If you’re a corporate marketer like me, no doubt you’ve been put in the situation I faced this week: you have a white paper that an external content person created for the company and now you need to make that content social. It’s an important part of social media management.
Let’s face it, there are some B2B executives who wouldn’t read a white paper even if you threatened them with lima beans (what, you like lima beans? Eeewww!). ITSMA research shows that buyers want the whole menu of content—not just a white paper here or a video there.
So this week I went back to the white paper writer and asked for a series of short blog posts based on the content in the white paper. This person responded with a good question: How would you like it to read and sound?
I decided to write down the ways. After circulating it with colleagues on my idea marketing team (who came up with good additions), we came up with this list. What would you add (or take away)?
New point of view. The white paper has one big idea. Each post should have its own strong point of view.
Conversational. Blogs need to take the tone down quite a bit from the formality of a white paper.
Humorous. White papers are serious. Too serious, in my mind. I’m trying to bring a lighter touch. But you need to try to make the blog post downright fun if possible. Need to poke fun at ourselves and our readers (without getting personal).
Challenging. Good white papers challenge, too, but blog posts can (and should) get away with grabbing a bigger fistful of shirt collar.
Passionate. Missing in a lot of white papers, this is the lifeblood of a good blog post. Readers have to feel your commitment.
Easy. Blogs are the comfort food of idea marketing: quick, tasty, and not great for your long-term health. That means lists and top tens and bullet points and lots of informative subheads. No long narratives. Unlike white papers, the posts shouldn’t pretend to be all readers need for their long-term thinking on a subject. We invite them to taste the healthier stuff by linking to the full menu through the blog posts.
What would you add to this list?
About the Author: Chris Koch - I'm a B2B marketer, researcher, writer, editor, and former technology journalist. Currently an editorial director at SAP (opinions are my own, not SAP's).
The biggest challenge B2B marketers face is producing engaging content (36%), a Content Marketing Institute survey of 1,100 marketers revealed. One way to address this challenge is to plan obsolescence in your content marketing strategy, a tactic recently explained by Joe Chernov from Eloqua. Today, I want to share another option with you: Leveraging your content.
Content leverage is using every piece of content in multiple ways to get the highest return on investment from each piece of content. Obviously, content is not valuable unless buyers are aware of it and are engaged with the material. This requires marketers to deliver the content in new, interactive ways and channels. Borrowing from Newton’s first law, content in motion will tend to stay in motion and be more effective as a result.
Let’s track the life of a single blog article to bring these practices to life and show how a marketer can leverage content to its best use.
Developing content derivatives
An executive writes a compelling blog article based on new research from a survey of customers and prospects. The blog post explains how the research findings uncover an important buyer issue, validates the market need for the vendor’s solution, and highlights that solutions exist to address the issues identified in the research.
A research-focused post helps in the early stages of the buying cycle to inform buyers that solutions are available to make improvements. In this scenario, marketers can develop content derivatives such as:
1) Research White Paper: The marketing team develops additional content based on the original blog post to create a white paper. However, keep in mind that research indicates buyers prefer shorter white papers; the recommended length is four to six pages.
2) Infographic: Research and best practices recommend converting content into an infographic to illustrate data that can be quickly understood and enhance a call to action. The elements of an infographic can be weaved into the white paper and other materials to make the data “come to life.”
3) PowerPoint: The presentation is an overview of the research findings on the market opportunity, a summary of the white paper and the executive’s best practice recommendations, which can be uploaded on Slideshare.
4) Live and On-Demand Webinar: The executive leverages the PowerPoint to present a live webinar, which is also recorded for on-demand playback.
5) Video and Podcast: The executive is interviewed in Q&A form to create a series of short and compelling videos and podcasts. Creating transcripts of each interview can provide additional content leverage.
To improve the connection and engagement of today’s busy buyers, more marketers are moving beyond traditional options to leverage interactive media such as:
1) Microsites: The marketing team develops and publishes a collection of related research and advice to a best practices microsite, providing buyers with a single resource to facilitate each step through thebuyer’s journey.
2) eBook: The team converts the key white paper content and PowerPoint into a visually compelling eBook, an interactive overview of the research, and key points that an executive can quickly read to understand main concepts and recommendations.
3) Mobile Content / Applications: The team converts the research into content optimized for mobile devices and creates a “Solution Finder” application to help users find the right solution based on which piece of the research matches customers’ specific priorities / pain points.
4) Multi-media White Papers: The team enhances the white paper presentation with embedded video and podcast recordings, helping buyers feel more connected to the executive.
5) Interactive White Papers: Today’s buyers demand content be more relevant and concise. To deliver a personalized white paper, the marketing team should consider assembling and customizing the content for each buyer. This content customization can be developed on pivot points, which matches content to the buyer’s industry, location, size, role in buying cycles and pain points. The content is put into an interactive software application to survey the buyer on his profile. From there, a customized white paper is delivered with content precisely matching the buyer’s profile.
6) Interactive Diagnostic Assessments: Most buyers struggle to understand whether research issues are relevant or applicable to them and whether addressing the issues should be priority. The marketing team may consider a diagnostic assessment to gather and benchmark the prospect’s opportunities against industry peers and leaders. This can illustrate to buyers the competitive costs of maintaining the status quo versus the competitive advantages of adopting new solutions that can address priority issues.
7) Benefit Calculator: Without a business case, today’s economic-focused buyers are hard pressed to allocate budget and pull the trigger on an investment. The marketing team can tap the research to create a customized, interactive benefits calculator that will quantify potential benefits for prospects.
Putting the content in motion
The traditional ways to connect and engage buyers with valuable decision-support content is evolving to incorporate more channels and social sharing.
Traditional channels use promotions, excerpts, and links to the content in order to increase awareness and engage buyers.
Some of the traditional channels that the marketing team leverages to promote content include:
1) Website(s): Promote and link to the content from the main company website and microsites, not forgetting to promote the content via portals in support of sales / channel enablement.
2) eNewsletters: Include excerpts and links in regular newsletters as value-added content.
3) Banner Advertising: Use banners to promote the content as a call to action for users.
4) Paid Search: Use targeted keywords and content as a call to action.
5) Traditional Advertising: Place promotions and links from traditional advertising to the online content.
The one issue with these traditional channels is that they are paid advertisements and have a low trust rating. However, social content placement is often earned and is trusted more than traditional advertising by today’s skeptical buyers.
Using social media-focused channels, marketers connect and engage with influencers and the buyers’ communities via:
1) Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Posts and Links – Beyond just links to promote the content, marketers post key excerpts of compelling findings and advice. These posts are liked and forwarded by other members.
2) YouTube & Slideshare Posts: Based on the type of content, the marketing team leverages specific social channels for sharing content such as YouTube for videos and Slideshare for PPTs and PDFs.
3) LinkedIn Discussion Groups and Quora: Marketers determine what key questions would be compelling to discussion groups to attract group members’ comments on the research and findings as well as to collaborate on additional opportunities, best practices and solutions..
4) Influencer Links: Marketers make influencers aware of the content and findings / advice, prompting several influencers to write about the content and pass along excerpts / links.
5) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Search engines prioritize links to content that are seen as timely, relevant and valuable to the community. To optimize SEO, marketers still need to be sure that content is tagged properly and contains important keywords. Additionally, marketers must ensure that content is back-linked, liked, promoted and linked to/from other independent and influential sites.
6) Article Syndication: Marketers convert the blog post and other content into article form, and get digital and print publishers to feature / promote the article because they feel it will help their readers.
The bottom line
When an author develops a blog article or other piece of marketing content, it’s key that the marketing team leverage the content in multiple ways by creating derivatives to put the content in motion. This strategy should include creating multiple traditional and new interactive media derivatives that engage buyers with content through traditional and social channels.
This graphic illustration of a single piece of content from a research oriented blog post can be used to derive multiple pieces of content to connect and engage buyers via multiple channels and facilitate thebuyer’s journey that can help drive content marketing effectiveness.
Tom Pisello, the ROI guy, has built his 25-year career helping companies to get more business value from their IT and business investments. Tom’s latest endeavor, Alinean (a CMI benefactor), was founded in 2001 to develop SaaS software for changing the way B2B sellers reach frugal buyers with interactive white papers, assessment, ROI and TCO tools. You can read Tom's blog, see related research and best practices or follow him on Twitter @tpisello.
Courtesy: www.contentmarketinginstitute.com (Reproduced with permission)
Image Courtesy: 7rains
SUMMARY: Since the inception of Royal Mysore walks the foremost challenge was to reach out to audience across different regions through Web based technology for individuals or groups who were looking at having an offbeat experience in Mysore. Walking Tour as a concept appeals to wider range of audience from first time visitors, business travelers to city residents. The Internet also acts as a great marketing tool that overcomes the limitations of traditional media, like high cost and effectively reaching out to target audience and also helps in connecting with the audience where information on the service and its continuous improvisation can be constantly provided.
COMPANY NAME: ROYAL MYSORE WALKS
CONTACT NAME – VINAY PARAMESWARAPPA
MARKETING SERVICE PROVIDER: IN-HOUSE
MARKETING CATEGORY: SOCIAL MEDIA
BACKGROUND/CHALLENGE/OBJECTIVE: In the start-up phase, it was important to choose an effective and inexpensive marketing platform for Royal Mysore Walks. This being the motive, the Internet and social networking sites seemed to be the best choice. Royal Mysore Walks specializes in content. Collection of interesting content and delivering it in an interesting and effective manner was the core competence. The challenge was to be creative and unique in web presence so as to stand out and build a wide network and generate visibility. Currently Royal Mysore Walks has its presence in Social Networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, on the Blogosphere and also on Wikipedia and WikiTravel.
Given that the attention span of the individual is short, the challenge was to get noticed with interesting/informative content that would lead them to the website where one could make a choice if he or she wanted to try the service.
Tourists/Visitors to Mysore (Including Business Executives)
People looking for an offbeat experience.
Residents keen on knowing more about their city.
Through Internet Marketing Royal Mysore Walks was looking at addressing the need an offbeat experience in the city through Walking Tours with a mix of information and entertainment
Twitter: With a 140 char limit, Twitter best acts like an advertisement on the online space. Short, crisp and to the point. Its been more than a year since Royal Mysore Walks has been actively marketed on twitter. The search option allows one to constantly look out for the occurrence of a keyword, say ‘Mysore’. In cases where where people mention about their interests in exploring the place, we make a suggestion to experience Royal Mysore Walks. We also build rapport by interacting with those seeking information about the city.
Facebook: Royal Mysore Walks presence on Facebook was used to connect with people who liked the idea. This platform was also used to share upcoming events, posting pictures and media coverage of Royal Mysore Walks. We also actively seek new ideas to enrich RMW experience. Facebook has been a great way to engage with your audience, acting like a interactive bulletin.
Blogs: Presence in the Blogosphere has helped Royal Mysore Walks to continuous connect with its audiences and also generate interest in the new services that we have added. It has encouraged customers who have enjoyed the RMW to blog about their experience. Here’s one by India’s popular humour bloggers, Narendra Shenoy and another by an Australian couple (traveling from Sydney to London) who put this encouraging write up on their website after the RMW tour.
Flickr: A good picture speaks a 1000 words! Its true much more when you’re in the business of travel and hospitality. High quality photographs play an extremely important role in getting the message across. People travel so that they can see more. Finding good photographers can be hard. One can make use of Flickr to find people who have contributed photographs of your city and you could also use their works or their services for your business. Through Flickr, Royal Mysore Walks was able to reach out to a person who pursued photography as a hobby but also won several acclaimed awards for his work behind the lens. Being a freelance website designer was of help too. He is currently working on restructuring the Royal Mysore Walks website (visit www.royalmysorewalks.com to see how it is shaping up). In addition, the photographer is also an avid wildlife photographer and is keen on leading groups on Nature/Jungle/Photo Walks. Its all about exploring possibilities and realizing them too!
Others: Marketing what we do generates customer interest, helps build our brand and makes our hiring easy too, thanks to our exploring social media. Royal Mysore Walks was featured in Yourstory.in. Yourstory.in is the fastest growing online platform committed to providing visibility and meaningful networking opportunities to first generation young Indian entrepreneurs and start-ups. One such reader who discovered Royal Mysore Walks through Yourstory.in is currently working with us to promote RMW across various channels. External references such as this one also adds to your credibility.
The key to such platforms is interaction - one needs to actively participate in the ongoing conversations to make the best of social media.
IMPACT: Sustained marketing efforts have increased the awareness and the visibility of Royal Mysore Walks. With every campaign, the traffic to our website increased between 25-50%. The use of Google Analytics and tools like the Alexa has helped us track and analyze our website traffic and work towards a search engine optimized website.
With the Facebook fan page crossing the 650 mark, our plan is to expand presence of Royal Mysore Walks across newer applications like Foursquare reaching out to a wider audience and adding power to the voice of our audience.
Social Networking website : Twitter
Blogging Platform: Wordpress
Photo sharing website: Flickr