I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on the Content Champion podcast hosted by Loz James. This was my first time being publicly interviewed about my content marketing experience. It was slightly nerve-wracking but a lot of fun. Loz’s engaging, casual style made it easy for me to open up.
You can listen to it here.
Loz sent me a few questions before the interview, but the podcast was mostly unscripted. This was very refreshing and allowed me to learn a lot about myself and my content marketing beliefs.
Below I’ll highlight some takeaways that came from out chat.
Content strategy is not content marketing strategy
I told Loz in the show that I’m not a fan of “terms” like this. I just like to plan, create, and promote. But I do acknowledge it’s important to put labels on different actions. This keeps everything organized. So when pressed to point out the different between these two terms, I said the following:
Content strategy has three parts. It’s the planning of the goal, or what you want your content to achieve. It’s deciding the content type, or the type of content that can achieve that goal (blog post, video, webinar, podcast, etc.). And it’s deciding the content topic, or what topic is most likely to engage people.
Content marketing strategy is the creation, publishing, and distribution of the content – and the measuring of your efforts.
Which Loz responded to by saying: “So we have to write down what we need to to do (content strategy), then do it (content marketing strategy).”
Always attribute content to revenue, even if measurement is imperfect
Pardon me, but social shares and pageviews mean shit (unless you’re making money off advertising). If your end game as a business is selling products and services, metrics like these are meaningless. As Loz said during our chat, they are vanity metrics.
In my post on minimum viable content I talk about a content initiative we started at MaxCDN that entailed defining industry-related terms and illustrating how they work. It was – and still is – a successful project. And even though it’s a top-of-the funnel content initiative, we can attribute it to revenue.
By using Mixpanel at MaxCDN I was able to see that 26,499 people viewed our visual glossary articles over the course of a month, that 78 of those people became leads, and that 25 people became a customer.
Because every account has a minimum value of $100+/year – and it only takes about $100 to outsource a visual glossary article – the ROI on this project is huge, even though these articles receive almost 0 social shares. And while pageviews are always nice, that customers and money mean a lot more for a business like MaxCDN that employs around a hundred people.
As I told Loz:
All content marketing goals should be tied to revenue. You should always be able to attach a revenue number to what you’re doing. It will make your marketing team stronger, and you’ll get rewarded as the content marketer.
Sit by the sales and support team to understand your audience
Loz asked me how we can gain a better understanding of our target audience. Admittedly, I didn’t offer much help for remote workers, but shared my experience about how I do this as a content marketer in an office. And it’s really quite simple: Sit next to your friends in sales and support.
Your sales team is a wealth of information. They’re talking to customers (your audience) every day. And the same thing goes with your support team. They’re answering real questions (asked by your audience) about your actual product.
Sitting next to these guys is a really good way to figure out who your audience is while coming up with different content topics.
I also mentioned that signing up for industry newsletters is a great way to keep a finger on the pulse of your audience. For instance, to see what our audience is reading about in the web performance and web ops space, I subscribe to Web Operations Weekly and the O’Reilly Web Newsletter.
Do a Google search for newsletters in your industry to find some great resources.
I hope at least one of these tips changed your perspective about content marketing. If one or two did, let me know in the comments 🙂