Fit for (re)purpose: does your old web content meet your current goals?

By Tony Faccenda, Senior Content Manager

You can tell a lot about a business by its online content back catalogue. Skipping back from the polished assets promoted on its latest landing page, you can get a sense of how that company’s focus and priorities have evolved.

Having a strong bank of content shows a sense of purpose. Your business has thought deeply about the topics, trends and issues surrounding its industry, and has invested in producing something practical, thought provoking and informative to help its audience navigate the choppy waters.

No sooner have you pressed the ‘publish’ button, however, and your content ceases to be as fresh and thrilling as it was on day one. The spike in traffic it attracts slowly dissipates and falls mercy to the gods of SEO for its on-going value. That is, at least, until it’s repurposed.

The case for repurposing

Repurposing can be a great way to quench your audience’s thirst for content at speed. By definition, repurposing is distinct from simply reusing. You will still need to review old assets and refresh to remove any reference that pegs it to a particular time and to account for any dramatic changes in the market.

Your content remains relevant as long as it continues to attract attention and solve your customers’ pain points. Allowing old content to fall to the annals of your online category makes it less accessible to those that need it. Repurposing gives you a new opportunity to give it a marketing boost and make sure the information is reaching the right audience.

This approach can be particularly effective should the content find renewed relevance by tying in with a current news event or emerging trend.

The case against

Repurposing is, however, not always the magic bullet for filling your content funnel, particularly for content intended to attract new site visitors. Well-written and informative content has a habit of finding its way into the right hands. Peer sharing helps to build momentum behind an asset, improving its search visibility for those in need. If your content didn’t hit this goal the first time around, don’t expect it to on the second go.

Furthermore, repurposing content can often compromise quality. As your business evolves so does its personality and brand proposition. It’s natural to look back on whitepapers or videos from three or four years ago with a degree of discomfort. Trying to reconcile that former self with your current brand identity can be a tricky gulf to bridge.

The decision to repurpose therefore shouldn’t be taken lightly. Ideally, it will only be reserved for your most popular and evergreen pieces that already have had success in the market and would benefit from an update or refresh.

Trying to reconfigure it out

In many cases, you will find the greatest success not in repurposing content but in reconfiguring. The difference is nuanced, but an important one to understand.

Reconfiguring entails conceptualising an entirely new piece of content that matches with precisely what your business wants to be saying to the market. Then, rather than starting with a blank page, going back through your past content to pick out the ideas, arguments and proof points that support the new proposition.

The end result? A fresh asset that aligns with your current brand, appeals to new visitors and tells your existing audience something they don’t already know.

 

If you’d like more killer tips on how you can repurpose your old content, get in touch with our team.

How to create a content plan from scratch

Every company wants to publish some form of content, be it blogs or case studies promoting the great work they’ve done for customers through to more meaty information like whitepapers and research reports.

For some businesses this is easy: they’re overloaded with great stories, and the biggest issue they face is choosing which ones to tell to the world. But for most, knowing what content they need, what it looks like, and how it portrays them as a business is really difficult. And it’s vitally important to have a strategy in place to ensure the content you create is relevant, interesting and says something new.

We recently began working with a company that had vast expertise in their field of business – we’re talking more than two decades of selling their technology product. They had produced some blog content, but it wasn’t focused or targeted enough for them to attract potential customers. So they turned to us to help them devise a content plan that encapsulated what they were about as a brand and was compelling enough to attract potential new customers. Together, we’ve developed a strategy that will fuel their content pipeline for months to come.

Based on this experience, here’s our guide to understanding how to go from nothing to a basic content plan.

1. Understand your audience

This sounds simplistic, but it’s a fundamental first step. For example, the first task we carried out with our client was to hold a workshop that brought together their key execs and product managers to help us gain an understanding of their customers’ company profile and the the kinds of job roles they wanted to target.

You may think you already know this, but it’s key to establishing the types of content assets you’ll create. You may also discover surprising results when it comes to who your potential customers are and the kind of content that will appeal to them.

2. Identify your targets’ pain points

It’s all too easy – and painfully common – for businesses to talk about their strengths – especially when it comes to technology vendors. But the reality is that no-one’s interested in reading about how great your new product line is, regardless of how innovative, cutting-edge or unique it is.

Instead, you need to consider the key issues your target customers are facing, the pain points they are suffering, and how your technology or product solves them. You should consider why the business would come to you to solve these problems, how you make their lives easier, and what you do for them that they couldn’t do or don’t want to do for themselves. Beyond that, identify whether there are industry-wide issues blighting businesses that your company is best positioned to rectify.

3. Map out your messaging

Anyone who’s ever been for a job interview will understand how difficult it can be to talk about yourself. Convert that into a business environment and it can be a really tough task to succinctly put into words how you want to be perceived by prospects.

But this is, of course, a really important stage in the process. Nailing down how you want your organisation to be perceived is important to establishing a tone of voice for your brand. This begins with composing statements that define what you stand for, a company mission and vision and the unique value propositions that truly make you stand out from the rest.

It’s also important to map out what you’re looking to achieve with your content, be it for thought leadership opportunities, showcasing your brand’s expertise, attracting new staff or simply to educate people.

4. Content formats

With your messaging in the bag, the next big decision is how you want it to be presented. It’s not simply a case of thinking “blogs are quick and easy, let’s pump out some blogs,” but rather considering what kind of content connects with the people you want to target.

It’s key to formulate a strategy that will help you achieve this. For example, with our client we devised a few different blog topics that fed into a longer-form piece of content. The longer item – an infopaper – contained more practical, actionable advice towards which the blog laid a trail of breadcrumbs.

5. Consider your competitors

Auditing your competitors’ content and analysing what they’re saying isn’t cheating, it’s really important to understanding your content opportunity, trends in the marketplace and what good content looks like. Look at what your competitors are doing well, identify any gaps in their messages, the language they’re using, content formats they are or are not using, and topics they aren’t covering – and capitalise on it.

6. Get writing

Wait, hold on a moment. Before you put pen to paper – or rather, fingertips to keyboard – it’s really helpful to map out what content you want to create, and when and how you’re going to publish it. Furthermore, it’s vital to have the foundations in place, so consider where your content is going to be hosted, how you’re going to drive people to it, how it’s going to be presented, and whether you then need to create landing pages to host it and social content to promote it. Suddenly, that 500-word blog looks a whole lot more complicated.

Now you’re ready to go, it’s time to bring your ideas to life. But creating the content is usually easier said than done. It can take a while to fine-tune your style to ensure you’re speaking to your audience in a manner that appeals to them and reflects your desired brand voice.

The first draft is very rarely the final draft, so don’t be afraid of trial and error, tweaking messages and trying new ideas. However, the old adage of ‘too many cooks can spoil the broth’ very much applies to content creation, so ensure there aren’t too many stakeholders bringing different ideas and try to get everyone on the same page when it comes to what you want your content to say and achieve.

Are you ready to embark on your brand content journey? Get in touch to find out how we can help!

5 Ways to Ideate out of a Creative Rut

Have you ever found yourself in a creative rut? Overcoming the mental block can be a tough challenge. We’ve put together 5 ideas to inspire and bring your creative concepts to life.

Watch this short video to help find your creative flow again.

THREE LESSONS LEARNED TO TRANSFORM YOUR MARKETING

Marketing is a changing landscape. It’s been taken by technology and blasted into space as automation and creativity drive its progression. However, many still fail to understand the evolution. I attended Inbound 2017 in Boston last week, HubSpot’s stellar marketing and sales event (check out my blog’s from day one, two and three). The event focused on how businesses can scale and succeed against the competition and highlighted some of the mistakes businesses still make.

A host of speakers (including former First Lady, Michelle Obama; sports entertainment superstar, John Cena; the founders of HubSpot, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah; and CEO of Moz, Rand Fishkin) covered a broad range of topics. Yet all had recurring themes: businesses will only grow if they connect with their audience, have an original and authentic voice, and become truly customer-centric.

Here are my three key lessons to help take your marketing to the next level:

Be emotive

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

Us humans have been telling stories for thousands of years. From the original writings to hieroglyphics. From the great Greek poets to printed novels. From digital eBooks to videos. It’s in our DNA to tell and listen to stories.

Why? Because storytelling is a powerful tool. As a business, it’s arguably the most powerful tool you have at your disposal. It can drive the emotional connection between your business and your customers. And emotions are what drive decision-making.

Market leaders in every industry create an emotional connection with their audience. If they are a cyber-security company, they don’t sell a piece of software; they sell the dream of empowering a business or person to operate online without risk. If they are a technology device company, they don’t sell a device; they sell the possibilities the device brings to the table.

Every piece of content, whether video or written, needs to have ‘human connection’ in mind. Statistics and product features are great, but they must be dotted in around the customer story.

 

Be authentic

Customers are hit by an avalanche of corporate advertising and content. They don’t pay attention to the vast majority of it anymore.

The worst thing for a business to do is to be like the competition. The key to successful marketing is to be original, creative and bold. Let’s face it, churning out generic blog content and emails just because the competition does isn’t going to resonate with your audience. It might look like you are active, but to drive engagement, you need to be pushing the boundaries.

It’s important for businesses to have a unique voice and mission. Doing so will drive more honest, transparent communications and cut through the noise to improve customer trust and, more importantly, customer acquisition/retention. I’m not talking about re-inventing the wheel. I’m talking about knowing exactly what you do, what your business can do differently, and how your customers can benefit.

 

 

Be customer-centric

Industry disruptors have raised the customer experience bar, meaning today’s customers demand excellent service, every time. That means communicating with them in a timely way, with messaging that is relevant, on a channel of their choice. Whether via email, social media, telephone or chat, it should be a seamless experience.

Additionally, customers should be at the heart of marketing. In fact, they should be at the core of the business. Being authentic and emotive is all about operating with the customer in mind. Know who your audience is. Know what their pains are. Help them solve it.

One of my favourite quotes from Inbound was from the HubSpot founders: ‘Delighted customers not only pay you, but market for you’. Food for thought? Then: ‘Your customers are a better marketing tool than anything else you own’. Keep that in mind.

Too many businesses focus on churning out blog posts and email campaigns, but not enough about creating lasting relationships with their audience. When I first got to Inbound, I was a little sceptical at first. But, think about it. What do the likes of Uber, Apple, Airbnb and Netflix all have in common? They focus on how they sell, rather than what they sell.

The Boston-based event was both inspirational and educational. It’s easy to see why. The speakers were a mix of market-leading experts and rousing keynotes, while Boston Massachusetts itself has served as the home of some of the biggest businesses in the world. Facebook was founded there. TripAdvisor, Gillette, New Balance, Dunkin’ Donuts and Converse too. And HubSpot, of course, was founded and still has its HQ in Boston.

 

 

Remember, the future of marketing in bold. The future of marketing is beautiful.

INBOUND 17: ‘HOW DO YOU CREATE AUTHENTICITY? WITH PASSION.’

The last day of Inbound 2017 has come around thick and fast. Over the last three days, I’ve heard from some of the most inspirational people in our industry who have hammered home how the future of marketing and business is changing.

Playing safe is not something to be encouraged. It is clear that to really make an impact today, it’s time to push the boundaries. For B2B businesses, that means a change in what they might be used to. It’s not about selling products; it’s about selling a revolutionary vision and empowering people. That’s the difference between a transactional (so old school) and an emotional message.

Here are my favourite moments from day three:

‘How do you create authenticity? With passion. It has to be real’ – John Cena

Finishing the day was the keynote from John Cena and, to be honest, I didn’t expect too much. I was pleasantly surprised. John Cena, for those who don’t know, is a global superstar. He’s the face of WWE wrestling, an actor, a rapper, and a campaigner for noble causes. He’s also incredibly switched on when it comes to business. As a man who has been at the top of the sports entertainment industry for over 15 years, he’s also an incredibly accomplished brand marketer.

His keynote was based on five basic questions he thinks all business professionals should ask themselves: ‘What does your company do? What do you do? Who is your audience? Do you ask enough questions? Do you love what you do?’

Sounds simple, right? And it is simple. However, as he pointed out, there are so many instances when the above questions are answered incorrectly. I’ve seen it. For example, one person in a company thinks their business does something completely different to another (it’s common in tech businesses). A strong business identity is needed to ensure all understand its vision.

John Cena believes his success is mainly around knowing his audience. Despite managerial pressure, he adapted early in his career because he saw a change in his audience. He took note, dropped his original persona, remodelled himself to fit what the newer, family audience wanted, and the rest is history.

It’s a simple question, but I still see so many businesses failing to understand who their audience is. Can you answer those five questions confidently?

‘Remember that marketing is the pulse of the business. Anything you do that’s well thought out, aligns with the goals of the company and has metrics that can be measured is a net positive’ – Ryan Macinnis, Voysis

My second highlight was about how businesses can scale their marketing effectively, without extra budget. We all want to do more with less, so this particularly piqued my interest.

Ryan MacInnis outlined some free ideas to help drive early stage metrics (increase site traffic, grow leads, own more market share, help close more deals, etc.). Here they are:

Build a plan around marketing moments’. This could be anything from your CEO appearing on a panel, a podcast going live, a new product announcement or a brand announcement. Once these moments have been identified, think about a content strategy and map around them.

Help sales close more deals with one pagers, case studies and battle decks. Partner with market leaders and customers to become the go-to business’. A simple way to boost metrics is to focus on how your content can help drive sales and awareness. Case studies are a great (and free) way to achieve this. Additionally, adding logos of your clients is an easy way to quickly boost credibility. Prospects want to know why clients work with you and how you empower them.

Partners should also be utilised. Build upon the relationships you have by producing partner content, such as an ebook or blog. If your partner has a bigger audience, it’s an easy way to increase brand awareness. As an extra bonus, your partner should promote that content for you. Mentions and backlinks are invaluable.

‘Write support documents about problems customers and prospects are having.’ This goes back to the general theme of thinking about your customers. Identify their pain points and provide solutions. Whether it’s a particular theme, a new feature or a set of common problems, support documents can quickly become a regular source of inbound traffic. They’ll also build credibility and trust!

After three months, see how your awareness metrics have changed. If they haven’t, understand why – is it a lack of content? Or is it a lack of creativity? At six months, you can then measure leads and customers (revenue, net new leads).

‘Continually optimise to see what works best with your audience’ – Michael Harf, Aquaspresso

Will Facebook work for my B2B business? It’s a question I’ve heard countless times. Michael Harf tackled the question and ruled conclusively in the favour of Facebook. Facebook is definitely not dead for B2B brands. In fact, it’s underused. Firstly, he debunked four myths:

Facebook is only for B2C

Facebook is just about brand awareness

My customers aren’t on Facebook

If it were effective, everyone in B2B would be doing it

All wrong! When done right, Facebook can be a powerful weapon in your armoury. Here are three tips to help:

Use Facebook lead adverts if you don’t have a big customer base already. Start with a wide net, and then filter down to an engaged audience. Target a warmer audience (anyone who has liked, shared or commented on the original lead advert) with a conversion advert.

Utilise interest and behaviour groups. Create an ad and choose your objective (lead gen or conversions). Set your demographics and then select relevant interest groups. For example, ‘marketing technology’ or ‘business’. You can also try targeting the person, rather than interests. Try Facebook page admins, CEOs, founders, premium credit card owners, those who own an Apple device, etc.

Remarket to past visitors (the easiest of them all as the audience will already know you).

Embrace Facebook, rather than cast it aside as merely a B2C tool.

To wrap it up, here is a final quote I liked from today:

‘We are entering a visual revolution. We now make purchase decisions not only on function but also on aesthetics. If it looks good, we click it’ – Nadya Khoja, Venngage.

It’s been a memorable three days here at Inbound 2017, rounded off when we bumped into the co-founder of HubSpot, Dharmesh Shah. I can confirm he’s a great guy! Check out his keynote from day one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GavdzT01_nU&t=32s

For more on day three check out our video recap below. Additionally, find out what happened on day’s one and two.

INBOUND 17: ‘DON’T EMBRACE THE FUTURE, CHARGE INTO IT.’

After a motivational and inspirational day one at Inbound 2017, I had high hopes for day two. Particularly since it began with a keynote Q&A from Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama was everything I hoped she’d be: funny, inspirational, strong and emotive. However (and I will come back to her), from a business perspective, it was Bozoma Saint John (Uber’s Chief Brand Officer) and Larry Kim (Wordstream founder and Mobile Monkey CEO) who stole the show for me.

There’s been a common theme throughout the conference. Modern marketing must be emotive and original. Today was no different.

Here’s my Inbound 2017 day two highlights:

Brands are people. They have personalities, perspectives, feelings and a future’ – Bozoma Saint John, Uber

“I want to make sure that my existence here changes the course for the future of diversity and inclusion.” A strong start from the Chief Brand Officer of Uber! She’s at the top of the game. Her CV (including Apple and PepsiCo) speaks for itself. And her latest task is turning Uber into a brand that people love as much as Apple.

She says that she has begun that by starting with human emotion. ‘It’s what drives us to be our best selves’, she said. It’s what drives our decision-making. Brands that excel make us feel something, like empowerment or inspiration. She wants Uber to become the most dependable way to take customers home.

Her message is powerful but simple: ‘As a brand marketer, my goal is to feel a commonality with an audience.

‘98% of marketing efforts go nowhere’ – Larry Kim, Mobile Monkey

My second highlight was the session with Larry Kim, founder of Wordstream and current CEO of Mobile Monkey. His session was about getting great results across every marketing channel, or as he called it, ‘unicorn marketing’.

He began with a story about a test he did last year. He wrote 300 blog posts and then measured them. Only eight performed well (he called these ‘unicorns’), the others were ‘donkeys’. These eight stories generated over 60% of his overall traffic.

Larry Kim’s story had a purpose. He wanted to showcase that when you find a ‘unicorn’, you have to jump on board and row as fast as you can! Why? Because top performing content boosts engagement rates. Higher engagement rates mean lower cost per engagement on social channels (and improved visibility as social algorithms reward engaging content), more click-throughs and openings on email (which, in turn, positively effects spam filters), and better conversion rates. The message is clear – promote quality content.

So, what does he suggest? Find the top 3 campaigns and then rework them. If a piece of content did well on one medium, it would likely do well on another. Turn it into another piece of content on another channel (byline article, social post, video, infographic, etc.). Alternatively, do a follow-up story, which explores the topic in greater detail. Or, a webinar on the subject and, if the webinar goes well, rinse and repeat. His theory on ‘unicorn marketing’ is simple: less work, but better results.

As he said, ‘85% of the value of your marketing campaigns comes from 5% of the campaigns’.

‘A repeat of a winning campaign will always outperform a new campaign.’

People are exposed to adverts every 2.7 seconds they are awake’ – Jeff Rosenblum

Interruptive adverts no longer work the way they used to. People are exposed to ads every 2.7 seconds they are awake, and receive 5000 brand messages per day. It’s overload. Jeff Rosenblum spoke about the changing face of customer engagement. Spoiler alert – it’s been a common theme throughout this conference.

He discussed a neuroscience experiment called ‘repetition suppression’, which highlights how today’s audiences simply ‘turn off’ when repeatedly faced with a brand message. As the above stat shows, this is happening way too much.

What, then, is the solution? ‘Fighting friction is a better way’. This is when businesses focus on helping people fulfil their hopes, dreams and aspirations. ‘It’s about improving lives one small step at a time’. What he means is businesses shifting from transactional relationships to emotional ones.

He describes the benefits of this pretty nicely:

Emotional relationships are irrational in the most positive of ways. An emotional audience interacts with the brand like it’s their best friend, and this relationship produces the most irrational results.

This session hammered home, once more, the point about creating immersive stories. It isn’t about injecting products into the story. If you weren’t convinced and still think you should focus on ‘product, product and more product’:

‘Brands who focus on empowering people outperform the competition by 8x.

Here are a couple more quotes I related to:

People are numb to something that doesn’t break the rules’ – Brit Marling, actresses, writer and producer

‘Regular content marketing doesn’t always work. You need to learn how to stand out. Share what’s unique to your business’ – Garrett Moon, CoSchedule

‘Businesses who have lost their way communicate like zombies. What’s the most common zombie trait? Being indistinguishable from competitors and losing identity’ – Julie Lellis, Elon University

I’ll end my day two recap where I started: The incredible Michelle Obama.

I was so engrossed during her Q&A that I barely noticed the time. However, a few things stuck and I think us marketers can all learn some valuable lessons from her:

‘If you’re going to lead, lead with grace and compassion.’

‘Don’t embrace the future, charge into it.’

‘A dark time is probably the most important period of growth you’ll ever have.’

‘Understand that each failure and crushing blow only makes you stronger.’

‘Have exceptional empathy.’

‘Stop, breathe, think, and reflect.’

‘Be authentic and stay true to yourself.’

Stay tuned for day three tomorrow and check out our video recap for more highlights.

 

 

INBOUND 17: COURAGEOUS CREATIVITY IS CONTAGIOUS.

It’s day one of Inbound 2017, the marketing and sales event designed to inspire, educate, connect and transform businesses today. Held in Boston, it’s visited by over 20,000 professionals from all corners of the world, from all industries, and this year I am lucky enough to be attending.

Today has been a whirlwind of information and inspiration. I’ve seen and heard a ton of great tips and tricks from the industries leading professionals, but some particularly stood out. Here’s my roundup of the best bits:

‘Play creates trust’ – Piera Gelardi, Refinery29.

The opening keynote was from the inspirational co-founder of Refinery29, Piera Gelardi. She’s a woman who fights the status quo. Who champions creativity and empowerment. Who doesn’t ‘fight the systems that exist, but creates new ones’.

And she believes that creativity, the lifeblood of our profession, stems from courage – the courage to know our strengths and weaknesses and never stop growing.

There were some key themes running throughout her keynote. Firstly, the power of knowing who you are and staying true to your values. Secondly, the importance of knowing what works for you, and how laughter brings out brilliance. And thirdly, why we should embrace the uncomfortable and combat frustration with imagination. Reframing problems to unlock solutions.

She also came out with my quote of the day: ‘courageous creativity is contagious’.

‘Emotive stories drive action’ – Lisa Gerber, Big Leap Creative

‘Aren’t we all trying to figure out how to get people who have never heard of us to go through the buyer journey?’

Story, when done effectively, does exactly this. As a content marketer, you can probably understand why this was my favourite session of the day. Having worked with numerous clients to produce a vast range of content, I truly believe that effective storytelling is one of the most powerful allies a business can have in the marketing journey. Unfortunately, I think too few appreciate its real value.

Too many focus on churning out blog posts and making sure an email campaign goes live, but not enough on the people behind it. As Lisa Gerber puts it, a story should be the ‘connective tissue’.

‘Start with facts and figures, but end with an emotive connection. Put yourself in the mind of the buyer and match the story to the buyer journey.’

As a content conjurer, this point stood out. ‘Stories carry more information than facts and data’. While facts and data are important and needed to back things up, a story that influences action mixes them with emotion. Unfortunately, and regularly in the B2B industry, businesses so frequently leave out the human connection piece.

‘Starting is easier than ever. Scaling is harder than ever’ – Brian Halligan, HubSpot

Finishing off my roundup is the keynote from HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah – two guys who coined the term ‘Inbound Marketing’. Brian quickly highlighted a key point: When it comes to (buzzword alert!) customer experience, ‘delighted customers not only pay you, but market for you’. Food for thought. ‘Your customers are a better marketing tool than anything else you own’. Pretty punchy, right?

He went on to look at customer experience industry disrupters: Uber, Apple and Netflix. They have three things in common:

1) They are more about how they sell than what they sell.
2) A light touch and automation beats a heavy touch and humans.
3) Word of mouth is 10x more valuable than the word of a seller.

Given the importance of customer experience on growth, I think many businesses can learn from these points.

‘Whenever a billion people do anything, it’s time to pay attention’ – Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot

Dharmesh then began to discuss the stages of HubSpot’s marketing funnel: attract, engage, delight. He believes these must be thought of as a continuous cycle, rather than linear stages. And, at the very heart of that cycle is a marketing automation platform.

Additionally, he examined content creation. Many businesses have become obsessed with content creation, but forget to add value. Given the abundance of corporate content filling the internet, I totally agree. His tip? Double down on content and focus on quality rather than quantity.

Lastly, he wants businesses to engage with customers ‘however they want, whenever they want, with whatever they want’. If they tweet you, tweet back. If they Facebook you, Facebook back. If they email you, email back. It is the age of omnichannel customer experience, after all.

Talking of Facebook, these statistics are staggering: There are now 1.2 billion Facebook Messenger users (300 million more than last year). And, astonishingly, 1 billion messages a month are sent to businesses. Dharmesh believes its essential for businesses to have a presence on messenger applications. It’s hard to argue against the stats…

To finish, I’ve pulled out a few quotes that resonated from the numerous sessions today:

‘A tale well told is nature’s way of seducing us into paying attention to it’ – Lisa Cron, Wired for Story.

‘Almost 70% of customers are influenced by reviews, and they are 12x more trusted than branded content’ – Lisa Gerber, Big Leap Creative.

‘There are two types of campaign objectives – direct response and branding. The goal of direct response is to drive action. The goal of branding is to drive awareness’ – Rex Gelb, HubSpot.

Day two beckons and it begins with the keynote – former First Lady, Michelle Obama. Excited much? Yes, I am.

See our video recap here

 

 

WHY CONTENT PLAYS A KEY PART IN B2B MARKETING STRATEGY

Yes, you’ve probably heard it: ‘Content is King’. It’s overused, it’s hyperbole, it’s also resulted in a lot of bad.

WHY YOU CAN’T DO WITHOUT PERSONAS IN B2B MARKETING

You’re a B2B content marketing advocate. You totally understand that having the right information available at the right time is how we’re going to attract new prospects and help to qualify them. Buyer personas are invaluable for predicting whether your content will encourage your target prospects to click.

Ultimately, having the right content for your B2B marketing programme is a function of how well you understand your target buyers (more here on having content marketing with a purpose). Content that doesn’t connect might look great, but it won’t move the dial on performance.

To present our rationale for why buyer personas are essential, firstly, here’s the First Base definition of what a buyer persona is:

1. Personas focus on understanding the reasons WHY PEOPLE ARE LOOKING TO BUY, rather than who they are, their job title or their business profile

2. Buyer personas are needs-based. They represent a collection of people who have similar requirements – either professional or personal – and who are faced with the same challenge, or looking to solve the same issue.

Here’s why we believe buyer personas are necessary for effective content marketing:

“By understanding requirements of a buyer persona at every stage of the buyer journey we can design content and marketing programmes that meet these needs, helping buyers to self-serve towards a sale and identify themselves as a lead.”

Sounds good. In practical terms, this means you need a buyer journey for each persona involved in a B2B buying decision. In B2B there are typically multiple influencers and stakeholders involved in reaching a decision to purchase. To be effective with content strategy and marketing you need to not only have these stakeholders identified but also understand what is important to each of them – what questions do they need answers to, when and how, and how do they interact and have influence across the buyer journey. Mapping this all out becomes the basis of your content strategy – already you will be halfway to being confident your planned content assets will perform well.

No doubt you agree with the theory, so why do we think personas are critical? It’s because if you don’t get to this level of detail before you start your content, you can only effectively engage and communicate with one of your buyer personas, reducing your effectiveness in supporting a sale. Take any asset you can think of – for instance, let’s say it’s a timeline counting down what you need to do, by when, to achieve compliance. For a persona driven by the need to tick the compliance box, it might make perfect sense and solves his issue, but he’s not the only person you need to engage in this purchase. Your content probably won’t explain how to look beyond ticking the compliance box which would better engage a big thinking persona, and it likely doesn’t cover the detail on how to operationalise the key steps and minimise business impact for a day-to-day efficiency-focused persona.

Hopefully that helps explain it a little. Just by having these personas in the picture, you can look holistically at planning the right content, message and format for each segment of your audience. Then you can begin plotting assets along the buyer journey to ensure you cover all the players from beginning to end of the process.

Good content always starts with good strategy. It takes time to get to the point where you’re sure your content will work – typically, there’s a degree of trial and error and iteration involved with developing content that optimises performance. As a side-tip, if you are going for a big budget content piece or programme, consider de-risking whether it will work with a pilot campaign. Try out your messages and CTAs in social and maybe some social PPC to see whether it’s getting noticed before you get down the line with commissioning and production.

For more information on customising your personas and giving your sales and marketing teams the tools to move the content marketing dial, get in touch for a chat at hello@hitfirstbase.com.

INCORPORATING VLOGGING INTO YOUR CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY

Want to start a video content marketing strategy but not sure where to start? Start a vlog.

Video is one of the most engaging forms of content. Four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it[1], and companies are increasingly integrating it into their content strategy. However you may be stuck on what video content to create, and if this is the case then you may want to consider vlogging.

What is a vlog?

A vlog (video blog) is a blog that contains video content.

So a vlog can really be anything you want it to be, but the overall premise is to make a story out of things that are going on at your business. This means it is a process of documenting rather than having to plan out and create a story.

How do I create one?

Creating a vlog is quite an easy process; you could have a member of your team walk around the office with a camera or smartphone to give your customers an insight into how you work and what you do. This gives your clients a personal and relatable connection with you and your company. This new connection will allow you to reach new prospects or spark interest in customers that may have otherwise become disengaged.

Engagement

A vlog is a very easy way of driving engagement as you can make your marketing more personable, and if it is something you haven’t done before, people will ask you questions. This is fantastic for your clients, who can see into your business more and understand more about your product or service. Consumers of today like to see transparency and human faces in brands, and having a vlog is an incredibly effective way to do this.

Other types of videos you could make

Client testimonials

Instead of writing a testimonial, try getting your clients to speak on camera about their experience. This will be far more engaging and give your audience a much better idea of how you work and the experience your client has had with you.

Q&A’s

Question and Answer videos are one of the best tools for engagement, as your clients will get to enquire about all sorts of industry specific topics and will receive a more personalised answer with the response.

Meet the Team

To build trust and empathy with your brand, adding faces and people to associate with it can be done with this type of video. Capture a different member of your team on video each week, introduce them and let them talk about the job that they do.

Day in the life of “x”

This can be shot in a similar way to a ‘Meet the Team’ style video, but you could always mix it up to add more variety and have more content. Follow a member of your staff round for a day to see what they get up to and how they work. People from all industries like seeing how other people work, and you can often get a few tips and tricks along the way.

Top Tips/Blog Style

One of the easiest types of videos involve converting your regular written blog posts into video form. Sit down with a camera in front of one of a team member and get them to speak about the topic in question. Top 5 lists and advice videos are great to make and will provide extra value to clients or prospects.

So with some ideas here on what you can create, why not get started?

If you think that you might want to use video in your content marketing but want a helping hand, drop us a line at hello@hitfirstbase.com and we can talk you through it.

 

[1] https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics?_ga=2.174862114.1603844825.1497441754-1545221559.1497267691