Content marketing is something we should all be doing.
But oftentimes, our kneejerk reaction is to create as much content as possible, using ideas that we think are best.
At first glance, that doesn’t sound horrible. The problem is, though, that we either quickly run out of ideas, or we end up creating content that no one really cares about.
We need to create a content production strategy that benefits both our company and those we’re trying to attract to it, our potential customers.
How can we do that?
Enter: Robert Rose, marketing guru extraordinaire.
Robert works in the education and consulting division for the Content Marketing Institute. He helps his company develop content and customer experience strategies. Companies he’s worked with include AT&T, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Allstate Insurance.
To help us save time, money, and frustration, Robert explained to me how to go beyond the basics of content marketing to the meat of the matter: Creating content that makes sense for your business.
Make Sure You Have the Right Perspective on Content Marketing
Your content should always provide value to your customers.
Now, you might think that the value your company provides is in the products or services you offer.
But here’s the truth: Content marketing is not about your company, your product, or your service. The value is in the content you provide.
Whatever sort of content you put out into the world – blogs, magazines, your website, webinars, events, etc. – it should be focused on your audience.
In order to move your marketing program forward, you need to engage your audience with amazing content that doesn’t just describe the value of your products, but just provides value in itself.
This means that your content should be entertaining, engaging, and educational. And it should speak to the needs and desires of your audience.
Quality Content Production: Dividing Your Team into 2 Important Groups
In order to make content production easier and more effective, it’s important to have two teams working on your content projects.
1. The Storytelling Team – Creating Purposeful Content
Your first team is what Robert calls the “storytelling organization,” which handles editorial and content marketing related tasks. This does not include testimonials, brochure makers, and catalogues.
This team creates content for your newsletter, blog, and/or digital magazine.
2. The Story Helping Team – Ensuring Your Content Really Hits the Mark
The second team is the “story helping organization.” This group ensures that the content created by the storytelling group is going to be seen and appeal to prospective clients.
They take care of:
Repackaging content for SEO or persona development
Packaging and promotion
Rewriting and combining a variety of pieces to make new pieces of content.
You can view this team as that which empowers the storytelling team to get their message across.
The Arbiter of Good: The Importance of Someone Who Can Say “No”
The final piece of the puzzle is to have a leader who can look at content objectively and say no when necessary.
Why do you need someone to say no to content?
Simply put – there’s too much information out there for people to process. And when we create content it’s easy to get caught up in our own little world, creating content that appeals to us instead of the client.
Never forget - Content marketing is not about us or our company. It’s about the customer and their wants, needs, and goals.
We need to create content that is going to help them trust us, engage with us, and get more value out of their relationship with us.
In the case of content production, less can be more when it’s directed at your audience. If you’re willing to publish anything and everything, your content is going to get lost in the sea of information in the world and it’s likely not going to appeal to anyone.
Viewing Your Content as a Product Changes the “How” and “Why” of Content Creation
One of the key points I took away from my conversation with Robert was to start looking at the content you produce as an actual product.
This is to be done for every type of content you want to produce, including:
A digital magazine
A resource center
A webinar program
When content becomes the product it means that:
It deserves to be promoted.
It should have its own marketing budget.
It deserves a product lifecycle, including going through value, creation, and quality assurance processes.
Treating your content as a product will benefit you in multiple ways. It will help you to:
Be more efficient
Draw in better customers
Have better insight into your product development
Draw in more revenue
The content you’re producing adds way more value to your business than something like a banner ad. Build more value into your content by treating it like a product and you’ll end up with more subscribers, customers, and event attendees who really appreciate what you’re providing for them.
Deliver Value to Your Audience and They Will Return the Favor
Something that I’ve learned over my years in marketing – particularly that of content marketing – is that value precedes money. And Robert made this point especially clear during our conversation.
He even pointed out a personal example of this philosophy in action. His company did some research and found that nine out of ten people who were willing to subscribe to their print magazine were more likely to attend webinars and paid events. They’d even bring their entire team to those events, too.
Robert’s company spends a lot of time, money, and effort into the production of these magazines – and it’s been paying off.
Wouldn’t you love to have these kinds of results?
You can! Just keep Robert’s saying in mind: “Deliver value to an audience and they will do nice things for you.”