I've had 4 episodes this past week that have made me reflect on the power of content marketing - assuming it is done well.
I want to share them with you and add some commentary - in case they help your thought processes to move forward. Hopefully the examples will give you some insights and tools to improve the outcomes of your content marketing program.
What this reinforced for me - you can't just "write content", and then hope. You need a strategy, you need the best tools, and you need the best tactics.
1 - Outranking God on Google
I read further - and I was educated around whether "short form content" (ie less than 500 words), was more effective than "long form content".
The washup appears to be that short form is great if you have a huge following - but as Buffer's blog has proved, long form content is invaluable when starting from scratch.
Reading through the comments - it becomes clear that the issue is not just "long" versus "short" - like all things there is a situational dependence, and that both quality and quantity of content are critical.
If we want to be successful with content marketing, we need to understand the "tactics" as well as having a "strategy". Who might have thought the length of a piece of content would have an effect on its success - clearly it does!
Folk have experimented, and figured this stuff out. Let's follow them - and not reinvent the wheel.
2 - It's not just the length that matters...
It doesn't matter how many words our content asset has - if noone wants to read/absorb it, then what's the point!
Certainly the use of keywords and other techniques to attract prospects to our content is important - but particularly for written content the headline is critical.
Cue CoSchedule, with their "headline analyzer".
This is a great interactive tool, that really makes you think about the impact your headline will have on your audience.
Are their numeric ratings valid? Doubtless there's some algorithms and science - but the tool really reinforces the need to put effort into the details of the content, to get the best audience reaction.
This flies in the face of the brigade that say that quantity of content is everything - "there must be an increase in post quality as brands try to move past clickbait and move toward quality".
3 - Why are we getting highly paid salespeople to "prospect"?
I recommend to everyone the Strategic Selling group on LinkedIn. Via John Smibert's stewardship, this group personifies what can be achieved via active moderation.
I entered into a healthy debate in a group post around finding books to assist salespeople with "prospecting".
Hmmm - "sales prospecting" - sounds fine - but when the HubSpots of the world are telling us in their 2016 State of Inbound Marketing report the following:
then I think it's time to re-evaluate whether we want highly paid sales resources approaching "cold leads".
Buyers are crying out to be educated - and as the article in the next section shows, are consuming all the content we are putting up online.
To attract them, we need content that:
- contains unique insights
- makes compelling reading
- is personalised to the buyer's persona
- differs in form, structure and topic depending on the buyer's location on their buying journey
- is the right length
- has the right title
... as well as myriad other objectives, strategies and tactics.
The "Relationship Builder" is the POOREST performing sales proile - and buyers really don't want to hear about our company, our products or our services.
They want to learn new insights - and it is on this basis that prospects should over time be introduced to our sales resources.
I was struck by one particular comment during the LinkedIn group debate.
It was along the lines of "you can't rely on the marketing department for leads - not if you want to succeed".
I'm all for sales people "making their target no matter what it takes" - but I wonder if the sales person's marketing department can't step up, maybe it's time to look for a new marketing department, or indeed a new company!
Buyers have changed how they buy - both Marketing and Sales need to change with them.
"Content" isn't the only answer - but it's a big chunk!
4 - Adding value with content
The folk at SiriusDecisions have spoken about the fact that buyers prefer to use digital resources to progress through their buyer's journey - but I think the following reveals a key tenet for a successful content marketing program:
Per the last section on "sales prospecting" - "the standard is now higher for sales to add value to the conversation, because so much information can be found online".
The days of the "walking brochure" are gone.
Our content marketing program shouldn't can't just dictate what is produced digitally, or indeed on paper, billboards, airwaves, and the like. It HAS to include the messages we need our sales resources to enunciate - when they do this - and how.
Our sales folk can't start talking with prospects "cold" - our content and lead nurturing program will provide the context to further educate.
Do you have any strategies, tools or tactics that are working wonders for your business? Let us know in the comments below.
Whether short or long content, a small or large amount of contacts, or you're starting from scratch, you always rely on content marketing strategies that work. Get a leg up on the competition with our FREE Content Marketing Action Kit.