ve been doing webinars and blog postings for years, plan to do something completely different next quarter. How about a video-based comedy skit? Or a bus tour to visit customers? Maybe doing your next eBook in the form of an audio download (with 25% set to music)?

Marketo did a coloring book. Have a read through this Social Media B2B piece for more on that (and others).

Surprise people.

Each day at work, I either wear khakis or cargo pants (depending on how formal I feel like dressing). I pair a dress shirt with the khakis and a T-shirt with the cargo pants. What if I wore a suit and tie into the office? I’d be noticed and I’d receive comments from at least half of my co-workers (the other half would just think I’m unusual).

If people always expect you to do one thing, then do something completely different, to create attention. So do something that your audience isn’t expecting. Give them free product for a week. Write about a topic you’ve never covered before. Publish something that’s completely unrelated to your business.

Take a stand.

Rand Fishkin, Founder and CEO of Moz, took a stand against Google. By suppressing keyword data on organic search queries (but preserving that data for Google AdWords customers), Google is abusing its monopolistic position, according to Fishkin.

The statement from Fishkin drew a lot of attention. In fact, HubSpot’s Dan Lyons published a blog post with details of Fishkin’s stand, which he (Fishkin) communicated via video (you can find the video embedded in this Moz post).

Fishkin didn’t stop by just taking a stand, however. The bulk of his video informed marketers about how to adapt to Google’s changes. He provided a number of useful tips on how to work around “Not Provided” to infer some of the same data that we used to receive from Google.

So don’t just take a stand for the sake of it. Take your stand, then provide useful information related to it.

Produce and publish long form, ungated content.

Give us useful, in-depth content and “put it out there” for all to see. You’ll still need to produce gated white papers (to drive new leads), but add ungated content to your editorial calendar. A representative from Google once said, “we encourage original, high-quality content, since that’s what’s best for web users.” If your high-quality content is behind a registration page, then Google (and many others) will never see it.

Long form content is a golden opportunity right now: the field is wide open for you to produce useful content that both readers and search engines will love.

For info on how to produce in-depth content, have a look at these two resources:

  1. Search Engine Watch: A Great Strategy to Create In-Depth Evergreen Content
  2. Copyblogger: How to Write the In-Depth Articles that Google Loves

Finally, here are recent examples I’ve come across that are both in-depth and high-quality:

  1. KISSmetrics: How to Regain Lost Traffic with These Remarketing Strategies
  2. Buffer: 7 Big Facebook Changes You Should Know About for a Better Facebook Strategy
  3. Social Media Examiner: Content Marketing: How to Attract People With Content
  4. TOPO: Sales and the Buyer: Why Sales Misunderstands the Buyer
  5. Copyblogger: How a Stay-at-Home Mom Built a Million-Dollar Business

Conclusion

With 93% of B2B marketers doing content marketing, the bar has been raised. It’s no longer enough to produce content. In addition, it’s no longer enough to produce quality content. You need quality plus uniqueness to reach today’s reader. Are you ready to think differently?

Related Webinar

I presented a webinar titled “Content Marketing: 10 Tips in 30 Minutes.” Visit the webinar detail page to view the on-demand replay. In addition, you may view the webinar slides below.

Originally published on the DNN Software blog.


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