B2B Lead Generation | Guest Post from Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute
We at the B2B demand generation company, Find New Customers, are delighted to bring you this guest post by top content marketing expert Joe Pulizzi, co-Author of Get Content, Get Customers and founder of Junta42. (Full bio follows the post.)
Thank you for this great post, Joe. Please let us know what you think of this guest post by entering your comment below.
Over the past few years, I’ve seen more and more organizations move their content online only. This makes sense, right? Online content drives search engine rankings and social media. Good, but not good enough for most organizations, especially when there is a longer sales cycle.
At the Content Marketing Institute, we subscribe to and teach the three-legged stool method of content marketing. This means that our content strategy has tactics that include online, in-person and (yes, I’ll say it!) print components.
Here is the formula that we’ve used to be successful. Maybe there are a few things in here that will help you as your develop out your content marketing strategy.
Our belief is that the center of the online content marketing strategy can and should be the blog. Yes, a blog is just a tool, but it is a very powerful tool for sharing and spreading our content, and making sure we are found in search engines. Since May of last year, we have published a blog post on every business day, which has led to a consistent 25% growth in monthly website traffic since day one. (Editor’s note: We could not agree more. With 54,000 readers of Fearless Competitor today, our blog is invaluable.)
Content curation is the concept that we become the “expert filter” for our customers and deliver the best of what the industry has to offer, similar to a museum curator who presents only the best works of art. We do this through a number of tactics, including:
- Just this week, we launched a content marketing news channel in partnership with PR Newswire.
- The Junta42 Community – an ongoing resource for the best content about content marketingon the web.
- Top Content Marketing Blogs – a quarterly list of the best content marketing blogs on the planet.
- Curated Twitter feed – when we launched our Junta42 Twitter account, it was always to use it as a curated feed for the best content marketing information on the web.
- Curated eBooks – one example is this 2011 Content Marketing predictions eBook and post.
- Junta42 Vendor Directory – a listing of the best content providers in North America.
Downloadable Case Studies/eBooks/White Papers
We are big believers that you have to mix up content to stay relevant. With this kind of strategy, bigger content packages are a must, such as:
- Case Studies – CMI develops ongoing case studies, such as these on Eloqua and Incept, as visual eBook presentations. These case studies are available as part of our free PRO premium membership.
- Gated eBooks and White Papers – 99% of our content is always free and ungated, but we do have a goal of collecting information about our readers to continue the dialogue. To capture this objective, we develop content packages that require some sign-up information like this white paper on attracting and retaining customers with content. That said, we also develop eBooks where the goal is social sharing, like this Content Marketing Playbook eBook.
For all the talk about email being less effective, email still works when it’s relevant and useful, and it can be a great way of providing a “non-sales” touch to your readers and customers on a consistent basis. Since we’ve launched the company (four years ago), we’ve maintained communication with our readership with a weekly enewsletter. If you can’t do weekly, start off as monthly with a permission-based communication tool.
We’ve also noticed that social sharing is often spurred on by email (i.e., blog post email is received and then immediately read and shared out via Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn).
Your goal is to be the leading content provider for your niche. Since that is the case, you need to help shape the industry with consistently relevant research. At CMI, we try to develop research that makes sense, including this Content Marketing Benchmarks study (annual), as well as partner studies like this social media usage study.
Bloggers and media companies love compelling, original research. CMI and Junta42 have been cited thousands of times in webinars, in-person events, tweets and blog posts specifically because of this original research.
This quote from Chris Brogan puts the importance of print in perspective:
“We…have to remember that the physical world exists, and that there are times when we have to bridge into that world [with print].”
For years I’ve witnessed big brands move their content away from print –to-web on an exclusive basis, only to come back when they don’t see the results they once used to. If print is not part of your content strategy, start considering it now.
In 2010, I made the case in this blog post that there was an opportunity in print. As we have grown, we’ve been able to expand our presence in print format with the launch of Chief Content Officer magazine. CCO launched as a quarterly 24-page supplement to BtoB magazine as a strategic resource for marketing executives (we also have a European, Australian and Spanish version of CCO). We are now up to 36 pages.
From just the first issue, we’ve received hundreds of comments and thousands of qualified sign-ups to the magazine. Needless to say, it has surpassed our expectations.
But don’t think you must develop a magazine, which can be costly considering printing and postage. Alternatively, you might think about:
- A print newsletter
- Postcards with helpful tips
- QR Codes on signage, vehicles or even business cards that links to content
The Industry Event
I’ve been lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it) to have attended more than 50 in-person events over the past year. Some think, with the rise of social media and online marketing, that in-person events would be suffering. In fact, they are thriving. Attendance is up across the board. Social media has fueled the increase and need to meet face-to-face.
If you want to be the leading content provider in your industry, that also means holding an in-person event, with the ultimate goal of it being THE industry event for your particular niche (to drive customer relationships and sales). This is our goal as well. In September of this year, we’ll hold Content Marketing World, which by all indications will be the largest content marketing focused event in the world – with over 50 speakers in literally every content marketing area of expertise imaginable.
If a larger event is out of the question, consider smaller events like workshops or executive roundtables.
Bringing It All Together
Obviously, you have to find the strategy that makes sense for your organization, but I beg you to think outside the Internet box. Yes, there will continue to be more opportunities online because that’s where your customers are hanging out more and more…but don’t forget that people still want to meet face-to-face and still enjoy to “lean back” and enjoy a print publication.
Remember, like it or not, you are a publisher today. To attract and retain customers, we need to create and curate valuable, compelling and relevant content to our customers and prospects on a consistent basis in order to see the behavior change we want.
Joe Pulizzi is founder of Junta42 and the Content Marketing Institute, which holds the industry’s largest event, Content Marketing World, this September in Cleveland, Ohio. You can find Joe on Twitter @juntajoe and at his personal blog: http://blog.junta42.com.
Content Marketing Evangelist and lover of all things orange
Junta42 – http://junta42.com
SocialTract – http://socialtract.com
Speaking – http://joepulizzi.com
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