Everyone is talking about content marketing. The effort going into creating campaigns is phenomenal, yet many fail when it comes to maximising content marketing. At TechTarget’s ROI Summit in June, content was a big part of many discussions and their own content strategists shared the latest thoughts on maximising content to increase return on investment.
What was clear is that B2B content isn’t just about white papers. Pushing your content further and harder is essential, which is why stripping and ripping is key.
Driving the campaign forward is a common problem
We spoke to a prospect the other day who has created a seven month content campaign that includes releasing four to five pieces of content every month over the campaign period. The pieces are a range of SlideShares, white papers and guides. That’s a huge investment in content production (I’ll let you do the math) and so they were speaking to us about maximising their content marketing campaign.
What’s interesting though, is that distribution and promotion is often overlooked. The content is created and then left sitting on the shelf, getting lonely through lack of downloads or interactions. After the initial flurry of activity, you’re onto the next project and previous content is often forgotten. The campaign performance begins to drop, targets get missed and pipeline under performs.
When maximising content marketing, you need a sustained injection of campaign promotion to push the content out and drive the traffic back into the supporting campaign microsite, landing page or website.
Good content marketing is as much about creation as distribution
A white paper (well, quite a chunky white paper) is the gift that keeps on giving. A good distribution campaign can easily last 6 months and with a really solid piece of content, leads should trickle in even years later.
Getting that campaign going is easy, but keeping it alive for the full 6 months is tough. It takes persistence, sweat (and maybe a few tears), stubbornness, energy and a big dollop of creativity. What’s more, you need to know if it’s working, so tracking every little bit is essential.
So, after that rather lengthy introduction, here are our top 10 essential tips for maximising content marketing for lusciously long, content campaigns. (Assumes you’ve got a chunky piece of content with at least 3,000 words, i.e. a white paper or guide).
Creating content from content
A white paper usually covers several topics, each can be broken down into a blog post, which can then nicely introduce the main content piece. I would expect at least 5-8 blog posts from a white paper or similar.
Not everyone likes to read text, so producing your content in other formats is essential. Infographics work really with stats, telling a story or a theme and they’re visual, so can be distributed throughout the web. Not only that, they can be stripped and ripped too, creating multiple graphics for distribution across social media.
3. Create a video out of it
Videos are quick ways to consume content. When produced well they can be a valuable way to communicate your message. Plus, they’re only 2-4 minutes, bite-sized and a much easier way to consume information than a white paper.
If you have an original piece of content, video is the perfect tool to summarise that content, comment on it or highlight a certain section. It distributes well across social media and video sites too.
Taking the key messages and delivering through a podcast is another great way to push your message out. I often tend to overlook a podcast, but actually they’re great for those who prefer to listen, than read or watch.
This one is a no-brainer. Your content can easily be picked up through SlideShare and the like and all those lovely slides make great social media graphics too. Time-poor individuals will love the pithy information of a presentation.
Distribution for ongoing promotion and greater reach
6. Promotional posts
From a white paper there is likely to be a dozen quotes: sentences you can take as direct quotes and use for social media. In addition, you should be able to spin how you write your social media posts in a plethora of different ways so that you’re tweeting/sharing/posting about your content every day, multiple times per day for a long period.
Some of those posts can be text, but with social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) engagement rockets when there’s a graphic. Pull your quotes out as graphics, use stats in the graphics and create graphics for any comments or feedback.
Commission graphics too. Cartoons, illustrations and memes are another great way to draw attention to your content within the context of social media.
8. Share it
Whilst it may seem obvious, many people share it only once and then forget it. Use those graphics to share it regularly across all social platforms. LinkedIn profiles and company pages, Facebook pages, Pin it and Instagram those graphics too.
Maximising content marketing by tracking
9. Tracking to the specific item
So once the campaign is going, how do you know if it’s working? What types of post work well, how did that video perform and how much traffic came from YouTube? How did those people perform? The only way to know is through thorough campaign tracking using UTM codes within the links. So, get your spreadsheet out and get tracking.
Google has a nice tool that will build your UTM tracking codes, but you can do it in bulk with a nifty spreadsheet or tracking software.
Work out the KPIs you’re expecting and monitor them. A good response forecast is an ideal place to start and from there you can use it as a benchmark to measure your success.
KPIs should be set at the content distribution level (what messages, which content and which channels delivered the traffic, conversions and the sales pipeline). If you’re not using a marketing automation system, then you’ll manually need to pass the form data to the CRM in order to track the sales and pipeline performance of the activity. That’s worth doing so you can learn and evaluate what works for next time.
So the next time you want to create a piece of content, consider how far you can stretch it and how you can maximise your return from it.