Mid-morning blahs? Not if you attended one of the popular “Teach Me How” sessions at B2B 2016! These interactive talks are designed to provide marketers with real skills and solutions to take back to their businesses on Monday morning. Heidi Cohen, Chief Content Officer at Actionable Marketing Guide, put on her captain’s hat and steered her audience through a high-energy session aimed at helping them make the most out of their best content.
“Not One And Done: How To Turn A Single Marketing Asset Into Content That Keeps On Giving … and Giving … and Giving” is a long title for a talk, but this one earned it. Packed with useful tricks and tips, Heidi’s session made good on the promise to help B2B marketers get off the treadmill of endless, aimless publication for good.
The Case Against One-and-Done Content
Heidi immediately had the audience nodding in recognition as she described the endless “content marketing treadmill” of chasing social media accounts, dealing with operations and struggling to keep up with the demands of numerous platforms — not to mention the demands of their company’s executives. “70 percent of B2B content goes unused,” Heidi explained, “but it got made because an executive wanted it.”
High-quality content, on the other hand, remains relevant over time — and smart marketers will turn to it again and again for results, instead of wasting energy and resources on a quixotic quest for new content. [Tweet This]
Heidi’s 5-Step Plan
1. Set Goals
Heidi recommended drafting a content marketing mission statement to keep you focused on your goals:
We create, publish and share _____ [content] for _____ [audience] to yield _____ [benefit]. As a result, we achieve _____ [goal].
Remember that the benefits are for the customer and audience, not for your business. When you focus your content on the customer, you’ll zoom toward the ultimate goal for your business.
Once you know your goals and mission statement, Heidi made it simple to plan the rest of your life: “If the content idea doesn’t meet the mission statement criteria, it doesn’t get created.”
2. Know Audiences
Heidi pointed out that all B2B marketers would do well to remember that there are actually three segments of their audience. Customers get all the attention and effort, but your content should also work for your employees and promoters. In addition to buyer-centric product information, demos and best practices, check in with your sales team and customer service professionals to see how your content can make their lives easier. Similarly, great marketers never forget to ask what their best promoters are looking for to design content that’s ready-made for sharing.
“Get off the treadmill!” Heidi cried, reminding everyone that content development doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch when you follow these steps:
- Audit: Re-package and promote your top 10 pieces of content first. Update, re-format and optimize middling content; delete anything irrelevant. Your audit will give you a sense of what’s working and what gaps remain to be filled.
- Plan: Think like a media entity and plan your content by month so you can work ahead. Can existing content be re-worked for seasonal needs? Your calendar should include a schedule of new content as well as planned promotion and updates of evergreen content.
- Create: Make A/B testing a regular part of your content creation strategy so that you are getting constant feedback about what works. This information will help you update and enhance existing content to save you time and money. You may just need to make new versions of your content to appeal to different audiences; for example, turning a blog post into an ebook.
Heidi recommended asking one big question to direct the creation of any new content: “What one piece of data in your industry can you be known for? Leverage the research in your content!”
As you tweak content for different purposes, don’t forget to optimize it for the different groups you want to reach. Heidi listed five key audiences for B2B content to pay attention to:
- Customers: Optimize the headline for irresistible clickability!
- Social Media: Be sure to change your message to fit each platform’s best practices.
- Search: Check for appropriate keywords and links for SEO.
- Influencers: Be sure to tip off your cheerleaders to get additional support in distributing your content — let them work for you!
- Business: Make sure your CTAs and landing pages are ready to go to promote conversion.
Not everything needs to be written as if it’s gunning for an immediate sale — you’ll likely turn off some of your audiences that way. In B2B, you want to keep those readers around, so focus on subscriptions as a major goal of your content strategy.
Publish your content first on any owned media, then use social media to test performance by tweaking headlines or your CTA. Once you’re sure your content works, amplify it by promoting to influencers, third party media and via paid advertisements. When content is successful, keep distributing it. Don’t stop promoting your best stuff! Once you’ve unlocked something that really works, keep leveraging it to your advantage with smart promotion, and you’ll grow an audience that keeps coming back for more — without so much as a hint of wasted energy.
Ginna Hall is the Director of Marketing at WriterAccess. An experienced marketing writer and editor, Ginna has helped corporate, academic and non-profit organizations develop strategic messages and roll-out content that connects with audiences of all types.