Learn how to define and plan your content marketing strategy, consistently execute that plan, and measure your ROI!
In Part 2 of this Content Marketing webinar series we also shared a few case studies and looked at our 2014 predictions. In this post we share the entire transcript and recorded version of the webinar. Due to technical difficulties, the introductory portion was cut off so we added the copy and static slides, then posted the recording where it picks up. So be sure to scroll all the way down to view it!
Strategies for Successful Content Marketing (Part 2)
Transcript, slides, and video!
First, I wanted to tell you a bit about your presenters today.
Again, my name is Brent Gleeson and I am Co-founder and CMO here at IMI. I manage all aspects of IMI’s branding and marketing initiatives and thought leadership strategies. I have an undergraduate degree in finance from Southern Methodist University, studied English and History at Oxford University, and have a graduate degree from University of San Diego. I contribute regularly to Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur. Prior to my time as a digital marketer I spent five years as a Navy SEAL on ST5 with combat tours in Iraq and Africa.
We also have two of IMI’s highly acclaimed award-winning thought leaders joining us today as our expert panelists, Justin Goodman and Philip Mastroianni.
Justin Goodman is a Digital Marketing Analyst at IMI, based in San Diego. He is passionate about data-driven analytics and His specialty is turning multi-attribution analytics into actionable insights. Justin has more than six years’ experience in digital marketing and Google Analytics. He has individual qualification certificates for Google Analytics and AdWords. He has also been the Google analytics trainer for all IMI employees and many IMI Clients. Justin graduated from San Diego State University with a BS in marketing and an emphasis in integrated marketing communications. He has returned to his alma mater to talk to the current students about digital marketing.
Philip Mastroianni is a Digital Account Strategist at Internet Marketing Inc. (IMI), based in San Diego. He is passionate about growing clients revenue through strategic marketing efforts. His specialty is creating and optimizing web properties for the best conversion rates.
Philip has more than 12 years in the internet marketing field. His diverse background includes web developer and manager, university professor, content production manager, and most currently digital account strategist.
Philip holds a BA in Communications (emphasis in radio/tv/film) with a minor in criminal justice. He spends his spare time with his wife and daughter exploring Southern California.
In Part 1, we did an overview of what content marketing is all about, showed some statistics and trends, and discussed the overall process. Today we are going to get into the really interesting stuff that will give you some solid takeaways for your 2014 content marketing efforts.
We will cover the importance of having a well defined strategy, planning ahead using content calendars, why promotion and distribution is the most important element in the process, show methods and tools for measuring ROI, look at some case studies, provide our 2014 predictions, and end with a panel discussion.
Content Marketing Strategy – Who Has One?
All studies point to the fact that companies that enter 2014 with a documented content marketing strategy, the appropriate investment in human and financial capital, and a process for measuring ROI will have a significant advantage over brands and marketers that don’t. A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute shows that half of B2B content marketers still don’t have a documented strategy but know they need on. The same study showed similar results for B2C brands.
Content Marketing Strategy – Challenges
The key challenges that most organizations face are generally resource focused. Businesses doing it right are making content marketing a vital business module with dedicated resources and budget, which helps to overcome many of the obstacles shown in this graph. Creating high quality original content on a regular basis is not easy by any means, and if you recall from Part 1, we showed data proving that there is a direct correlation between data that takes more time and investment to create and the positive impact that content has on ROI.
You can also see that 37% of respondents on this survey showed that a lack of internal contributors was a key challenge which is why 62% of brands are outsourcing some or all of their content marketing implementation.
And then of course, not having a clear strategy is certainly at the top of the list. Like any effective marketing plan, setting goals and defining KPI’s at the beginning will aid you in defining what to measure and how to measure it…we’ll be getting more into that in a few minutes.
Webinar Video & Transcript!
Successful content marketing strategies require a philosophy we referred to in the SEAL teams as the 7 P’s [proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance]. One of the simple ways to plan ahead is to use a content calendar so that your content is aligned with your predetermined goals and can support all of the sales and marketing strategies you have planned.
As we have discussed, content marketing takes rhythm and consistency, and all of the key stakeholders need to be aligned with what’s coming down the pipe so they can plan accordingly.
There are some great tools you can use to stay organized. There are software platforms like Idio and Kapost that help with planning and automation, but you can keep it more simple and cost effective in the beginning by using WordPress’s editorial calendar plugin or just a simple Google docs spreadsheet. I recommend segmenting your calendar into separate tabs for your different types of content: blogs, premium content like whitepapers, infographics and video, social media posts, email newsletters, etc.
To keep the team on track you can use project management software like Basecamp where you can assign To Do’s, Due dates, and track all team communication. All of these things combined will assist you in providing appropriate content to your current and potential customers through all stages of the buying cycle.
Vehicles For Promotions & Distribution
Now we want to focus on the most critical element of content marketing. Distribution is a key component to any content marketing strategy that aims to deliver positive business results. By proactively managing the distribution process, marketers will be able to reach the largest potential audience for each piece of content. Distribution, whether executed through paid or unpaid channels will increase visibility which will organically fuel social shares and search rankings.
A recent Forrester survey showed that more than 85% of marketers publish branded content but only 36% feel they are doing it effectively due to resources and lack of proper distribution strategies.
This report also showed that most content marketing initiatives hit that perverbial wall due to: (1) Great content going undiscovered; (2) content creation being overshadowed by distribution and promotion; (3) and an excessive focus on sales support…meaning that too much emphasis is placed on “deal closing” later stage content and not enough on content geared towards initial engagement.
There are many ways to promote and distribute content. Naturally you need to leverage your website, social media pages, landing pages, and microsites as key platforms. You can also reach out to influencial bloggers and journalists, build relationships with them, and incentivize them to promote your branded content. Then, to be more proactive, you should leverage paid media like PPC, display, email marketing, and various automation tools to expand your reach.
Paid VS Organic Distribution
This Forrester report that focused on putting distribution at the heart of the strategy also made the point of building organic distribution by investing in paid distribution like we just discussed. Paid channels like SEM, Display, Email, and Social ads will get your content in front of more people thereby fueling the natural sharing of that content over time.
For example, we often run PPC ads and retargeting banners that direct the user back to a blog post with an infographic or a landing page with a free eBook. That paid investment further expands the natural sharing of the content.
Analytics, Tools, & Measuring ROI
Now we get to the other crucial piece to proving the value of your content marketing investment, measuring it’s effectiveness and ROI. At the end of the day the person writing the check is going to want to know what the company is getting out of all of this. Are we reaching a wider audience, are we fueling our social media and thought leadership efforts, and most importantly are we generating more traffic and quality leads?
You can break measurement down into three categories: visibility (views for example), relevance (shares, likes, links), and profitability (sales, brand lift, etc.). We are going to dive deeper into this during the panel discussion but I wanted t touch on a few points before we take a look at some case studies.
The first step in measurement is goal setting. Let’s assume the core goal is two-fold, retaining current customers, and generating more sales leads. Identifying these high level goals will help determine what types of content you need and when. Retention content will vary from content that engages new potential customers, and some can be used for both.
Tracking & Measuring Your Potential Audience & Their Engagement
Another way to take a more granular look at your potential audience through analytics is to break it down by distribution channels and compare the available audience per channel to the engagement rate you are receiving in each. This will also help you understand what types of content are resonating with the audiences in each channel.
Case Study: TimeLife – Bella NutriPro Juicer [VIEW FULL CASE STUDY]
OK, now I’d like to take a look a few case studies that will help you better understand how to put all the pieces together. This is a project we worked on with TimeLife to promote the new Bella NutriPro juicer.
The main goal was to increase brand advocacy and product sales through content marketing combined with a blogger outreach strategy. We wanted to increase brand awareness, direct traffic from social sites and blogs, and boost organic search rankings through increase inbound link acquisition.
We worked with the client to create some really compelling content that we felt would be shared by influencers. We then leveraged software programs like Cision to identify these influencial bloggers, reached out to them, and engaged them in our plan for promotion. And the results were fantastic!
Case Study: Pens.com
Here is another great case study for National Pen, otherwise known as Pens.com, one of the largest sellers of personalized pens and promotional products worldwide. As part of their overall SEO strategy, we have an ongoing content marketing piece that has had an amazing. This is an example of just one of the infographics we created and promoted for them.
The goal is to increase pageviews, direct traffic, and improved organic search rankings in order to sell more product. The topic of this fun piece was “What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?” Let’s take a look at some of the results.
The piece was extremely popular and picked up by hundreds of top blog sites many with domain authority over 90 and page ranks between 8 and 10. In the first month of its release we increased page views by over 38,000 with an average time on site of 5 minutes.
The piece also ranked number 1 on Visual.ly and had hundreds of thousands of social shares. The end result was a dramatic improvement in organic search rankings and direct traffic which boosted sales.
2014 Trends & Predictions
Now I’d like to shift into some content marketing trends for 2014 and IMI’s own predictions for how this strategy will progress next year. We already know that this is a hot topic on the marketing list for 2014. A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute showed that 93% of respondents plan to use content marketing next year, and as we showed previously, most brands and marketers plan to increase the amount of content they produce.
Here is another survey by the Content Marketing Institute showing the top content marketing tactics brands and marketers will be using in 2014. You can see here that the top still include the popular channels such as social media, blogs and articles on the brand’s website, email newsletters, live events, case studies, webinar, inforgraphics etc.
IMI’s Top Content Marketing Predictions for 2014
- Social channels will continue to dominate as top vehicles for distributing content with an emphasis on Pinterest, Instagram, Slideshare, and Google+
- Mobile friendly content and responsive design will be imperative
- SEO and social signals will continue to become more closely related
- Many companies will make content strategy a formal business module with dedicated resources
- Content marketers will deploy between 10 and 15 different content marketing tactics as part of an integrated strategy
- Key metrics will be an increase in website traffic and sales lead qualification
- Many companies will attempt to automate their content marketing efforts, whether those efforts will be successful or not remains to be seen.
In 2014, have a strategy, invest the proper resources, and maximize your content marketing efforts to drive sales!