Throw a rock and you’ll hit a marketer talking about content marketing (please note that our Legal friends advise that you don’t try this at home). Much like social media has matured over the last five years, content marketing is still maturing and everyone is trying to understand and harness the power of useful, relevant, and valuable content.
The problem is, you will never have enough content. Ever. As our products and services change, so do our prospects and customers. You may have totally new personas to market towards in a year. The funnel may have an extra stage that needs content. The days of spray and pray marketing are over. We, as prospects, are too smart for that now. We want what we want. I don’t care what someone else wants. To that point, Nielsen recently found that 74% of customers are frustrated that web content doesn’t map to their interests. This is a problem for us as marketers.
If we aren’t the best teachers providing the most educational value, one of our competitors will step up and fill that need. That means they’ll get the business too.
Recently, Marcus and I joined up to do a webinar to walk through 10 ways you can create more content today to be the most helpful and effective teacher in your industry. That should be our goal as content marketers – provide relevant and valuable content to individuals. We’ve taken those ideas and stories and turned them into an ebook with more detail to help you create more content now. You don’t need a new hire or more budget, but hard work, some elbow grease and maybe a slightly different view of what content you should be creating.
Here is a recap:
1. Brainstorm with entire staff on questions they hear every day. “They Ask, You Answer”- Ask your friends in Sales, Support, Account Management and Marketing how many questions they get asked per day. Odds are – several dozen questions are answered every day. In many cases, the questions are answered in great detail since they usually involve a customer or a prospect. But, most of this happens on the phone or via email exchange and then you move on to the next one.
Have a brainstorm session with all of your colleagues and write down all of the questions they can recall answering. For each of these questions, you should create a piece of content. For most folks, this results in hundreds of blog posts from “content” that was happening every single day.
Marcus shared a great example from Des Williams who runs a lighting and landscaping company. After reading a blog post about this technique, he sat down and came up with 70 questions in less than an hour. Below is an actual picture of the end result. Assuming that Des and team answer one question per week on their blog, that gives them fresh, relevant content for almost a year and a half. This isn’t rocket science, but something that most of us never get around to doing.
2. Interview your colleagues and partners- While we’re on the topic of tapping into the expertise of your co-workers, another useful way to create more content is to interview them. Literally. Compile a list of questions (or take the resulting ones from the tip above) and let everyone pick what they’d like to answer. Set up a camera or book a videographer to join you in the office for a couple of hours. Invite a couple of partners to participate as well.
The end result will be some quality video content that can be used as is or edited to include whatever you’d like to add – intro, outro, links, etc. These videos are great content assets because you can use them on YouTube, Vimeo and your website. Take a little bit of time or spend a little bit of money and you can transcribe all of the answers and turn each into a text blog post with an embedded video. For a few hours of work, you’ll have a heap of content to use as you see fit.
Here’s an example of how Compendium, now part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud, did that. You can see a consistent background in the office and lots of folks chiming in on questions around content marketing. This happened in two hours.
Another way to do this is to have someone interview an expert on camera. You may have a colleague with deep expertise and knowledge that you can talk about instead of trying to have them type it out or write it down. Marcus helped The Hybrid Shop do this by interview extremely smart folks about hybrid vehicles and all of the questions around them. This results in a natural conversation that is very relevant for anyone considering buying a hybrid vehicle.
3. Have a Content Marketing Workshop- According to Content Marketing Institute, only 34% of CMOs feel like they have an effective content marketing strategy.
The reason many companies have problems when it comes to this shared vision, culture and buy-in comes down to a lack of understanding of 3 essential questions:
▪What is content marketing?
▪How is it done effectively?
▪Why should each individual within the company be a part of it?
When it comes down to it, companies that take the time and effort to ensure their staff (content marketing participants) can clearly articulate the answers to these three questions will, in a very high percentage of the cases, experience exceptional results.
4. Interview your customers- We talked about interviewing your peers earlier, but don’t forget to tap into the advocates you already have – your customers. Depending on the study, most research shows that more than 70% of people online consult reviews or ratings before a purchase.
Giving your customers a platform to share their experience benefits everyone – your customer, your prospects, and you.
Find a way to get in a room with your most passionate customers and get out of the way. Let them talk. Ask questions. Understand how they use your product. What was the Sales process like? What results are they seeing? Why did they pick you?
There should be tons of questions you’d love to have answers to and this is the best way to get them. Build strong rapport with your advocates and find ways to help them too. Shorten the video as needed, post it on your site and video sharing sites, and include a link to their website (with their approval of course). You’ll be well on your way to providing valuable information to your prospects and further enhancing the experience of your customers.
5. Host your first company blogathon- One content exercise that Marcus encourages is a company blogathon. Think of it as an all hands on deck content creation session. They can be customized to fit each company and their goals, but let’s take a look at how Kirk Drake, CEO of Ongoing Operations structured and ran their first blogathon and see how it worked for his business.
Kirk took three steps towards creating more content with his entire company.
Those three simple steps led to more than 100 quality blog posts. In less than one week enough content was created to publish two blog posts per week for the entire year. Customers and prospects of Ongoing Operations will now have new content to consume each week with answers to their most frequent questions.
When Kirk was asked how this impacted his business, it was rather monumental. By his estimates, this contributed $500,000 to $1,000,000 in year one.
Let’s recap…90 minutes per day per employee for three days led to almost $1,000,000 in revenue. This is something any company can do! Now go!
For more content inspiration tips, check out the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Content Marketing.