Mar 08

Content drives marketing efforts and supports all of the stages of a buying cycle.  Without high value and entertaining content, an audience won’t find you and if they do, they probably won’t care.  And therein lies the problem.  Where do you find this content? Who will write the content? Where will the content be published?

Where Does The Content Come From?

For many B2B marketers, finding subject experts to contribute content is the biggest challenge of all.  I suggest looking at these sources of content inside and outside of an organization:

  • Pre-existing content libraries from web sites, white papers, collateral
  • Product Managers
  • Product Marketing Managers
  • Executives
  • Sales Engineers
  • Trainers
  • Product Support Specialists
  • International Country Managers
  • Channel Partners
  • Customers

Content publishing is no longer the realm of the marketing communications team.  One behavioral challenge companies face is mobilizing different departments and teams to contribute content.   The sales guys want to be selling.  Executives want to be in meetings to tell subordinates what to do.  Tech support reps are answering calls and e-mails.  Why should they write blog entries, white papers, or create product demo decks or participate in a podcast interview?  Simply put their jobs will depend on it more and more. Don’t focus on one source of content for marketing campaigns and programs.  Every person within an organization has relevant nuggets of content that customers and partners will find valuable and entertaining.  This information should be shared. (Note: I’m not suggesting companies share confidential information.)  Also, get creative in re-purposing existing or older content.  Most organizations have valuable content they can reuse with some minor updates and edits.

Depending on the theme and focus of particular communication channels it might be worthwhile to have dedicated themes.  For example: One blog may focus on best practice customer interviews.  A section of the web site may focus on troubleshooting techniques for certain products.  The themes of these channels can develop specialized audiences that may otherwise be lost in a more general format.  It all depends on the desired outcomes for publishing the content.

Companies should also look outside the four walls for content as well.  Channel and distribution partners are a great source of high value content.  They can benefit by providing content on best practices, customer success stories, technical tips and tricks, vertical industry expertise and more.  Partners benefit by having their content published to the web by a third party which provides exposure and potentially benefits their organic search performance.  Customers are another great source for content.

Forms of Content

Keep the content interesting and diverse.  Avoid essay assignments that go through months of editing iterations.  The days of creating libraries of sales sheets and collateral are over.  Written content is very important and always will be.  But consider new and easy ways to publish meaningful and entertaining high value content:

  • Podcasts – there are several free podcast platforms
  • Slide videos – post recorded presentations to YouTube or Slideshare.
  • Flip videos
  • Photo essays
  • White papers
  • Webinars
  • Flash videos
  • Online Surveys

Content can come from different sources inside and outside of an organization.  Work with content contributors in a range of roles so a single source doesn’t carry the burden alone.  Make it easy to submit content.  Repurpose old content libraries with new themes.  Work with partners and customers to develop content that will provide them with valuable exposure. Find new and interesting ways to deliver the content to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.

Cheers,

BH

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