5 Steps to Feed the Content Beast

by Contributor on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 in Content Marketing

Editor's Note: Today’s blog post comes courtesy of Candyce Edelen, CEO of PropelGrowth, a B2B financial services marketing firm in Princeton, NJ. She works primarily with financial technology firms to refine their integrated marketing strategy and content marketing programs, helping them facilitate the customer buying process. Candyce has spent the last 14 years in financial services, particularly in the area of securities trading and investment banking.

For most marketers, creating enough content to support each stage of the buying cycle is an overwhelming task. If you’re using marketing automation for lead nurturing, then I’m certain you’ve faced the ravenous content beast.

If you’re selling sophisticated products to a sophisticated target audience, then you’re probably facing the dual challenge of limited budget and limited access to subject matter expertise, making it difficult  to generate enough quality content to successfully nurture leads over time.

If you’re in this situation, you absolutely must “Use Every Part of the Buffalo” to help generate sufficient quantities of high quality content. Below is a strategy that will help your team create the kind of content your audience needs AND cost-effectively keep your content beast well-fed.  I like to call this the “Buffalo Strategy.”  Essentially, you leverage a process of creating premium thought leadership content to also create enough derivatives to support a 6-12 month nurturing program.

Step 1:  Pick a Strong Topic
A buffalo content strategy involves a substantial investment of budget and resources, so it’s worthwhile to spend some time picking the right theme, topics, and angle for your story.

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Selecting a compelling thought leadership topic that is relevant to your audience’s business needs is the most important ingredient for a successful buffalo strategy. The topic must be educational and evergreen – the subject matter should be just as relevant and timely in 12 months as it is today. Make sure your angle and storyline are tightly aligned both with your customer’s needs or goals and with your offering’s core capabilities. Be careful that the content doesn’t set customer expectations too high. It should address customer pain points without overselling your company’s capabilities. Otherwise, you could be setting up your sales team with demand that is impossible to meet with your current offering.

Step 2:  Leverage Premium Content for a Better ROI
An Ascend2 study revealed that premium content, such as research reports, white papers, eBooks, and webinars are most effective at generating qualified leads. But these types of content are also the most difficult and expensive to produce.

Lacking both internal resources and subject matter expertise, many marketers outsource the production of premium content. Unfortunately, this leaves them with little visibility into the research and content creation process, preventing them from being able to repurpose insights gathered in the research process for other derivative content (i.e. articles, podcasts, blog posts, etc.).  In addition, during the drafting process, much content is deleted because it’s determined off topic or is making the final work product too long. The content that gets deleted could easily be repurposed into blog posts and ancillary articles.

To get the most value out of your premium content investment, partner with a firm that involves your marketing team at each stage of content development, shares the results of research and notes from interviews, or otherwise is able to craft derivative pieces (i.e. blog posts, email copy, articles, podcasts, press releases, etc.) for you based on their work creating the core white paper or report. This way, you get the most mileage out of your premium content.

Step 3:  Begin with the End in Mind
Before you start creating the premium content, document your strategy and plan your overall program. We like to prepare a complete 6 month nurturing plan incorporating a core research report and derivative articles, blog posts, webinars, live events, emails, landing pages, etc. before we get started. Knowing what you’ll need to create before you start the research process allows you to spot opportunities for derivative content as you go. For example, each customer interview can be leveraged for several blog posts.

Step 4:  Incorporate Clear Calls to Action
Create your premium content and all other derivative pieces before you launch the campaign. This way you can anticipate and incorporate clear calls to action and won’t be left scrambling to create content at the last minute to support your lead nurturing and blogging programs.

Each piece of content you create should include clear calls to action and a links to the next relevant piece of content in your buffalo series. This will keep your audience engaged, allowing you to tell your story over time.

Step 5:  Tell Your Story Over Time
Your customers are inundated with tons of emails and other information daily. So, it’s wise to not overwhelm them with too much content all at once. A better approach is to spread out your content delivery over a six-month period. This allows you to reinforce your messaging and tell the story over time, in small, bite-sized chunks.

Using a Buffalo Strategy Delivers Better ROI
With marketing budgets dwindling and employee resources stretched thin, companies are seeking new ways to feed the content beast. Using a strategic content marketing plan, such as the buffalo strategy, that is designed to let no tidbit of information go unused is a great way to get the maximum return out of your content investment.

For more information on using content marketing for driving lead conversions in a cost-effective way, listen to PropelGrowth’s webinar, “Feeding the Content Beast Without Blowing Your Budget” or check out the corresponding white paper.

 

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