In the PR world, a trip to Content Marketing World is kind of like being a kid in a candy store: So many good speakers and sessions, it’s hard to decide which ones to choose!
A few of our team members attended the conference in Cleveland last week to soak up as much content marketing knowledge as possible, and then report back to the rest of us. Their insights were so good, we thought we’d share a few with you, too:
- Simon Sinek is everywhere (or, content marketing is not for everyone). Simon Sinek didn’t actually attend the conference, but so much of what we heard was inspired by one question: Why? Why are you doing content marketing? Why does it matter? Why will your customers care? Say you’re a paper towel brand (an actual example discussed at the conference). Why would you invest in creating content that builds relationships with your customers when at the end of the day all they want is a coupon? Don’t just jump into content marketing because everyone else is – ask yourself why you’re doing it and if it will actually drive meaningful business outcomes.
- Lead with your audience. Too many brands create content that they like, or that they think their customers would be interested in. They create the content, and then go find a place to use it. A smarter strategy? Reverse the process. Understand what your customers are asking for first, and then answer through meaningful content.
- Document your strategy. Well, create one first. Then document it. Circulate it. Get sign off from every stakeholder. And then execute, measure, tweak, repeat. Only 32 percent of B2B content marketers have a documented strategy – insane! If you’re going to invest in content marketing, think before you act. Outline what you will do, but also what you will not do (both pieces of the strategy are equally important). Remember, your goals should reflect two different things: Business outcomes AND customer satisfaction.
- Repurpose content, but do it with purpose. One of the best things we heard at the conference came from Jay Acunzo: “If something succeeds, don’t do more like it. Do more with it.” This theme carried through multiple sessions: Start with one big idea (e.g., an e-book, podcast or Slideshare), and if it resonates with your audience, tweak it to fit other mediums (e.g., turn it into an infographic or bite-sized social media posts, or create a series of blog posts expanding on it). However, don’t just vomit it everywhere at once because you can. Have a distribution strategy that builds momentum, and make sure to focus on the when, not just the where.
- Re-think ROI. Everyone wants to know how to justify content marketing, so they try to measure the ROI of individual campaigns: How many clicks did one specific post drive? How many sign ups from a certain campaign led to conversions? In reality, focusing too heavily on direct ROI of individual assets discourages innovation and encourages safe, underperforming bets. Instead, it’s the collection of assets – not just the one post – that truly provides value.