Pam Didner is a well-seasoned global B2B Marketing Consultant, Keynote Speaker and Author. I've been privileged to get to know her and am looking forward to having her as a guest on Ponderings from the Perch soon. By way of introduction, she has answered these questions, delivering tips to improve your B2B marketing strategies.
Q: In your experience what are the results of not having a content calendar to organize your marketing efforts?
A: Well, it depends. If you are a one-person marketing team, you may not need a content calendar, especially if you are the content creator and promoter. If you are working with a team, it’s best to have a content calendar. It’s a way to guide the team and avoid duplication, chaos, unrealistic goals and missed deadlines.
Please bear in mind that chaos still happens, even if you have a content calendar! Things just happen in the real world, such as customer complaints, real-time PR crises, and early product launches. Your editorial needs to be agile and adjust to changes which may impact your company’s brands and image.
Chaos never goes away, but processes and tools such as a content calendar will minimize it.
Tip 1: Create a flexible content calendar to respond quickly to the real-time needs of the company.
Q: Do you think content marketing is for everyone - for one-man businesses to the largest enterprises? If so, how can small companies with very limited budget, time and energy on their hands compete with complete in-house content marketing departments?
A: I think everyone is doing content marketing. If you are a small company with a website and a blog, you are, in a way, doing content marketing. If you create a white paper and share it with your customers or use it as part of an e-mail campaign, you are doing content marketing. The question is not if content marketing is for everyone. The question is whether you have time and resources to do content marketing continuously and do it right.
You are not necessarily competing with other companies in terms of content marketing, but rather you need to understand what you are trying to accomplish and match that to your budget and resources and find your right place in your own market.
Tip 2: Focus your content marketing efforts on your company's goals and not on competing with the market. What others might be doing with their content may do nothing to further your specific goals.
Q: How can any business maintain a content strategy long-term? How can they find new topics and new stories to tell consistently?
A: Like everything else, long-term efforts require budget and resources. Management buy-in is super-critical to secure the right support. Although there is nothing new under the sun, you can always find something new to say about something old. The best way to find something new is to talk to your subject matter experts, your sales people, your customers and your management team…Things happen every day in your company. There is always something to share and something to say. You just need to pay attention.
Tip 3: Don't silo your marketing efforts. Help your colleagues understand your goals so they can help you source important content and support your efforts.
Q: Joe Pulizzi has said that the main reason of content campaign fails is that companies don’t set realistic goals and don’t realize that the first 6-12 months are all about building your audience. Do you agree with this?
A: Yes. You can’t build Rome in one day. You can’t write 15 blog posts and expect your website traffic to increase 10X. I have written over 200 blog posts in the past three years. Well, these blog posts really didn’t bring me much revenue per se, but it established me as a thought leader in the field of global content marketing. The recognition of being a thought leader brings opportunities. You need to understand what you want to accomplish with content marketing and, most importantly, get your management to support it. Content marketing is like a long purchase cycle, it can take 12 months to see the impact…Unfortunately, there is no short cut. Management likes short-term results but you need to set clear expectations upfront.
Tip 4: Understand content marketing is a rewarding, but long-term proposition.
Q: What should the goals of a content strategy be – and what KPIs should be watched?
A: At a tactical level, it depends on what your company’s marketing promotion channels are. Your content needs to closely tie with your promotion and syndication channels. For example, if a white paper is used for e-mail campaign and event collateral, you need to know the number of downloads as well as the number of business cards collected at the event.
Tip 5: Set goals for each channel and measure them independently even within one campaign.
Q: How do you think modern technology will change content marketing in the coming years? For example, do you think content creation and distribution can be completely automated?
A: In my opinion, the company’s content marketing efforts will be closely tied to online and offline user experience and augmented reality moving forward. For example: In the near future, you can stand in front of a mirror in your house and virtually try on clothes which may then be tailor made to your order. Content will pop up on a virtual screen to share with you the latest fashion tips and trends and recommendations for similar outfits (the virtual service will show you with accessories that others who tried similar clothing bought.) In addition, your online experience needs to be optimized for whatever device are used by customers, from desktop, laptops, tablets, mobile devices to wearables and whatever comes next. Technology brings added complexity and therefore I think it is unlikely that the actual creation or distribution of content can be automated in the foreseeable future.
Q: You've used the term “hero product”. Can you explain what makes a hero product?
A: In simple terms, the hero product of your company is the product that brings in the most revenue. You can also define a hero product as the one that the company wants to focus on and therefore allocates the most marketing budget for.
Pam Didner creates global marketing strategies to guide a company's content marketing efforts. You can reach her on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also download her FREE course - How To Build A Global Content Marketing Team.
Do you have questions for Pam as we prepare for her live interview on Ponderings from the Perch? Drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: PODCAST.
Be sure to check out her book, Global Content Marketing.