As a content marketer, I’ve got 99 problems. But having enough content isn’t one.
My bigger challenges are:
- Making every piece of content high-quality
- Tracking and measuring the value content brings to my organization
- Trying to choose between an endless amount of fancy new technology that promises to make the content creation process more efficient
- Being pulled in a million directions (How many times have you been asked by a colleague to just “quickly this read over” today?)
If you’re a content marketer who’s not sure where to invest your time and effort, let some of the incredible speakers at this year’s Content Marketing World conference guide you. Below, I’m sharing some of the most quotable advice from CMW 2015 to inspire your content marketing strategy.
1. Create a solid strategy—not a vision
“The reason we struggle with content marketing is because we haven’t started with ‘Why?’…Customers don’t care about your vanity metrics. Ask them ‘How can I help?’”
–Kristina Halvorson, CEO and Founder, Brain Traffic
If your content marketing strategy is “Be the thought leader in our space”—I have bad news: you don’t have a strategy; you have a vision. To turn it into something concrete, your strategy needs to 1) have business outcomes and 2) boost customer satisfaction. Then, you just need to write down the measurable goals you want to achieve, and the tactics you’ll use to get there.
2. Make sure your content is working hard
If you create content to check a box or benefit your company, it probably won’t be very successful. Be passionate about every piece you write, and make sure it’s something your prospects and customers really need. The best way to find out what they want? Ask them. Or, try ‘The Mom Test’ before you publish your content. If it isn’t building connections with your customers, it isn’t doing much at all.
3. Use your content to alienate prospective buyers (seriously)
Instead of trying to reach the largest audience with your content, narrow your focus and target the people who truly need your product. Doug says being extremely honest about what your product can—and can’t—do is better than trying to be something to everyone. This way your sales team is only chasing down customers who may be a good fit. (Learn more about how “insane honesty” can help your marketing here.)
4. Do more with less
Make your most successful content go further by adapting it for other mediums—like webinars, videos, podcasts, etc. If the topic is popular on your blog, people will probably want more of it on other channels. Make refreshing and reusing content a priority so you can save time and resources.
5. Let your creative subconscious guide you
Trying to think creatively when you’re on a tight deadline is tough. That’s why creative mastermind John Cleese recommends starting projects early. If you give your subconscious more time to work out your problem, the best possible solution will come to you (no pressure necessary).
For instance, if you’re struggling to finish a piece, sleep on it and attack it first thing the next day. You’ll suddenly find you know what to do.
6. Team up with CS
If marketing and customer service team up to turn online haters into advocates, they can expect to improve the entire customer experience. Embrace complaints, and help CS wow customers with well-crafted, empathetic responses—not canned copy. You’ll build you brand, your audience and your word of mouth all in one go. After all, “CS is the new marketing,” says Jay.
7. Expand your marketing skill set
This is advice for content marketers who want to be in a strategic role in the future. Many may feel that not having a lot of experience analyzing numbers or pitching customers makes them under-qualified for executive level positions. Jeffrey says that’s not so. For instance, most salespeople’s strength lies in their storytelling skills—which content marketers have in spades.
The tasks you think you can’t handle are the ones you should dive into. Get help by building relationships with knowledgeable folks in other departments. Then use what you’ve learned to improve your content marketing strategy and contribute to your organization’s overarching goals. You may just find yourself in the C-suite someday.
8. Lighten up.
Tim Washer shared this quote in his CMW session to inspire marketers to tap into their humorous side to create better content.
Getting attention for your marketing is tough. However, nothing makes your prospects and customers more receptive to your ideas than laughter. It’s time for B2B marketers to worry less and push the envelope! It may be tough at first, but don’t let fear stifle your creativity. Think about your customers’ pain points when trying to come up with ideas. Play on their expectations and throw them a curveball.
Here’s a great example from Tim: