The core of content marketing’s purpose is to grow your sales opportunities, yet many marketers have a hard time connecting content with growth. Many have what is called a “hope and post” habit, in which there is a lack of cohesive strategy binding the content to a growth objective.
Laurie Fullerton discusses this gap in her article entitled, “Companies Should Get Away From ‘Hope And Post’ Content Marketing And Focus On An Earned Media Strategy.” The topic centers on the importance of a distribution strategy in lieu of a practice where content is posted without any direction or intention of specifically building the brand in a particular way.
It’s important to note that when you are developing your strategy, in content marketing, there is a critical difference between owned media and earned media:
Owned media consists of the platforms that the marketing organization owns. Included in this list are web sites, social media profiles, email accounts, media channels and your mobile site. These are the places where you intentionally post your content with the intention of reaching your target audience.
By contrast, attention from earned media is what you hope occurs as the result of posting your content on your owned media. Earned media includes shares, reposts, reviews and mentions. In short, it’s the buzz you’re looking for when you create a content marketing plan.
As Fullerton notes, it’s easy for companies to get into a pattern of producing content with a hope that it will be noticed. Marketers may desire that their brand will receive recognition and end up with earned media, but without any plan for making it happen. Without a clearly-defined distribution strategy, your content has little potential to reach earned media.
Here are a few strategies to include in your overall marketing plan for earned media distribution of your content:
Create newsworthy content. There are some clear ways to lose your audience, such as talking endlessly about how great your product is, but there are many more ways to allow your content to languish in obscurity. These include posting content that is irrelevant, that fails to engage the reader, or that doesn’t serve to solve a problem or answer a question for your audience. Posts like these tend to be overlooked.
If you produce content that draws your reader in, then solves a relevant problem or provides valuable insight, you’ll be more likely to see your efforts multiplied in earned media. You need to define your target audience, and then create content that is useful to them and that they think might be useful to others if they share, mention or repost it.
Use a variety of formats. An effective strategy for content marketing includes a distribution of content in multiple formats. Any target audience is likely to have a mix of preferred content format among its members. For instance, you may have a detail-oriented potential buyer that wants to read a full white paper on a topic, while another buyer may have little time or inclination to read a longer document, but prefers consuming content in infographic form.
Distribute strategically. Great content lies dormant in owned media if an effective distribution strategy is not developed. You need to identify the channels where your content thrives and concentrate your distribution in those platforms. For many B2B growth plans, LinkedIn provides a logical distribution channel where owned media is funneled into earned media opportunities. It’s an ideal place for this transition, because you tend to create online communities that are focused on your industry in a B2B social media environment.
Don’t miss the role of telemarketing. Current marketing trends place much of the focus on digital channels, but there are benefits to certain tried-and-true methods that offer a unique set of benefits to augment digital efforts. For instance, telemarketing presents a clear advantage over “post and hope” strategies because it relieves the problem of passively waiting to see if your content receives any attention. With telemarketing, you can post content and then engage with potential buyers on the phone to determine the effectiveness of your content. The immediate feedback informs your marketing plan for future postings.
Here are just a few of the benefits of including telemarketing in a distribution strategy designed to multiply efforts through earned media:
- Telemarketing is an effective lead-generation tool. When you incorporate telemarketing into your marketing plan, you increase the quality of your leads by determining quickly whether your B2B contact is a decision-maker, stakeholder, or even a person who is not involved with the decision/evaluation process at all, saving valuable time in the engagement cycle.
- Telemarketing produces immediate feedback about the quality and format of your content. By talking one-on-one with a potential buyer, you gain valuable information about whether the content served a need or answered a question, as well as whether it was received in their preferred format. A business contact that prefers to receive your content in an email, for instance, may be missing all of your articles that were solely posted on LinkedIn. During the same call you can gather additional critical information like budget, timing and specific business needs.
- Telemarketing encourages the development of loyalty and trust. When you post on social media, your hope is that your content initiates a conversation with potential buyers that serves to build a relationship. While this does happen over time on social media, it happens much faster with telemarketing. Engaging in a conversation with your potential buyer on the telephone serves to build trust and loyalty in a short duration of time. When you consider all the aspects of communication that happen over the phone, including reading the tone of someone’s voice and being able to clarify a point, it makes sense that telemarketing is a suitable partner for social media in a strategic distribution plan.
- Telemarketing fuels earned media attention. With the feedback you receive through telemarketing, you can immediately refine your content marketing strategies to encourage earned media attention. You’ll have a better sense of the problems and questions that need addressing in a blog, or the types of trends you should be discussing in an infographic.
Telemarketing fills the gap experienced by many companies when designing their content marketing distribution strategies. To learn more about using telemarketing in an effective growth plan that includes earned media attention, contact Blue Valley Telemarketing.