Call it promotion, activation, or plain ol’ marketing, but how are you leveraging your content once its produced? Do you have a plan to better market your content?
We recently had Randy Frisch, CMO and cofounder of Uberflip, on the Rethink Marketing podcast. Randy made some noise in marketing circles earlier this year with a provocative LinkedIn Pulse article with the headline: F#*k Content Marketing.
As you can see that would turn some heads. But Randy’s (@randyfrisch) main point lay in the subheadline: It’s Time to Start Marketing Your Content.
So, how are you marketing your content?
Act-On’s Rule of Four
At Act-On, we have adopted what we call the Rule of Four. For every piece of content we create, we want to leverage it at least four times in four different formats. So that eBook becomes a series of blog posts, as well as one or more videos, and stats/quotes from the eBook are used in social media, and we wrap it all up with a with a catchy meme, GIF or podcast. Or we reverse that order.
That’s the plan at least. Like you, we’re often pulled in many directions, called upon to put out the latest fire, or sometimes we’re just interested in the next shinny new object and, as a result, we fall short of our goals for marketing our content.
In our interview, Randy cites one statistic from SiriusDecisions that 60 to 70 percent of content that’s created sits unused.
“So, it’s never being touched. It’s created once and it doesn’t get used. Now the question to your point is why is this happening?,” Randy said. “Now I think a lot of the reasons it’s happening is it’s quite simple, the content marketers in the organization are almost disconnected from the rest of the org. What we need to do is we need to find ways to make the content that was created available.”
This transcript has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the podcast.
What is your definition of content?
Nathan Isaacs: We talk about content all the time. I’m just curious what is your definition of content?
Randy Frisch: It’s a great question. There’s a lot of buzzwords we throw out all day long. And one of them is content marketing. And content marketing was not meant to be defined as it is today. I think for a lot of us, we define content marketing as creating content. But it wasn’t supposed to stop there. If you go back, when guys like Joe Pulizzi at Content Marketing Institute defined it, it was this idea of attracting a clearly defined audience through valuable, relevant, and consistent content.
And we can’t forget the idea was to attract, convert, and engage with them on an ongoing basis. It wasn’t just about writing. But what ended up happening is if you go back to when content marketing became a buzzword, technology platforms came and said, we are your content marketing platform. And there’s great solutions that help with that, companies like Kapost, NewsCred, Contently, great companies that help us with either the workflow, the ideation, or the actual creation of content. But that’s not where content marketing was supposed to end. But what always ends up happening is these solutions come to market and they define the term.
Another thing I’ve seen happen is you look in a lot of organizations and they have content marketers. Those roles are very much defined as those who create content.
Using content to drive business outcomes
The question we must think about, back to your question on defining content, is what is the need for all this content? And it’s to drive business outcomes.
So, to me, when we actually take off that content marketing or the marketing at the end, and we start thinking about marketing our content, now we start thinking about the buyer journey, and we start thinking about the various touchpoints that someone’s going to go through, and what content is going to be most meaningful.
Now some of it may be thought leadership, which we often associate as content marketing. But some of it could still be product marketing assets, or could even be some of the messaging on our website, or the messaging that someone puts at an event they attend. All of those are different aspects of our content, all the way down to those who are using Act-On and are thinking about the actual copy they put into an email they send.
About that LinkedIn Pulse post…
Nathan: You not too long ago wrote a LinkedIn post about F#*k Content Marketing.
Randy: And some people got uncomfortable with it. But to be honest, I had a lot of people just embracing it. The post touched on some of the ideas that I was referencing before. And it’s this idea that I was willing to say not that we should stop creating content, but don’t bother creating it if you’re not going to find ways to leverage it.
As much as that sounds like we’re crapping all over content, it’s not that. In fact it’s the idea that we’ve overcome something that’s very hard as organizations. You go back 5, 10 years ago, the idea of pumping out content on a regular basis, forget about daily which a lot of people do, but weekly creating a content asset, that was nuts. What we all used to do is we would update our website every six months and we said, ‘Great, our messaging is done.’
Evolution of how we create content
But what we now need to become media companies, in essence. And that was a really hard feat to overcome. But we did that. The question now is how are we, whether you’re a CMO listening to this, a VP marketing, or someone in the weeds who’s helping execute on a day to day basis, if you don’t show that that content has a purpose, then forget about it, you’re going to lose that budget to keep creating content.
So, what we need to do is start creating a buyer journey map. That’s the real first step. You could argue you got to do things before that like understand your personas. But I’m going to assume people have that down. Once you have that down, you need to make sure you understand the different people who are weighing into that buying decision and the different assets they need at different points.
One of the stats I always love, Nathan, it comes from Gartner, previously CEB, and it talks about the number of people who will touch in the buying decision process before a signature comes. And it’s funny, the number used to be only six. Now it’s 6.8. So, 6.8 people are going to evaluate your solution in terms of whether or not they should or should not buy that. And that means that through that buyer decision, we need to convince up to 6.8 of them. Some of them we can convince through some of the champions and things like that. But you think about content, I mean we need to really strategize about what to put in front of the right people at the right time.
Now the first step, and I know a lot of people who listen to this podcast are marketers, so the first thing is making it available to people on your digital marketing team, your demand gen marketing team. And some people may listen to this and say, ‘Why is my demand gen team need to care about this stuff?’ Well, most demand gen teams I talked about are the ones who are crafting the emails that go out. And what’s in emails? Content. We create a piece of content with a CTA in there. Or perhaps some of you are doing things like paid advertising. You may be re-targeting people.
A lot of us these days, we’re not linking people back to our pricing page, we’re linking people back to high value content to keep you engaged, to remind you that we are a company that you want to work for. What you have to keep in mind is this idea that we need to continue to engage our audiences with content at every single stage.
How do you better manage marketing your content?
Nathan: One of the things you guys did over there at Uberflip was to create a content experience team. Can you tell us more about what that is and what they’re doing?
Randy: Absolutely. In addition to my post which was definitely emotionally written, and then people had to calm me down a bit as they do on my team, but we wrote a great eBook on this, Who Owns the Content Experience. And it goes into everything we’ve been talking about today which is this idea that once you have content, whose job is it to get that content embedded through your marketing campaigns, your marketing programs. Another aspect we didn’t even talk about yet is getting that content into the hands of sales reps. That’s a whole other piece.
The answer we ultimately arrived at, and we spoke to a lot of customers in the research that we did, a lot of customer surveys, a lot of customer interviews, to understand who’s owning these responsibilities in the organizations. And it was interesting. In some of the companies we spoke to, we found that it was very much a tribal approach to getting this done, matrices of marketing teams where everyone needs to dig in together, understand the resources they have, make sure they have the right ways to share that content, and really hold people responsible for leveraging those assets.
Now in some companies we had started to see people actually have job titles that ranged. The one we found that kind of captured it best was a content experience manager. At Uberflip, we have someone who is the director of content experience. Now the difference between say a director of content and director of content experience, is the director of content these days often what we end up seeing is someone who’s purely in charge of what are we going to write. And what happens at Uberflip is the person who we have as director of content experience is not just what are we gonna write, but is thinking about it in the following three buckets.
It’s thinking about the structure, what is that organization of content that we’re going to put forward.
As well it’s the environment, so that’s what is surrounding all that content, what piece of content comes next when we serve that up, really thinking through the journey.
And then, ultimately, also thinking about the ability to drive engagement or drive outcomes, measuring conversion rates on content, figuring out what content is working best for us through that buyer journey.
Tell us about the Content Experience Conference
Nathan: We recently had Jay Baer on the podcast. And he and I talked about his collaboration with you on the Content Experience Conference. Can you tell us more about the conference and why folks should consider registering?
Randy: Jay Baer being there alone is reason. For those who don’t know Jay, he’s an awesome guy. He’s become a very good friend of mine over the years. He invested in Uberflip early. And he keynoted our conference. And when I say it’s our conference, it’s really not about Uberflip. It’s about the movement that is content experience and pushing people internally in the organizations to think about the opportunity to use content to get to our goals and outcomes.
For the first couple years Jay was a speaker, and he loved the event so much that he came to me and he asked what if we truly partnered and coproduced the conference. And for those who knows Jay, he’s pretty much speaking at least once a week around the world. But this is the first time he’s going to have his own event. And he got to hand pick all the speakers this year. We really try and make it a mix of thought leaders and practitioners. And I think that’s one of the things that people walk away really motivated and ready to go execute from.
So to give you an example, we’ve got people like Andrew Davis, who’s an amazing keynote speaker. We’ve also got Corinne Sklar from Bluewolf, who’s the CMO there. So you get more of the practitioner. We’ve got practitioners from companies like Docusign, and 3M, and other thought leaders like Marcus Sherdian who talks a lot about how to use inbound and how to think about your sales strategy.
It’s going to be an amazing two days in Toronto. The end of August couldn’t be a better time to be in the city. We’re anticipating having more than 750 people attend this year. And I would love to have some of the people who are tuning in to the podcast join us.