Get more Bang for your Buck with Creative Content Development and Repurposing

There has been a lot of chatter recently regarding the topic of content marketing. In its most simplistic form, content marketing literally means taking your content and marketing it. Sounds easy enough, right? If you have the right strategy in place, and have properly identified your objectives and key success metrics, then yes. It is easy. But if you haven’t, you will find yourself in a vicious cycle, with insufficient content to fill the engine.

So, here are some tips to help you succeed with your content marketing program.

  1. Know your objectives. Are you trying to generate new leads or nurture your pipeline to convert leads into opportunities into sales?
  2. Know your audience. Remember, everyone ingests content differently. While one person devours a technical whitepaper, his/her colleague may prefer to watch a webinar. Having the right content, for the right persona is critical in nurturing the prospect so that they convert into a lead.
  3. Identify existing content/assets. This includes: whitepapers, webinars, case studies, podcasts, online calculators, videos, etc.
  4. Fill the content gaps. If you are heavy in one type of content (i.e. whitepapers), but light on others (i.e. case studies), start filling the gaps. Your goal should be to have at least 2 pieces of content for each type of asset
  5. Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. Can you repurpose any of your existing content? Some ideas for this include: Have the author of a whitepaper record it and turn it into a podcast. Take a case study and turn it into a webinar. Convert a webinar into a whitepaper.
  6. Know how your content is being consumed. Are you posting it on 3rd party sites and collecting the download leads? Do visitors need to complete a lead form in order to download it from your site? Datasheets are typically “freebies”, but the more sophisticated content, such as whitepapers and webinars, are typically caged. In other words, they can’t be downloaded unless the recipient provides some basic information.
  7. Ensure your content is well-written and well delivered. Times are tough and we are all trying to make do with the resources at hand. But if you’re sacrificing well-crafted content that stays on message and engages your audience, then you are, (pardon the expression), being penny wise and pound foolish. Invest in the resources to craft a beautifully-written document and you will be able to repurpose it (see point #5) for a variety of secondary deliverables
  8. Cross-Sell. When someone downloads a whitepaper, thank them and send them a link to a pre-recorded webinar of the same topic. Did they sign up for a webinar? Send them a case study. Try to have at least 3 pieces of content that focus on the same topic, in different formats so that your audience can consume it at various stages of the buying cycle. (see #2)
  9. Use your content to feed your social media engine. Pull out stats and tweet them. Then link to the source asset (webinar, whitepaper, etc.) Take the Q&A from a webinar and turn it into an FAQ.

Good luck. And remember, if your content isn’t delivering, perhaps it’s as simple as changing the title. It’s amazing how something as simple as that can make the difference between a successful campaign and a dud. Be bold and test different titles, subject lines, and even audiences. And don’t be afraid to dust off content from a couple of years ago. If 70% of it is still relevant, it is far simpler to update the other 30% than to start from scratch.

Tradeshows – 6 tips for a successful event

I admit it…I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to Tradeshows. On one hand, I know that it’s important to attend, at some level, if you want to make your presence known in the market and, more importantly, if you are an established brand and “can’t afford” to not be seen. However, like all marketing arsenal, there is a time and a place.

The Tradeshow “hey day” of the 90’s is long gone. Yes, we all mourned the loss of Comdex. But lately, I’ve noticed a resurgence, dare I say a renewed excitement, for the tradeshows of today.

If you’re a B2B company, here are 7 tips I will share with you, coveted over nearly 20 years of attending shows as either a delegate or an exhibitor. So, even if you got stuck with a 10×10 booth in the bowels of the show floor, or your neighbours are lacklustre and unimaginative, you can still be successful if you bear the following in mind: 

1 – Know Why You’re There
Are you a new company or is this the first time attending the event? If so, you are probably looking to fill your pipeline with contacts (notice I didn’t say “leads”). Tradeshows are great places to fill your database with a multitude of potential prospects. Marketing will want to nurture the contacts; Sales will want to build pipeline. Both can be accomplished with patience and an understanding of what constitutes a lead. (see point #2) But be warned, some really did just come for the t-shirt. Are you an established company? (more than 5 years of consistent participation at the show). Then you are likely looking to connect with prospects already in your pipeline to move them along the sales cycle. Tradeshows are a great opportunity to meet with customers and prospects and grow the relationship.

2 – Make Sure Sales and Marketing are Aligned
When it comes to whether or not a show is successful, ensure you have established the criteria BEFORE you commit to the event. What marketing considers a “lead” and what sales does can often rival the Venus vs Mars analogy. As far as I’m concerned, Marketing’s job is to nurture any and all contacts for viability. If there is a real opportunity, intent to purchase, and budget allocation, then the “lead” can be handed off to Sales. Otherwise, let it stay in Marketing’s capable hands! Marketing will nurture that contact, provide them with information, content such as whitepapers and case studies, invitations to webinars, etc. Sales need not waste their valuable time on the “t-shirt” grabbers. When agreeing on your success criteria, establish whether participation in the event is to: foster existing relationships, generate leads (assign a number), strategic presence, competitive research. And when the show is over, do a post-mortem and document the results. I often find sending a simple feedback form to the folks who worked the booth is a terrific gauge. And it will make next year’s decision to participate much easier. Finally, agree on who shoul work the booth. In my opinion the ideal mix is 1 salesperson, 1 product/marketing person, 1 technical pre-sales person (depending on the audience, of course).

3 – Drive Traffic
If you don’t make a memorable impression, then all your efforts will be for naught. Are you doing a draw at your booth for a large ticket item (i.e. an iPad)? Are you giving away 200 “tchachkes” (i.e. pens, stress balls, etc.)? Are you running a contest? Do you have dynamic presentations and presenters? Are you issuing a press release? Most importantly, are you communicating this well in advance to your prospects? Find out if there’s an official #hashtag for the event and use it in your social media efforts. (see #5 for more)

4 – Integrate Your Messaging
If you have an Events section on your website (and really, who doesn’t these days), post your participation in the event as soon as possible. Make it prominent in your newsletter. Add it to the front page of your site the week before the event. If you’re issuing a press release, get the show’s media list and notify them in advance. Share the release under embargo if you can. Do an email blast to last year’s attendee list. If your budget permits, do a print campaign (yes….people open envelopes if the message is compelling). Run a contest. Use Social Media. Assign someone to tweet while at the show, take pictures, post them to your company page on LinkedIn and Facebook. Engage your prospects!

5 – Be prepared
I am amazed at how many companies spend tens of thousands of dollars on events, that don’t bother to spend the time ensuring that their presentation is clean, free of typos, and has been well rehearsed by the person delivering it. When you ship all the materials down, allow room for mishaps (see my post on “what can go wrong will go wrong” for more tradeshow pitfalls). Ensure your booth staff have time for bio breaks, competitive research, etc. Take the time to give them the show agenda so they know when to expect heavy traffic on the event floor. Arm them with breath mints and water. Invest in a lead scanner (or be prepared to scan/hand-enter potentially hundreds of business cards). Give them all the return shipping way-bills in advance. Make it easy for them to focus on a successful show, not all the minutae best suited to your events co-ordinator. And for goodness sakes, check the booth BEFORE you ship it. Are all the panels in tact? Do you need light bulbs? Is the messaging still accurate?

6 – Follow Up
After you’ve spent all the time, money and energy preparing for the show, marketing it, developing materials and presentations, don’t lose sight of your valuable “contacts”. Get them into your CRM database (or whatever you use to manage leads) ASAP. Yes…even the business cards that the salesperson insisted be put into their pocket for follow up (just be sure to return them to said salesperson!) Ensure the lead source is listed as the tradeshow. Have a follow up email ready to go, with a piece of content that was not available at the event, sent to them within 72 hours of the last day of the event.

So there you have it….my top six tips. To thank you for getting this far, I will now offer a bonus tip: Do more than exhibit. Are there speaking opportunities? Sponsorship opportunities? Can you partner with the Event Organizer to produce a webinar in advance of the event and get yourself in front of their attendees? All of these should factor into your decision to exhibit.

Good luck! And if you ever find yourself overwhelmed with upcoming events, if you need help implementing some of these tips, or if you simply want to bounce some ideas, please contact me at: joannegore@rogers.com

So you’re in Marketing! What is that exactly?

This happens to all of us at some point in time. You’re either at a party, or you’re meeting someone for the first time, or perhaps it’s your kids that ask the question: “What do you do for a living”. Now I don’t know about you, but some professions are a lot easier to explain than others. I mean if you’re a bus driver or an electrician, heck if you’re in retail sales for a shoe company…it’s pretty straightforward. But Marketing? Not so simple.

Everyone has their own conception of what Marketing is all about. “oooh…you get to travel and do tradeshows!” (and ftr…if you think that’s glamorous, take a peek at my previous post dated November 10). Or ” you get all the cool tchachkes (aka premium incentives).  Or the best: “you get to be on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn all day long!” Some people think all I do is write press releases. And yes, that has been known to take up a fair share of my time, but certainly not all that I do.

If you say things like “Well actually, I manage the brand”; or “I developed and maintain the social media strategy”. Yeah…makes marketers all stand up and take notice, but makes the average Joe’s eyes just gloss over. Especially when you try to be specific and add “I’m in B2B marketing for the tech industry”. Huh?

So I’m here to set the record straight: Marketing produces the stuff that helps the sales guys sell.

Yes, I write press releases (and datasheets and direct mail and case studies and web copy and scripts and promos….)
Yes, I work on websites. I develop site plans and work with the design team
Yes, I do creative “stuff”. I work with designers and tweak layouts and finess line breaks and help design templates
Yes, I work with vendors. All kinds. Printers, Magazines, Premium Incentives, List Rentals, Tradeshows, etc.
Yes, I produce webinars
Yes, I am on as many social media sites as possible
Yes, I am constantly doing research on trends, and best practices, why this or that is the best new lead gen “thing” out there
Yes, I develop demand generation programs (aka leads). And we help nurture those leads so that the sales guys can focus on closing deals.
And yes…I attend LOTS of meetings! Budget meetings. Sales meetings. IT meetings. You see, as a Marketing person, I need to interface with just about everyone in the company. I need to explain to THEM what it is the marketing department does. Because let’s face it; most people haven’t a clue what the marketing department does for their company….except spend money.

We make it look effortless. We get it done. We bitch and complain and gripe when there aren’t enough hours in the day, or when our computers are down, or when somebody uses the wrong PowerPoint template. But we are passionate about what we do. We are sticklers for detail and we make it look easy. We tweet, we create, we produce, we deliver. When an analyst gives us a rave review, or we get an article published, we smile. When sales basks in the glory of a great quarter we give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done. When leads aren’t converted into opportunities we take the hit. We are Marketing.

How about you? How do you explain what you do?