Killer Content Q&A: Focus On Campaign, Content Development To Find Success

Published: September 23, 2015

 D034034Integrated content marketing campaigns often find success by providing buyers with a seamless journey as they educate themselves prior to making a purchase. Cox Media, for example, developed an integrated campaign that generated more than 500 downloads and over 2,000 potential leads — earning the company a Killer Content Award in 2014.

In an interview with Demand Gen Report, Cox Media’s Merrie Beth Salazar discussed how she has seen her company’s content strategy evolve since then, while sharing tips and characteristics that define award-winning content.

Demand Gen Report: What do you think it takes to make killer content?

Merrie Beth Salazar: Creating killer content takes focus. Most folks are familiar with the need to focus on the audience, understand their pain points and create timely and relevant content that lives at the intersection of what keeps your audience up at night and what your brand does better than anyone else. But there are a couple of additional areas that require the same passionate focus to take content from good to killer.

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The first is to focus on the piece itself, and how it fits into the larger story your brand is trying to tell. A lot of content marketers get stuck on the “content treadmill,” churning out piece after piece in an approach that is unfulfilling and frustrating. To create killer content, you have to consistently be mindful of how the chapter of the story you are telling through this piece ties to the others, and how they all work together to create a personality for your brand.

Take the time to read the piece you’re creating — a lot of time. Find the typos. Think about how your audience might perceive it. Say something in a way that maybe makes you uncomfortable because of its creativity. A keen eye for details is the best way to take content from good to killer.

The second focus area is the future of content development, especially when it comes to content types. It’s easy to try the new and the novel, but a more strategic analysis of what new content types are popular, but also align with the way your target consumes content is important.

DGR: How has your content evolved since winning your Finny in 2014?

Salazar: The most distinctive evolution we’ve seen is in the quantity of content we produce. Maximizing investment on content pieces by creating new formats from existing content is a key step in our strategy since 2014. We’ve pulled a series of videos from a single whitepaper to make a full tool kit, created blog posts based on interactions we’ve seen in E-books, and even rounded up ALL the holiday-focused content we’ve ever produced into one massive advent-calendar style interactive website for our clients. Repurposing existing content is a great way to bring new layers to a foundational conversation about your brand.

DGR: Cox Media won an award for “Best Creative, Integrated Campaign.” What made your campaign to stand out among the other nominees?

Salazar: I believe it was our willingness to tell the same story in many different ways. I think sometimes content creators think “oh, we did a piece about that topic last year,” then rush toward a new idea. We constantly talk about how different content types and approaches to the topic-at-hand resonate differently with the individuals we are reaching out to. Our integrated campaign took one central theme and teased it out in several different ways, allowing our audience to self-select into the messaging and content type that worked for them. And that works for us!

DGR: One of the lessons learned from your campaign was to take a prescriptive approach to help the audience apply the lessons-learned to their own situations. What other lessons have you learned since winning your Killer Content Award?

Salazar: There are more advocates within your organization than you think. Since our Killer Content Award, we’ve ramped up a full sales enablement strategy that regularly shows the work of the content marketing team to all levels of our organization. To our surprise, advocates at all levels of the organization, and from traditionally non-marketing-type roles, have been great partners in disseminating our work to their own circles of influence. We have partners in finance blogging for us, and sales teams who are the first to retweet our great content. If you take the time to show people what you’re creating, and talk to them about how it really sets your organization apart, I think most folks would be surprised who else raises their hand to help brainstorm, create and amplify your core messages.

DGR: What is one piece of advice you would share with a B2B marketer planning to nominate their company for a Killer Content Award?

Salazar: Just do it! I think many content marketers tend to be the “behind the scenes” guys — the ones that let the work speak for itself. To that end, we can be easily dissuaded from tooting our own horns. But the content marketers are some of the most thoughtful people in the industry too, understanding the balance of storytelling with analytics, and the occasional dramatic flair. Even if you think it has probably been done before, your unique perspective is something anyone could learn from.

And — as a P.S. — have your award shipped back to your office so it doesn’t break in your luggage on the way home…

Want to enter your content in this year’s competition? Click here to nominate your best work today!

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