Author: Chad Pollitt

How Content Marketing Has Become Marketing Content

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It’s no secret that content marketing has been all of the rage the last couple of years. Adoption rates, as reported by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), bear this out, too. That might lead many to believe that last year’s top digital marketing focus might have been content marketing.

That’s great, but there’s a little problem with that. CMI reports that only 37 percent of marketers believe their content is effective.

How Content Marketing Has Become Marketing Content by Chad Pollitt for OMI

Since so many brands in a variety of industries are cranking out content, many of these verticals have moved from content deficits to surpluses in the last few years. There’s much more competition for online content consumers’ attention today than at any other time in history.

Early adopter brands are the ones mostly reaping the content marketing rewards. They earned their audiences when they were one of the only content producing brands in their industry.

Related Class: The Marketer's Secret to Content Marketing Success

In the time of content deficits, brands could mostly rely on organic social and search channels to deliver the audiences they sought. That dynamic has changed substantially in the last few years. Year over year growth in organic search queries is on the decline and Facebook’s organic visibility is quickly approaching zero.

Twitter announced last fall that it will be minimizing brands’ organic visibility, too. SEO isn’t what it used to be, either.

Today, it’s easier to earn a real audience that produces the signals Google and the other search engines use to determine relevance than it is to game their algorithms.

As a result, brands should focus on marketing their content using earned and paid channels, and not content marketing this year. Creating owned media, hitting the publish button, sharing it on social media and broadcasting to a small email list won’t cut it in 2015.

Marketers residing in the 63 percent that believe their content is ineffective are starting to figure this out. The ones that don’t will start to see company support for content marketing wane.

The Channels of Content Promotion

Content-Promotion-Channels

(Click to Enlarge)

It’s not a mystery why over the last several years a cornucopia of new and unique content promotion tools, networks and tactics have cropped up. The promise of search and social organically delivering game changing business results in a "build and they will come" strategy is a myth with today’s content surpluses.

That’s why a robust content promotion ecosystem that leverages both paid and earned media for a converged strategy exists.

Related Class: Creating Content that Converts for Lead Generation

Each earned and paid tactic represented in the channels above aren’t necessarily game changers by themselves. Leveraging a mix of tactics increases the likelihood of success.

For a more detailed and thorough explanation of the strategies, tactics and tools of content promotion download my latest ebook, The Content Promotion Manifesto for free, but only for a limited time.

 


The 7 Steps of the Inbound Marketing Campaign Process

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The business world is always trying to figure out how to use process to create scale. Makes sense, right? With good process comes scale, and with scale comes higher profitability. The same holds true in marketing. Properly deployed inbound marketing requires many different things to happen. Forgetting just one can ruin the whole campaign. Strategically, most understand what inbound marketing is, but many still fail to deploy it with much efficiency or process. Below are the seven steps that must occur in order to create scale and to maximize inbound marketing opportunity.

inbond marketing campaign process

1. The Offer

When it comes to inbound marketing, everything starts with the offer. However, not all offers are created equal. Most offers should be geared more towards top of the funnel visitors who probably don’t know much about the business whose website they just visited.

These are the folks looking for information to help solve their own problems and represent the vast majority of most companies’ website visitors. Top of the funnel offers can include free whitepapers, ebooks, guides, videos and checklists.

Middle of the funnel website visitors are likely people who are already familiar with the brand. They represent a small contingent of traffic on most websites. They’ve likely downloaded top of the funnel offers in the past and have some level of trust or perceived value in the branded content. Middle of the funnel offers can include webinars, case studies, free samples, catalogs, FAQ sheets, brochures, etc.

Bottom of the funnel visitors are the smallest group of visitors on most websites. These are people seeking out who will solve their problem. This group is looking for free trials, demos, assessments, consultations, estimates and coupon offers.

2. Landing Pages and CTAs

The offer represents a brand’s currency in the inbound marketing quid pro quo transaction. The call-to-action (CTA) and the landing page are a website’s checkout lane and cash register, respectively. Website visitors who convert do so by paying with their name, email address and whatever other form fields a brand includes on its landing page.

RELATED CLASS: Landing Page Optimization for B2B Marketing

Without CTAs, website visitors will struggle to find a brand’s landing pages. Without landing page conversions, an inbound marketing campaign will struggle to show a return and proper nurturing will be impossible.

b2b landing page examples

B2B landing page examples via ion interactive

3. Lead Nurturing

After a visitor converts on a landing page, they’re now ready to be nurtured by sending a series of emails that deliver prudent content over time. This automated marketing exercise should roughly mirror a typical sales cycle.

Lead nurturing can be deployed using many different channels. However, this example is for email lead nurturing only. Many of the same principles hold true across other channels. Lead nurturing empowers marketers to deliver the proper content to the appropriate person at the best time.

Marketers who master lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales ready leads and do it at a 33 percent lower cost.

RELATED CLASS: How to Setup a Lead Management Process

4. Email

The difference between the lead nurturing step and the email step is automation. In this step, marketers need to turn their attention towards their current contacts database. Upon the launch of a new offer, marketers should segment their email database with just the contacts they feel would appreciate receiving the offer. Open, click-through and conversion rates are much higher this way.

5. Earned and Owned Blogging

Most marketers are very familiar with owned blogging. It’s as simple as writing an article and publishing it on the brand’s blog. However, earned media has traditionally resided in the PR arena.

After a new offer is published behind a landing page, marketers should publish blog content that closely aligns with the topic of the offer. This makes click-throughs on the CTA and conversions on the landing page much more palatable for readers.

After that, marketers should put their PR hat on and reach out to other bloggers and journalists to see if they can guest post or get media coverage for the content represented in the offer.

RELATED CLASS: How to Leverage Earned and Owned Media to Create Effective Paid Media Programs

6. Social Media

This is perhaps the simplest of all seven steps. Promote the earned and owned articles as well as the offers themselves as part of the brand’s normal broadcast, sharing and engagement activities on social media. It’s important, however, not to overdo it. Marketers should have a clear understanding of what’s acceptable and what’s taboo in the online communities they manage.

7. Analyze and Adjust

Like all good processes, analysis and adjustment should occur regularly in order to make sure each step is optimized and working properly. This process also helps create fertile ground for testing which goes a long way in maximizing and taking advantage of online opportunity. While the individual contributors to each step of the process should analyze and adjust the steps they’re responsible for, ultimately, the campaign in its entirety is the responsibility of the department head.

The great thing about this process is that it’s easily supported and executed with the right people and software in place. When the machine is fully operational increasing output (traffic and conversions) is simply a matter of creating more offers. Marketers will realize scale if they deploy the entire inbound marketing campaign process described above.

Learn how to incorporate real-time content into your marketing strategy.

Watch Real Time or Die: Feeding the Content Beast and see how top brands, bloggers and media outlets are producing high-impact content at higher velocity. You’ll also get expert tips to plan for and produce real-time content—and feed your own content beast. Access it now with a FREE trial to the Online Marketing Institute. Get instant access now.