Yesterday I participated in a webinar on maximising your content marketing investment with Lewis PR. Given that 88% of UK marketers use content marketing* and its prominent position in our own marketing efforts I was pleased to give my thoughts. If you didn’t manage to watch the webinar, then I’ll begin with my key takeaway:
Make sure your content marketing objectives align with your overall business strategy.
A content strategy that does not tie back into your business is wasting your time (and money!). Are you developing content to raise brand awareness, increase engagement with your target audience, increase conversion, enhance SEO, generate sales leads or to become a thought leader? If you do not have these questions front of mind when devising your content marketing strategy then you won’t have the focus of direction to be successful.
Content marketing at Adobe: CMO.com
One of the big challenges that we were faced with at Adobe several years ago was that everyone knew Adobe for the Creative side of the business but there was much less familiarity with the Marketing side. We launched CMO.com with the primary goal of improving Adobe Brand Leadership Position in Digital Marketing.
We wanted to create a premier destination for digital marketing insights, expertise & conversation. Become a must-visit resource for “help & how to” guidance in going digital. Instill a preference for Adobe – for both our products and POV. Establish CMO.com as a best practice for content marketing and showcase of Adobe technology.
Right from the very beginning, we were very clear that this was not about ‘selling’ but rather about providing inspirational content as well as help and advice for senior marketers. This clarity of purpose helps enormously when thinking about the tone of voice, how frequently you will publish content, content formats and channels, the in-house experts you have to use as content contributors and the key metrics you will measure against.
Tailor your content to your target audience
To help inform your content strategy, think about your target audience; map your buyer personas and customer journey. Think about demographics, buyer behaviour, habits, interests, and so on, and how you want them to interact and engage with your content. In order to become more relevant to our European audience, we introduced CMO Europe, a European edition of the site featuring news from across Europe.
There is no escaping the fact that managing the content is really challenging. It’s imperative that the site remains dynamic with fresh, interesting content. You will need to decide if it’s more cost effective for you to manage the content marketing in-house – in which case who will lead on this? — or outsource the day-to-day content production and optimisation.
When we started out with CMO.com it was much different than today and it was an entirely curated site. There was no original content except maybe an occasional blog or two that our editor would write, but it was purely curated content from mostly the main media sites; sites like MediaPost and AdAge and we did that for quite some time just to get off the ground. And then slowly, we began to sort of morph into a content creator as well as a content curator.
We hired former journalists to write content for CMO.com who had the experience to filter out the right sort of content for the audience. Even with some in-house resources, unless you have the budget to recruit an army of writers, you will need to find alternative sources for content.
This is where your community comes in! There tends to be individuals who are willing to contribute content. The more we have established our credibility and reputation, the more demand we have found for people to contribute their content. CMO.com has become a platform for smart marketers.
Your content strategy should also be informed by competitor research. How can you deliver something different to your competitors? How frequently are they producing content and which channels are they using? One of our key objectives was to build close relationships with the Chief Marketing Officer. Just because we owned the site CMO.com, it didn’t mean CMO’s would automatically flock to the site! What we did recognize was that CMO’s were interested in connecting when you asked them to talk about themselves! So, a regular feature has been the CMO.com Interview which involves sitting down with a Senior Marketing Executive and interviewing them on a relevant subject. We have interviewed hundreds of CMO’s and Senior Marketing Executives and these content pieces have proven incredibly valuable in supporting our overall business objectives. The Sales team certainly get interested when they see that we have interviewed the CMO from one of their customers or potential customers!
Don’t stand still
One last point to make here is that you should be regularly reviewing and updating your content strategy in line with key trends and developments, to ensure you are maximising your investment.
* Content Marketing in the United Kingdom: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends, Content Marketing Institute