It was my pleasure to present to a great Australian audience earlier this week about how Content is Marketing Currency, sponsored by Citrix Online, GoToWebinar. We didn't have time to get to all the questions, so I'd like to do so now.
In case you're wondering why the place distinction, I presented a version of this webinar to a U.S. audience a few months ago. You can see their Q&A here.
Q. Can you provide the sources for the statistics you quoted during the webinar?
Most of them are linked to within the eBook the webinar is based upon. You can download a copy of Content is Marketing Currency here. [registration required]
I also used a statistic from Forrester's North American and European B2B Social Technographics Online Survey, conducted in Q1 2010, with 1,011 business decision makers in companies with more than 100 employees that found:
85% of these business professionals say they use social media for business decision making.
Q. Where do you see the future of content being positioned in a world more geared towards Social Media?
Content will become even more critical as social media becomes more prevalent. Social media participation is reliant on content. Even a 140 character Tweet is content. Most Tweets include links that lead to more content. As people spend more time online, interacting in more ways, the need for content will grow exponentially. Marketers who begin defining and developing processes to manage content marketing will be better suited to take advantage of new opportunities as they develop.
The one critical factor about positioning content in a world more geared toward social media is buyer knowledge and insight. Many marketers think buyer personas are a nice to have, not a must have. They are mistaken. The only way your content can evolve from company and product focused feeds and speeds content is if it is designed to match your buyers' perspectives about their highest priority issues.
See my post, Marketing Above the Noise, for another view of why content must be designed for buyers and tightly targeted to segments in order to drive engagement. This type of effort is what it will take to ensure your content's effectiveness in a social and digitally driven business environment.
Q. What is the 'relevance' check for updated content. i.e. If I have used one of the 8 methods to get new content ideas, how can i go back and check the relevance or positive impact it has had... can i simply connect this to analytics?
[Note: This question refers to the 8 methods of listening I discussed in the webinar. They include: Phrasing, Webinars, Blogs, Twitter Streams, LinkedIn, Bit.ly link statistics, Feedback and Content Use Analytics.]
This is a tough one to answer without knowing exactly which one of the methods you're talking about, but I'll give it a shot.
Simply stated, analytics of some kind will be necessary to validate that the changes you've made are indeed relevant to your audience. What you'll need first is to benchmark response to whatever it is you're changing first so that you can measure lift or drag against previous results.
Whatever it is that you change will dictate the type of analytics you use.
Take for example the method of listening for phrasing. Let's say you remove some formal terminology [jargon] from a content asset and replace it with terms you've identified as used by your prospects (or people like them) in social media dialogue. Then you use those terms to Tweet a link to the content.
- How many people ReTweeted your Tweet?
- How many of their followers ReTweeted them?
- How many clicks did the link get? (check your Bit.ly stats)
- How long did people stay with the content after click through? (are they bouncing, scanning or reading?)
- What did they do after they read it? (visit another page, opt-in to your blog's RSS feed or subscribe to your newsletter, etc.)
The thing to remember is that if this is a dramatic change, the adjustment in perception by your audience may take several exposures to convince them to change behavior and spend more time with your content. Consistency and sticking with it are the keys to encouraging this change.
Q. I just Googled Wordpress and found wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Which was Ardath referring to earlier?
[Note: I mentioned several blogging platforms that were affordable to prove that there's not really an argument for not embracing publishing technology.]
http://wordpress.com/ is the on-demand, hosted version of the popular blogging software.
http://wordpress.org/ is the open source version that you download and host yourself and allows for much more customization than the hosted, on-demand version.
http://www.typepad.com/ is what I use to run this blog. The pro version allowing customized templates is $8.95 per month.
Pricing and availability of publishing tools means that marketers can have easy access to the tools they need. Learning how to use the technology is a skill set that marketers must develop, along with strategies and processes for managing the content that fuels them.
Q. There's a lot of focus on online content/marketing, however where do you see offline marketing and associated content fitting in - especially given the need to track and measure effectiveness?
Offline marketing is becoming more integrated with online marketing. Examples include attendees Tweeting from conferences, seminars and workshops using the event's Twitter hashtag and personalized URLs in direct mail pieces. Both of these examples can be measured and tracked.
As print is not my specialty, I'd like to direct you to an excellent take written by Joe Pulizzi on the Junta 42 blog: 7 Reasons Print Will Make a Comeback in 2011
Q. what chain of command do companies normally follow to have the delivery teams compose valuable content (as per the guidelines given by the marketing team - i.e. after "listening")
I'm not sure there's a "normal" or standard for applying listening to content development, as of yet. What I recommend is to create what I call a Style Baseline for a specific target audience.
The baseline includes two columns - what to use, what not to use. Here's what I'm talking about:
Q: as far as publishing content is concerned, what are your views? What Comes First? The Content OR The Design of the Presentation? (i.e. i mean to ask, what comes first, the content (text) or the design (website layout, colors, alignment, etc.)
Content comes first. At least in my opinion, I'm not sure how you would know what you need for design if you don't have the content. This said, if you have branding guidelines, then you already know what your content will need to fit. Even when I create a slide deck, I have to know what story I'm telling in my presentation to be able to create the slides to establish the flow of ideas.
When I write a white paper, it's not until I have the text that I know if I'll have a need for sidebars, quotes, graphics, etc. and how many or what type of placement I'll need.
Trust me, the message is more important than the design. Both matter, but without the right content, the best design in the world won't engage your prospects.
Q. How do you make sure the client/buyer can see that you deal in a wide range of specialisations in case they ever need it, while remaining relevant?
If you deal in a "wide range of specialisations" the first thing you need to assess is which of them would apply to each segment of your prospects. Once you determine that, then you need to look at the content you've created based on a problem the prospect needs to solve. Look for crossover extensions or overlaps.
You might start by looking at the combinations of products your current customers are using - see how they work together and why the customer chose to use that array.
One way to expose this is to write in depth customer stories that showcase the main problem-to-solution scenario and then explain what caused the customer to adopt other products in addition.
If you see a prospect who's been expressing interest in one area suddenly start reading content that addresses another, priorities may have shifted. You may want to send some follow-up content on that new interest to gauge if it's a casual interest or a deeper engagement.
Just remember that if you overwhelm prospects with choices and conflicting messages, you'll lose their interest because it becomes too much work to engage with you. Keep it simple. Focus on meeting one priority at a time.