Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Content Remains King: 5 Tips to Reign Supreme

Many moons ago, the media mogul Sumner Redstone coined the phrase "content is king." 

Redstone uttered this now-famous phrase because with the proliferation of broadcasting, movies and other media outlets, he knew content was more important than distribution mechanisms. There would always exist channels of distribution (albeit in varied forms), but content was always going to be necessary.

Still True Today
Redstone's proclamation “Content is King”  was never more true than in today's online marketing world.

In business to business marketing, relevant content of value to prospects feeds Internet marketing, blog posts, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, direct marketing, public relations, and other online channels.

Proof Positive
Here’s proof that content remains king: According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report-SEO Edition, “content creation works the best, but takes the most work.”

Another data point:  A recent study by TechValidate shows content marketing is a central tactic in the modern B2B marketers’ toolkit for generating demand. 90% of respondents reported a significant slice of their marketing budget is devoted to producing content.

Tips to Reign Supreme
If effective content fuels business to business marketing, and helps with SEO, web traffic, lead generation and other key metrics, what’s the best way to consistently churn out compelling website copy, blog posts, guest blog posts, whitepapers, press releases and more?

Here are 5 tips to “reign supreme” with your marketing content:

1) Let the customer speak:    Develop marketing content that answers the question “what’s in it for the prospect?”   Avoid “we we” text, and content that talks only about the company. Keep front and center the needs, wants, and problems of prospects for content that offers specific value.  Take a close look at your products/services, discover what motivates the customer and prospect, and write about that.

2) Match the content to the audience:   Folks who have just discovered your product or service likely do not want lengthy and detailed technical white papers.  They are simply looking for high-level information to orient themselves to your offering.  Be sure content addresses those folks early in the sales cycle.  Likewise, develop and offer more detailed content for those later in the cycle, who seek specifications and other details to see if your product or service is a good fit. 

3) Recycle and repurpose:  My colleagues and I at Market Strategies and PR claim to be the “greenest marketers around” in that we recycle content in a myriad of ways. A customer case study or analyst research paper is transformed into a press release, a blog post, a Tweet, a direct marketing offer, and web copy.  Be resourceful, seek out nuggets of information and recycle it to fuel their content machine.

People don't read.  They scan. 

In the spirit of brevity, I'll keep this tip short. Remember that with marketing content, “less is more.”  And by all means, avoid buzzwords and marketing speak!

5) Tell a story:  Stories are easy to remember.  Instead of an assortment of facts, technical specs or other dry content, help your prospects gain value by telling a compelling story. A story provides a lesson. Business storytelling is no different. The trick is to take the time to create a meaningful story of value.   

(PRWeb post about generating compelling press releases puts it this way: "As content creators, we are storytellers." )

Go Forth - May Your Content Reigneth Supreme! 

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