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From the Trenches

What’s Missing in Your Content Marketing Approach?

Will Davis | September 14, 2011

As you probably know by now from recent blog posts and Twitter streams, a number of our Right Source team members spent last week fully immersed in the Content Marketing World conference.  Kudos to Joe Pulizzi and his team for putting on a fantastic event – it ran so smoothly you never would have guessed this was the conference’s first year.

One session that really stood out to me was Thursday morning’s panel on “Content Marketing Metrics: Justifying Content Marketing Spending.”  The panelists addressed a topic I am passionate about – planning your content to align with buying cycles and buyer objections.   Two major points made by one of the panelists, social media and content strategist Jay Baer, were of particular interest:

Everyone’s a Publisher – and Collectively We Create Mass Amounts of Content

Jay hit the nail on the head by reminding everyone that “All companies now find themselves in two industries: the business they are actually in, and the publishing business.”  Jay just talked about this today on his own blog.  I see marketers and brands picking up on this, and agree that it’s a trend that will continue to accelerate.

Think about how much content you engage with on a daily basis and how much that has grown in the past quarter, 6 months and year.  We frequently cite a quote from Google’s Eric Schmidt that “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003” – which is still astonishing to me every time I say it.

Where the problem lies is all too often companies don’t spend much time planning their content so that it is mapped to buyer personas, needs and objections. Instead (to borrow from a South Park inspired internet meme) they take the approach of:

Step 1 – Create Content

Step 2 – ?

Step 3 – Profit

As nice as that would be, content marketing simply does not work that way.

Content – A Part of Your Sales Team

To quote Jay again, another essential aspect of content marketing is that you “need to think of content as a way of handling sales objections – and baking original content around that.”   Effective content helps move your prospects through the buying cycle by overcoming objections.

Jay also stressed that you “build the action into the content at the end, and build with the end in mind.”  I’m glad Jay pointed this out as far too often I get to the end of a piece of content and there is no next step to continue to move me through a process and get me to take an action – instead it just ends.

Viewing yourself as a publisher without taking into consideration the ultimate goal of using content to grow your business you may ultimately find that instead of being in 2 businesses (the business you are in and publishing) you are out of business because you focused all your energy on publishing any content you could.

The Critical Missing Piece (Step 2)?

It’s getting that content in front of buyers with the messages you know resonate with them based on their role/persona, place in the buying cycle and needs/objections.  And of course to effectively execute Step 2 the hard work really comes before Step 1 – proper content planning.  With a smart content plan, well written content, and the right content delivered to the right people at the right time, content marketing truly becomes one of your sales team’s most effective weapons.

Agree? Disagree? How have you aligned your content marketing strategy with your buyers? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

You can also learn more in our recent webinar, What if You Build It and They Still Don’t Come? – The Anatomy of a Content Marketing Strategy.

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