What Stands in the Way of Compelling Content?
Nasheen Liu, VP of marketing at The IT Media Group, discusses hindrances marketers face in creating compelling marketing content and and recommends three strategies to overcome them. Two key problems she identifies are:
- Lack of control over the subject-matter.
- Feeling too removed from their audience.
She shares some approaches for overcoming those challenges that allows markerters to more effectively create and repurpose compelling content.
Strategy 1: Be an avid journalist to your internal audience
In brief, there is no substitute for interaction with your field organization and customers. Your notes from these interactions should include insights from customers that can be summarized in a report and communicated to your stakeholders.
Liu’s recommendation is to repurpose these valuable insights as “Industry Newsflashes,” “Customer Insights,” and “Opportunity Analysis” for your internal audiences. Why is this important?
Marketers often fail to realize that their most important audience is the internal one. To market anything successfully, one must first and foremost create as much visibility as possible internally. Every employee is your message carrier. You will not become a rock star marketer if you don’t have the support of your internal stakeholders.
Strategy 2: Insource your content, but control the output
To get a good handle on your subject matter, it’s important to identify the domain experts – at least one person in each cross-functional area who can serve as your go-to resource. This will give you a ready supply of content.
Getting subject experts to be responsive is a key challenge. You’ll need to schedule some time interviewing them in person. The conversation should be targeted to extracting content from them in 30 minutes or less. One way to set this process in motion is to create an editiorial calendar.
If you promote your experts and give them visibility, you can gain you loyal sponsors and support for your endeavors.
Strategy 3: Outsource your topics to industry experts
One of the most common failures that I see marketers make in trying to promote themselves as thought leaders or impress audiences with their products and services is the mistake of “singing your own praises.” To gain the attention and trust of the customer, it’s much better to get someone else to do the praising in an indirect way.
In the technology space, I engage industry experts, media personalities, and well-known bloggers. The kind of perception you are trying to create is this: “Wow, these guys are associated with her? Impressive.”
To build on this, you can build an onging campaign in which your expert can help you in various activities. Some ideas:
An initial article can turn into a moderated customer forum. The findings from the forum become a whitepaper. The whitepaper can be used to develop a video case study. And so on. Such linkages can continue to develop and mature over the life of the catmpaign.
As Liu points out, “content is the bread and butter of what we do in the world of marketing.” Yet it often seems to get lost in the flurry of planning and execution, and becomes an afterthought. A successful marketing organization exists as part of a larger context of consistent messaging accross all touch points, internal and external. Nothing promotes an organization’s brand value more effectvely than shared messaging.