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White Paper: 7 Steps to Better Content Marketing
Date: August, 2013 --
marketing isn’t new, it has gone through a bit of a renaissance in the last few
years and the digital era finds it becoming an increasingly sophisticated
process with potentially enormous impact. So leave aside the small irony that
in this White Paper Data Services has created content marketing about content
marketing and read on for a primer on how to make your content marketing
strategy a successful one.
marketing” is really the discipline of presenting useful information and
solutions for free as a lead generation practice, which is to say (1)
attracting the right kind of visitors to your website with the promise of
useful need-responsive information, (2) providing them with that useful and
needed information while (3) capturing their respect and trust and finally (4)
offering to making them customers.
marketing can take shape in many different forms, be they White Papers, Case
Studies, Blogs, Newsletters and more. In many cases, companies are able to
utilize more than one of these communication mediums within their outbound,
inbound, digital, social, direct and other marketing/communication initiatives.
In some ways
content marketing is very like that awe-inspiring long-form magazine ad by
David Ogilvy with three columns of information about the Rolls Royce, beginning
with the fact that at 60 miles per hour the loudest thing you can hear in the
car is the tick of the clock in the dashboard, with technical copy describing
details of the car. The headline grabs while the content teaches and convinces.
What it lacks is an on-page name-capture device, but it does list all the
dealers in the newspaper’s catchment area!
behind content marketing is a simple one: Customers are bombarded by offers in
today’s media-overloaded world and, in many cases, no longer respond to a
standard purchase offers for products and services. In short, your overt sales
messages are more and more simply being ignored by those with whom you
for this vary widely, but in many cases a consumer may simply lack familiarity
with your brand or not fully understand why it’s products/services are right
for him/her (or his/her business). Where content marketing has the potential to
really shine, is when your organization is able to leverage its expertise in
order to advise those receiving your communications on topics pertinent to your
readership. When done effectively, a successful content marketing strategy will
not only engage readers, but establish the source company as thought leaders
within the industry while educating them in a more palatable manner on the
company’s products/services. When done right, this should translate to more
inquiries and more sales.
So here is a
very condensed plan of action of a content marketing program
1. Set goals for the company’s lead
generation and traffic to the website. The goal is to use content to lure
readers to the company’s site, inspire questions and content downloads, and
2. Undertake keyword analytics exercises,
perhaps including longer phrases that potential customers would be inclined to
search on. Undertake research into effective words in social media and search
engine exercises to identify effective keywords. Internal corporate
brainstorming would be in order, especially to identify “long-tail” words and
phrases. The goal here is to understand which keywords should be highlighted
within the copy of your content marketing to increase the chances it will get
noticed by those interested in your industry or product vertical.
3. Develop, display, deploy and revise
content. Much of what you have can be repurposed. If necessary, the focus on a particular
industry or product set can be changed. Themes and subjects can be tested
within the website’s blog, newsletter and/or social media postings. The goal is
to demonstrate the company’s expertise and identify the needs of the prospects
as they perceive their needs. What do they download and what do they comment on
in your blog and other social media? What do they spend time reading? This is as much research into identifying
potential customers’ needs as it is creating an online presence.
4. Do not neglect calls to action and
links in every piece of content distributed. Capture, capture, capture and
engage, engage, engage.
5. When offering content for downloading,
test short, medium and long-form registrations to test the audience’s patience
and needs. Ask for feedback and commentary.
The more you get, the more likely you can identify needs and deepen the
conversation. On the B2B side, what corporate levels are registering? For B2C
you may track small data such as gender, age or other demographic info you’re
able to capture on the form. The conversation and the content may have to be
modified for the audience that is seeking your content.
6. As the population and the prospects’
needs become better understood, modify the messaging to personalize and refine
the targeting upstream and begin to move outward into email marketing and other
media. A corollary here is the need for a robust unified database to capture
all prospects’ interactions and the journey to that important transaction
7. As with all forms of marketing,
tracking your content strategy is of paramount importance. When content is used
within a marketing automation strategy for ongoing communications and/or lead
warming programs, an effective tracking or “lead scoring” mechanism can greatly
assist with understanding where someone is in the sales cycle. Are they just
researching or are they ready to make a purchase. Once this latter stage is
reached you may want to trigger some reaction, whether this means sending a
specific offer or prompting a sales person to reach out depends on your
This is an
exciting prospect – refocusing the website with the purpose of drawing to it
the target audience you believe you need with the promise of useful information
and intelligent discussion of solutions to that audience’s problems.
perception of the market’s needs, how those needs and solutions are perceived by
your market, the identity of the solution seekers, and the process and path
they will follow to reach you are all detectable and may turn out to be
different than you originally believed.
And so content marketing in the digital age teaches everyone something.
And can we
prove it works? Yes, we can with the testimony of the Chicago direct marketing
firm of Jacobs & Clevenger who adopted content marketing as a business
development strategy and realized the following results:
• Doubled the
number of pages on the website within 90 days
inbound visits to the website by more than 900% within 90 days
50 times more inbound leads than the prior period
the number of inbound links 8-fold in 90 days and 25-fold in 120 days
“For the last
few years, we have been telling clients that organizations which consistently
create and distribute valuable information to prospects, especially at critical
decision points in complex sales journeys, were rewarded with purchases and
long-term loyalty,” explained Ron Jacobs, CEO of Jacobs & Clevenger. “I got tired of being called out for not
doing content marketing for ourselves.
However, even I have been surprised by the results. Content marketing is another successful tool
that every direct, digital and database marketer should add to their toolbox.”
To read the
whole story click here. And since you are reading this, we suspect
you’ll find other content on their blog that will interest you.
given that this exercise is intensely data driven and data dependent, be sure
to discuss with the experts at Data Services, Inc. how effective data management
and lead scoring strategies can supercharge your content marketing and other initiatives.