Content makes the marketing world go ‘round. It is often one of the first ways a potential buyer is introduced to your company, so it is crucial to develop meaningful and relevant content for target audiences.
Since irrelevant content is the number one reason why consumers don’t engage with brands and companies more often, it’s vital that content marketers constantly challenge themselves to better engage with current and potential customers.
Last week, I attended Uberflip’s Content Experience event in Toronto, which put a spotlight on the importance of relevant, personalized content in the B2B landscape. At the three-day event, many industry thought leaders took the stage to teach and inspire the audience of content marketers to reinvent their strategies. Here are seven of the top takeaways I learned at #ConEx17:
1. Challenge Your Content Assumptions
During her session, Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, said 2017 is “the year to challenge our content assumptions,” including:
- Challenge what you think you know about your customers. It should no longer be about “we need a piece of content for…”, but must be more about “our customers need…”
- Challenge what you think your story is. “Look at your data and see what stories it inspires and suggests,” said Handley.
- Challenge your business innovations. “Think about what kind of innovation matters to your customer.”
2. Enhance Existing Content Assets
Just because a particular piece of content is “old” doesn’t mean it is no longer relevant. During his session, Andy Crestodina, Co-founder and Strategic Director of Orbit Media Studios, emphasized the importance of updating older content — especially assets that attracted a lot of visitors but perhaps slipped in SEO ranking. Think about which articles need more love, whether it's updating them with new stats or adding fresh commentary and quotes, and make them relevant for today.
3. Turn Your Inbox Into Content Marketing Fuel
Crestodina also highlighted an interesting way to come up with new content: look to your email inbox! Pull content from common questions, concerns and objections from sales conversations and Q&As with colleagues and peers. Whenever Crestodina is emailed a set of questions, whether it’s for commentary in a story or customer questions, he puts the email under a label to go back to it and include the information he replies with in a blog or white paper. That way he doesn’t have to completely rewrite his thoughts when it comes to creating fresh content.
4. Lose The Gated PDF Content
Bold statement, I know, but Aaron Dun, Senior VP of Marketing for SnapApp, made a thought-provoking point during his session.
“The era of developing a white paper and dropping a lead form in front of it, and expecting it to turn business in the short order is dead,” he said. “You have to find a way to lose this lead gate process, but not lose the leads.”
For a life without lead gates, marketers must think differently about how to:
- Align content and campaigns — how do those two things intertwine and intercept?
- Deliver engaging experiences that resonate.
- Score, nurture and qualify based on criteria from sales and work it into your funnel.
- Focus on getting the “next action.”
5. Become BFFs With Your Customers
“The way to achieve great content is to make friends with your customers,” said Amanda Nelson, Director of AppExchange Community Marketing at Salesforce, during her session. She suggests sending customers swag, talking to them regularly, going to events to meet them in person, and supporting their needs. “Engage customers in unique ways, they love to be a part of it. Reinvent and excite yourself because if you get excited, your customers will be excited.”
6. Video Works
Bev Jackson, VP of Social Media and Content Strategy at MGM Resorts International, took the stage at #ConEx17 to showcase how the organization elevates their guest’s experiences with fun activities, tickets to shows and passes to the hottest nightclubs, and documents them through video content to promote the brand.
The organization focuses on grabbing the viewer’s attention in the first three seconds of a video. “If they’re not hooked, they’re bored and moving on to other hotels,” said Jackson.
MGM’s video strategy focuses on trends in video, episodic content, live video on social media, influencers and KPIs. “We create a lot of videos, because video works,” she continued. “It’s sticky, brings people back and it’s fun.”
7. Fill Your Website With Testimonials
Forget the testimonials page; Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina said you should “make every page a testimonials page.” Include a relevant testimonial throughout your company website where applicable.
Crestodina also highlighted the seven things to add to every testimonial: