How do you generate customer demand by creating content? This is a topic confounding marketers, agency reps and the author of this blog for the purposes of writing a new post.
Despite this question ranking up there with “How do we stop global warming?” and “Is LeBron James better than Kobe Bryant?”, I walked undeterred into an Intelligent.ly course last week, along with one of CampusLIVE’s content crushers.
The class, “How to Generate Demand with Content Marketing,” was led by Eloqua’s VP of Content Marketing Joe Chernov and Director of Marketing Programs Elle Woulfe.
As a refresher, here’s a visual representation of content marketing, taken from an earlier post of mine:
FOUR TAKEAWAYS FROM THE COURSE
Practical Results - Still Need to Address This: While everyone is talking about “content marketing,” few people are talking about how to actually get results. One area of Eloqua’s focus is “creating demand,” so the conversation centered around how to NOT lead with your product and instead lead with interesting, relevant, cool, quality content…but still create customers. While this conversation is still nascent, content marketers can’t shy away and need to turn to both technology providers and new ways to track, counting things like views, shares, repeat interactions, engagement, etc.
The Importance of Repurposing: Creating content is time consuming, and content consumption can be fleeting. (The average Facebook post’s “half life” is nowhere near as long as the time it takes to create high quality content in most cases.) So, if you create content, find ways to break that into smaller chunks and re-post and re-distribute over time. (For instance, a list of Ten Tips and Tricks for XYZ might yield a deeper look at each of the 10. You haven’t written something all that new, but you’ve created 11 valuable posts instead of one.)
Content Begets Content: In the vein of repurposing, content you’ve created can help dictate what comes next. If a blog post succeeds, and you’ve started to repurpose that into various, smaller graphics or posts, stick with that narrative. One thing I often find helpful, for instance, is to ask after I post something, “Were there any follow-up questions someone could ask here?” If the answer is yes, I try to address those questions over time. (I first add them to Evernote with a link to the original post - it’s the most helpful way to stay organized and create a kind of checklist for future publishing).
Don’t Have Resources? Find Students: This one can cause quite a stir if not explained. The idea should NOT be to outsource your work to students. You should control content strategy and topics and positioning. However, don’t hesitate to find student writers and designers eager to build their portfolios. I was a student blogger throughout college and would have JUMPED at the chance to create content for a brand I enjoyed. Give talks at schools and/or set up regular sessions or simply post internships with their career services. But whatever you do, don’t point to the time it takes to create content as your excuse. Find a student or two to help you crush out materials!
Still to come: how content creation has changed the marketing funnel, and why this is great for you as a consumer!