Choosing a content scope you can work to
Before you’ve even considered what content you want to produce, you first need to understand what your scope is. Do you have the budget to create the amount of activity you require? Do you have the amount of resource to accommodate the management of your content? All this stems from your objectives or your scope. If you just want to increase your output a bit more, be a bit more visible, then it is entirely plausible that your existing team can fit this into their workload. You can plan out a few brainstorming sessions and an hour a week or so to start work on them.
However, the majority of businesses need to have a fully operational marketing team dedicated to producing content, otherwise it just isn’t cost-effective. The little time that you do spend feels fruitless because there isn’t a strategic push or there isn’t the expertise in-house to turn content into conversions. We find that particularly in the B2B space, teams are tightly controlled and creative output isn’t always the first thing on people’s list. It requires a deep level of understanding and thought to produce high quality content consistently enough to get your message across.
Generating a suite of content that highlights your proposition
Once you’ve established how you’re going to create your content and more importantly, what your objectives are for doing so, you then need to start creating. I don’t want to downplay this, it is a lot bigger than it sounds and could easily constitute a whole article in its own right. But essentially, unless you start to create your content, there isn’t much more you can do with it.
Here, you need to think about who are target audience is and what type of content they are most likely to respond to. This could be a multi-layered approach, with content that is immersive and impactful. This includes everything, from;
• High level pieces such as prezi webinars, giving you the chance to get in front of your prospects and have a conversation with them.
• Publishing lots of social activity to expand your reach and be heard
• You can also include visual discovery pieces such as guides and e-books to enhance your prospects level of understanding; business managers will always be more inclined to ‘buy in’ if they feel confident about what you’re selling
Schedule it into your prospect audience
Every piece of content that has got past point 2 is an achievement in itself. You’ve cracked the egg, but to avoid it getting on your face, you need to ‘push through’ the next five steps. It’s a road that most businesses underestimate until they are too far in. I can’t count the number of companies who have created great content and then overlooked the importance of a good implementation plan.
Is your content seasonal? Is it dependent on a core event, like an exhibition, or a webinar series. Without a key understanding of how and when you will be implementing your content strategy, you could fall foul of distributing disjointed and sporadic pieces of content that don’t speak consistently, or don’t speak in the right order. If your hard sell attention grabbing presentation link comes before your soft selling social awareness pieces, you may scare off prospects before they have bought into your proposition.
Speaking to your prospects
Releasing all your content is great and even moreso, it feels very rewarding. You can see all your content splashing around in the open sea that is the internet. But how are you going to make sure they just don’t float away like a message in a bottle? If you imagine these pieces of content merely as buoys bobbing around your business, drawing people safely in like beacons, you want to be visible when they eventually swim in.
Make sure that you have a network of people on board ready to connect and engage with your prospects. If you start getting connections, then connect back. If you are publishing content, make sure that these prospects can see you. Make sure that you are hot to identifying who is talking about you. Tracking your leads allows you to see if they are revisiting your content and builds up a picture about what products or services they like. This arms you with so much, both from a marketing perspective, but also from a sales perspective.
Keeping them involved through multiple touch points
Let’s face it, everyone likes being looked after; whether it’s being taken out for a slap up meal, or simply just catching up with friends and sharing the rounds. Nurture in this space is no different. Great businesses find ways to look after new customers, not just the existing one’s. And the problem therein is visibility. It’s not as easy to look after new customers. But with nurture, you can do just this.
Marketing Automation provides you with the ability to nurture new customers. And when a new customer is being taken through a customer journey organically, they feel wanted and the message feels true. Placing more emphasis on them here, means that your sales team don’t have to apply any aggressive tactics to win them over; simply because the nurturing has already won them over (assuming it’s strategically sound).
At this point, I’d like to remind you that content is still king here and we’re still applying the science of it. Nurturing is just a mechanic, but content is the driving force behind it. You want to make sure that your nurturing content has been planned in alongside your lead generation content back up in point 2; It all has to flow seamlessly towards your goals.
Turning them into a sales opportunity
It seems to contradict everything you thought you knew. Why would I go to all this effort when this is what I employ a sales team for? The answer to this is that one does not replace the other. Effective content compliments what your sales team are doing and an effective sales team speaks in one true voice that backs up the content.
The content can qualify your prospects as a hot lead, but your sales team are there to pick them up and take them across the final hurdle. That relationship that has been built up over a number of weeks or even months starts to come to fruition as your business starts to deliver everything that they have been preaching through strategic and consistent content marketing.
Review the quality of the lead and campaign
It would be oh so easy to head to the pub and grab this well deserved pint or glass of something. And at this point, I wouldn’t disagree, you’ve worked hard and come a long way to get to this point. But in the morning, when the sun comes out and the reality of that hard work comes to life, it’s important to understand what you can learn from your activity and what you can improve for the next one.
No-one is expecting you to be a content guru overnight. But it is important to know you’re moving forwards and improving on what you have done so far. This is the evaluation stage and we believe in it moreso than anyone. Look at your KPI’s, look at your lead conversion, understand whether your targets were on the money, or need tweaking. Ask your sales teams to assess the quality of their leads. Were they the right people, do they have the longevity to be a really valuable customer? Also, were they far enough down the buying cycle to commit?
It may be that the leads are good, but they are 6-12 months away from committing a decision. Knowing this now means you can tailor your content to redress the balance, perhaps adding more discovery pieces in, or setting up your customers to think about the importance of your proposition so that by the time they come to speaking with your sales team, their frame of mind is in the right area to close a deal.