The New Marketing Machine
Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Aaron Dun – Enjoy!
“Don’t Wake Up With Your Website in a Ditch” Expand Your Content & Your Contributors to Keep Your Content Marketing Strategy Humming
As content explodes around you, if you are the only person contributing to your content marketing strategy, I hate to break it to you, but you’re going to be in trouble–just like the characters in recent television ads from DirectTV.
Between the “always on” nature of mobile, and the many interactive, online social platforms available, marketers face enormous pressure to continuously deliver compelling, cross-channel experiences to their customers, and keep them interested and engaged. Yet, most organizations, big and small, aren’t set up to optimize their content ownership, authorship, and delivery engines.
In the ongoing effort to get found faster, and to convert more suspects into prospects, companies now need to use all of their resources to publish more content, in more places, more rapidly than ever before. And if you don’t, you may wake up with your website in a ditch!”
“Don’t Fall Into a Dinner Party”
The old saying “many hands make light work” easily applies today to a company’s content marketing strategy.
It seems like content became the new hub of marketing virtually overnight. But in fact content has actually been the lynchpin of the commercial internet virtually since its inception. I suspect that even before that, the real-life inspirations of Mad Men would recognize a good story to be told, even if that story required a three martini lunch to be discovered. Consider then, what the DirectTV ads themselves say about the brand, and how they encourage engagement.
The marketing landscape has continued to evolve and old rules no longer apply – meaning the marketer’s imperative to use content to tell their brand story, and engage with potential buyers has had a dramatic impact on content strategy. There are new digital customer behaviors and expectations, increasing social channels popping up, and evolving SEO rules to abide by. Keeping up with these changes and being prepared for what’s next on the web requires a web content marketing blueprint for success.
Let’s break down this new marketing landscape to get a better understanding of these challenges so you can address them head on. Four key drivers are:
- Interactive Digital Customer: We’re living in a highly- connected world where the customer is online (mainly through mobile devices). This enables instant access to information 24/7, and offers multiple channels for formulating opinions, sharing, and influencing others via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Quora, and more. Traditional one-way blasting of messages no longer builds brand awareness. Prospects and customers expect more; they want to engage with their brands, they want to “talk back” and even challenge companies with questions and comments.
- Stiffened Competition: Social’s explosion also presents an unprecedented opportunity for businesses to connect people with brands and build relationships and engagement without being intrusive. However, because the digital era has made it easier for small businesses to look larger than life, competition has stiffened as well. Businesses are competing to capture the attention of the same shareholders in the same online channels.
- New SEO Rules: Keeping pace with evolving SEO demands presents another challenge for marketers. Google continues to change its algorithm in an attempt to help fresh, quality content shine and penalize those who do not stay current. In fact, these changes require that you shift your content marketing strategy from merely thinking about Page Rankings to how you drive inbound traffic through fresh, incisive and relevant content that engages online audiences. (Read more about the New Rules of SEO on my company’s blog.) http://www.percussion.com/community/blogs/web-content-management/20121030-content-marketing-drives-seo-results-three-themes-and-the-proof-part-2
- Complex Technology: In larger organizations, traditional web content technology bottlenecks the content marketing machine: it’s too hard to use, or the workflow process is too hard to manage, deterring those outside of marketing and IT from joining the team of contributors. If the end user feels threatened by complex technology, content delivery gets pushed back through a single resource (marketing and/or IT) to post and publish to the site. For smaller companies updating the web site ranges from the simple to the impossible depending on the skill level of the team.
“Don’t Attend Your Own Funeral as Phil Shifley”
So how does a company proceed given this laundry list of obstacles today? You’ll notice the common denominator is the need for providing good, quality content, and lots of it! This can be a daunting task, especially for smaller businesses short on resources and budgets.
However, many content savvy companies have found that by deepening their contributor bench, they can deliver better content — whether it’s articles, blog posts, video, podcasts, etc. — more quickly, and push it out to their social channels where customers are engaging.
Follow these four simple steps to ensure your scaling your content engine.
Step 1: Break Down Silos: No matter how small or how big your company, content typically exists in silos. That content may sit with one team or another, or simply a person without the time to get it online. That content just doesn’t have any impetus to become part of the company story. Your job as a savvy content marketer is to harness all of that hidden content, and bring it out into the open so you can use that content to engage with your community.
Step 1A: Break Down Silos (Again): Stop thinking of your website as discrete from your blog, or your social channels as distinct from your blog. All of those are simply channels to tell your story. If they are not synched, you are missing a huge opportunity to engage with your customers across your community.
Step 2: Enable More Internal Contributors: It’s amazing to me how many people we talk to who are perfectly content being the only person with access to post content to the site. They spend all day editing word docs and patiently explain that the challenge with more contributors has nothing to do with technology or process. People just won’t take the time to write because it seems too laborious to them. Yet, those same “non-contributors” are tweeting 5x a day, and posting 3 updates to Facebook and LinkedIn daily. Make it easy and compelling to contribute, and they will come.
Step 3: Enable More External Contributors: This is the hardest area for many to conceive—why on earth would anybody want to contribute to my blog or my site? Just ask. — There is always something in it for them like incoming links or authorship, etc. Ask your customers or others in your industry to contribute, and once they do, promote the *$%$& out of it. Most people like to see their name in lights. Why do you think I am writing this post?
Step 4: Everything is Content: Stop looking for discrete pieces of content. Start by reshaping your definition of content and you will begin to see all of the content that is around you today. Customer support calls are content, blog comments are content, photos from an event are content…and on it goes. Once you realize that all of these daily moments are in fact discrete pieces of content, you will never worry about having enough content again.
It goes without saying that in a fast-moving, content-driven, web content marketing world your technology better not get in the way. So once you have defined your content strategy, make sure your technology has the horsepower to enable more contributors and is easy enough for these new contributors to engage. Otherwise your shiny new process will careen into the same ditch as your website.
Upholding the spirit of the DirectTV ads, “Don’t let your shiny new process careen into the ditch.” Follow the four simple steps here and get your content marketing engine up and running!
Aaron is Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for Percussion Software www.percussion.com, a provider of web content management and content marketing software. He is an avid Boston sports fan, and is known to enjoy a good marketing book or two in his free time. Follow him on Twitter @ajdun. He can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.