Content Marketing Is Within Reach for Small Teams

  |  July 1, 2014   |  Comments

Marketing automation tools can help marketers amplify their precious resources to get the most out of their content marketing campaigns.

The biggest challenge in content marketing is not generating ideas on what to create. It's resources.

You need more resources for a lot of things:

  1. To create more content that will achieve your goals.
  2. To research the competition.
  3. To participate in social conversations and networks.
  4. To break down silos internally to get approvals and speed time to market. 
  5. To apply data insights from your analytics and automation tools to improve existing content, or how you place it in the lifecycle.
  6. To integrate systems.
  7. To report on your successes.
  8. To take a lunch hour.

However, even if you have a small team and big goals, there are still ways to extend your reach and impact.

In a conversation with about a dozen B2B marketers the other day during a roundtable discussion, we were all salivating over the one who has 12 people on her marketing team to create content and manage thought leadership. For the rest of us, our approach requires being a little scrappier.

Some ideas on where to get more content creation resources include:

  1. Interns
  2. Employees outside the marketing department
  3. Customers
  4. Partners
  5. Outside bloggers and influencers
  6. Your campaign management, social CRM, and automation tools.

A key to amplifying your precious resources is to make sure that you package or repurpose all the content you create. For example, if you do the work of publishing a whitepaper, turn some of the data or charts into an infographic for social channels. Be sure to pull out a few blog posts and pace them out to extend the conversation. Use the content to create a checklist for a nurturing campaign. Interview the author in a TweetChat or Linked In event. Pull out quotes for posting to social networks. Although they are a staple of B2B marketing, I suspect that no one wants to read the full whitepaper anyway; we just want the takeaways. So capitalize on that and increase the reach of every effort.

Your marketing automation tools can help with this. What starts out as an email message can be repurposed at social broadcasts and assets for dynamic Web placement. Your blog posts can quickly be turned into lead generation messages.

One key to all this is to only create content that you can use to achieve goals. While there are a lot of interesting things to write or talk about, you want to focus on the things that move the needle. That takes some discipline, which is best managed by an agreed upon set of guidelines or standards for what content will pass muster.

It could be a simple test. For example, one marketer I met uses three questions:

  1. Why write this?
  2. Why now?
  3. What action do you want someone to take?

A good thing to do is ask your customers what sort of content is most valuable to them. Behavioral data, sharing data, and search keywords are good complements to surveys. Asking your customers to contribute content will also help ensure that you are covering the issues that matter to them. Another success factor to amplifying your resources is to build collaboration across functional teams. For example, at one table could be people with different objectives and perspectives about the content you want to create and manage:

  • PR may want to consider only the investor relations or the news cycle angles.
  • Legal may be more conservative in their perception of what is necessary to engage with customers.
  • Social teams may be more interested in format than substance, and pull out aspects because they include video or visuals. This can be engaging, but may also lose some of the marketing value.
  • Marketing teams will want to use your content for lead generation, and are looking for things with strong calls to action. That may conflict with your thought leadership objectives.

It can be hard to balance all those needs and opinions. However, if you focus on creating content that resonates with your customers, then you will have data and engagement metrics to support your decisions.

How are you addressing the resources issue in your organization? Are marketing automation tools helping you, or putting pressure to produce even more content? Please advise in the comments section below.

Image via Shutterstock.

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Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller is a partner with brand and marketing technology strategy firm TopRight Partners, which helps customers use the technology they have today to do the marketing they want to do today and tomorrow. She is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable customer experiences. A digital marketing and CRM expert, she helps sophisticated marketers balance the right mix of people, process, and technology to optimize a data-driven content marketing strategy. She speaks and writes regularly and leads several industry-wide initiatives. Feedback and column ideas most welcome, to smiller AT toprightpartners DOT com or @stephanieSAM.

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