You Can't Tweet a Whitepaper - Part 1: Content Strategy and Tactics - Twin Cities Eloqua User Group

Minnesota Topliners: In prep for our meeting tomorrow, I recorded some thoughts on "Content Development" on my blog at Excerpt: I heard someone say, “Marketing is just publishing.”  And if this is true, then the saying “Content is king,” should also be true.  The question is… does your king have clothes?  And is he dressed appropriately? In thinking about content I’ve come up with four key elements and a set of questions you can ask yourself about each to see how well-dressed your king is.The four elements are: 1) Creation, 2) Quality, 3) Focus and 4) Media. Marketing's job is not content creation... read more at Lee


What can we learn from Netflix? A Lot!

If you are like me, you probably plant yourself on your couch and binge on Netflix for hours at a time.  Be it catching up on the latest season of House Of Cards or getting nostalgic with  revamp of Full House (now Fuller House), there is literally something for everyone. And Netflix knows that. It should come as no surprise that with all the data Netflix collects on its member's viewing habits that they are better able to align their viewing experience to the content that they make available on their platform.  There are probably plenty of shows/movies that we watched for the first time on Netflix because they were recommended to us based on our viewing habits. One of the most impressive feats to date with Netflix is their introduction of original programming.  House Of Cards, released back in 2011, was originally a mini series that aired on BBC.  When the show was being shopped around to various networks, Netflix jumped on it.  Why?  Netflix new it would be a hit based on it's members viewing habits: The original mini series was already a hit on the platformMembers watched a lot of movies with Kevin Spacey in it (he was already attached to the show)Members enjoyed movies that were directed by David Fincher (he was already attached to the show)Members watched a lot of political dramas (the original mini series being one of them) Leveraging the viewing habits of its members, Netflix was able to develop a show that it knew would be an instant success.  They knew how big their potential audience would be and how it should be consumed (releasing all episodes at once vs. weekly like traditional TV).  Currently in its 4th season (and just renewed for a 5th), the show is the most watched of any titles on Netflix. As marketers, when we think about how we develop and deliver content, there is a lot that we can learn from Netflix: Reachable Audience: be it Twitter followers, Facebook fans or email subscribers, all of these channels offer us the ability to promote our content.  Understanding the size of your audience will allow you to better determine your content's potential reach.  You may also want to look where your content is being consumed and engaged with (i.e. views/downloads are greater via email than Facebook) to better understand where your content resonates.Audience Segmentation: understanding what makes up your audience is is crucial to understanding who you are creating content for.  You can simplify this exercise by bucketing "like" groups together (i.e. based on level, industry, country, company size, etc).  You may also find that you are able to define high level personas leveraging this method.Past Consumption Habits: having a look at what content your audience has consumed in the past should be a pretty good indicator to what sort of content you create for them in the future.  This may also provide an awesome opportunity to start to developing a content matrix so that you are not continuously having to develop new content (what's old can be new again!).  Taken a level deeper - look at what content has been consumed by your audience that have gone through a sales and/or renewal cycle - this can help with understanding potential influence that content had on the buyer making a decision. Have you tried any of the ideas above?  Any other day to day things you see that you can relate to being a marketer?

How do you get your content in front of the right people?

"Outbound Content Marketer of the Year, Joe Chernov (VP of content at HubSpot) told me: Marketers always ask me how to make more or better content, and it’s almost always the wrong question. The right question is: “How do I get my content in front of the right people?” - Forrester's Ryan Skinner Forrester published a very interesting report in October called "Put Distribution at the Heart of Content Marketing" (here's the related Forrester blog post). My VP shared the report with me and asked me to review and research a key content distribution strategy potentially leveraging the key technologies that are listed in the report. These technologies focus on helping identify influencers, publish content on targeted media properties and publish content if it ranks highly. I have to admit, this is somewhat new territory for me - I've yet to really focus on content distribution strategies across the entire buyer/customer lifecycle and although I've used one or two of these technologies personally, others I've only heard of and some I just flat-out had to Google. In true intrapreneurial spirit, I starting working through the research phase - I'm actually still working through it - and as I do, I can't help but to start mentally creating a blueprint of sorts... Imagining our technology roadmap interwoven with a content distribution strategy to create and drive a valuable buyer/customer experience (to acquire, keep and grow, of course). Ideally, we'd be able to accomplish all of the above points to significantly - and intelligently - extend our reach moving forward. So, back to the the Forrester report... To help more holistically drive content distribution, Forrester recommends creating a "distribution boss" and linking that person to content creation. I like it. To even further boost success of content marketing initiatives, Forrester suggests: (and I'm paraphrasing liberally here): 1. Your distribution boss needs to be a left-brained analyst with a right-brained way with words2. Borrow some $$ from your content creation budget for some content promotion3. Encourage a BFF relationship between your PR and media teams and your content marketing teams Bottom (or should I say "top") line? I'm looking forward to our organization developing a more scientific content distribution strategy in 2014. Can I get an "amen!"? So, what are you and your teams doing to take a more scientific approach to content distribution in 2014? Or what are you currently doing? I look forward to Topliners feedback! Cheers!Kristin P.S. Technologies currently under review:- Include your influencers in a distribution strategy: Little Bird, Klout, PeerIndex- Look to specific vendors to push content on publisher’s sites: Outbrain, Sharethrough, Taboola- Identify social content winners and invest to amplify reach on the networks that work: SimpleReach- Keep an eye on emerging technologies for content visibility and distribution: TrendSpottr- Others: CC: marilyncox 
Little Bird is one of my favorite tools!  They continue to improve with every release.  I love what they do now with the daily challenges.  It really keeps you engaged with the tool.
Cool! I'm working through the Little Bird tour as part of my review - I may reach out to chat more about how you use it after the holidays. Thanks MC!
I think that one of the most important tool that only few are considering right now is Google+, it influences the SEO ranking... 
Alessia,I agree! In our current blog consolidation project, we're implementing Google Authorship for all our bloggers and we're currently evaluating how to best leverage Deltek's Google+ channel w/in our content strategy. Our PR/Social Director is not a fan - I'm working on, I mean with, her to see the possibilities.

A Lead Nurturing Planning Checklist

As a companion to my post in the It’s All About Revenue blog entitled “Goldilocks and the Three Nurturing Programs” I’d like to share with you my checklist for building a successful lead nurturing program. But first, a disclaimer: I’m quite sure this is not an all-encompassing  list and I have no doubt that you have other things you would add. I love new ideas… bring ‘em on!  Decide who you’re speaking to. If you can do a mini-persona exercise, even better. Most importantly, you need to understand their pain points and what will motivate them to act.Understand their journey. What are the steps along their buying path? Map them out, then align your messages with each step. This involves a whiteboard or paper and colored pencils (my personal favorite). Here’s a great example of how you can think through this process [click the image to see the full-size version]:Put your best assets forward. After you’ve mapped out what your audience needs, dig deep into your asset closet and see what you already have available. Maybe you just need to spruce up an older whitepaper rather than start from scratch on a new one. This is also time to take stock of what’s been performing well. If your case study about XYZ isn’t generating interest, it’s time to replace it.Create a cohesive design. Why not ask your in-house graphic designer or agency to create a new header image for your emails that can also be used on your corresponding landing pages? Consider giving your whole nurturing path a theme both from a content and a design standpoint. Perhaps each step of the way even indicates where they are in the journey (step 2 of 5, etc.). You’re not writing a novel. Keep your emails short and sweet. The shorter, the sweeter. Your goal is to get them to interact with your asset, not slog through your email. Make it easy to understand the main point of the email and the value for them personally to act, then stop talking. Test, Test, Test. Click on every link, have someone proofread your work, and click on every link again. Does your reporting work as you envisioned? If you have an “active” versus an “inactive” path for responders and non-responders, test both paths. Read every subject line carefully, then click on all your links one more time. You get the idea…Celebrate. Pat yourself on the back when you launch! You still have plenty of tweaks ahead of you as you measure your results, but take just a moment to smile and share your accomplishment with your colleagues.
I would add that you it's best to keep things simple to begin with. Perhaps start a more general program and then further segment after you acheive some initial results.
#4 is an interesting idea. We have a company templates for our direct email campaigns, but haven't yet started to think through adding/modifying those with a nurturing model in mind. We'll take a look at this approach!
Thanks Heather...this is a great tool for thos eof us starting lead nurturing programs!
This has been kicking around a while and yet I still come back to it as a resource.  Thank you!
Great list - thanks for creating & sharing it. I really like #4 (Cohesive Design) - excellent reminder that we can/should be using every element of our communications to reinforce a sense of organization and consistency.

How do you overcome the stranglehold of content creation?

At a marketing user group meeting yesterday several of us discussed the challenge of meeting content demands. We hear more and more about the importance of content development. I think where people get it wrong is they feel they need to develop brand new content, from scratch. Total fallacy. My recommendation is to develop a content thrift store. The first step in doing that is auditing your content. You need to understand what you have, who it’s for, how it’s used, and how it’s performing. Read the article here:I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags: Develop a Content Thrift Store
Marilyn, you make a good case for re-purposing. One challenge we've had is that traditionally we've developed Content (with a capital 'C') instead of content. Point is we've made content more difficult than it needs to be by making it larger than our audience requires. For us, short stories of customer success (not Case studies) with an actionable path for the reader to also be successful is an example of success. It's that balance of adding value, reflecting the personality of your company, and not fatiguing readers with more content than necessary (what is the quickest way I can understand something and get value?).
I think this is a common problem.  I love the idea of "snackable" content.  Taking the "Content" and breaking it down into more digestible pieces.  This is especially true if sales is expected to consume, understand, and promote.
Yes, sales also benefits from this and we begin to develop a consistent story line and experience from group to group. We have them on board and engaged.
I like the thrift store metaphor. To extend it further -- "thrift content" doesn't necessarily mean outdated, lesser content. And sometimes, you can republish items because something else references or alludes to them. For instance, you might share an older case study again because some brand-new industry analysis validates the original case study's conclusions.

Eloqua Experience '13

It was great to meet many of you at Eloqua Experience 2013 last week! Hope everyone had a safe trip back and did not deal with any snow/ice issues. I will be reading through what other topliners learned at EE but feel free to share what you guys gained and I will be doing the same this week.  Quick learnings for now: + how to crawl, walk, and then run with Eloqua many reports (each one has a valuable use but you need to find out who will actually use the metrics and context you provide!)+ 6 steps to create a content factory and how to add a little more structure to marketing (team, ideation, planning, production, distribution, analysis) and the first part is creating a content board! Kapost can manage all of this (looking more on implementing their software)+ 3 key ways marketing is affecting the bottom line (1. how much $ is associated with each campaign; 2. Look back at which content was seen by those accounts/contacts that recently won - and share it with your sales team; 3. Tag/group all content to industries, verticals, buying stages, and department levels)+ Mktg lessons from Vince Gilligan: + the Fresh Address and Normalizer apps (and hundreds of others) can save time/money/even lives+ what a sender score is and how critical that is for email mktg: how content can become great content by humanizing and humoring it up: what Account-Based Mktg is: Live from #EE13: Overview of Day 1 at Eloqua Experience | Blog | Lattice Engines + how 1 simple white paper can become a whole year's worth of campaigns (if targeted correctly) Enjoy a good start to the week after EE'13 and looking forward to our own local EE soon! 
Hey Ed,I agree with a lot of your comments above, but really want to take a closer look at the 'how content can become great by humanizing and humoring it up'.  I really enjoyed Ken Schmidt from Harley Davidson tell his story and talk about how story telling is the key to creating great customers -  no, not customers, he called them disciples - people that spread the word, and normally that is through telling an experience (story) that they had on their Harley.  It was a very motivating talk and would make me think twice regarding the objective of all the content I was building out if it did not tell a story.   Don't forget to take all your learnings and incorporate them into your 2014 plan.  My customer FIS Global came back from EE last year with a list of 25 ideas. They took all these ideas and put them into related topics and then associated them to goals for 2014 and added them into their execution plan. While doing this, they also identified a category for a Markie, and guess what, they won!    I bet you could do the same!  
Thanks Justina Allen-Oracle! The talk by KCOMM and Sinan Kanatsiz on High Impact Internet Marketing provided the background on my note about humanizing and "humoring it up" so to speak. I missed Ken Schmidt's talk unfortunately but you make excellent points and I hope to gain more about his story telling examples from here on topliners and really make that a critical factor in our daily writing and designing.  Creating the plan this week after a series of smaller meetings that were already set before I left! I can see in just the first few meetings how much of an impact EE had on me and is opening things up. Eloqua can provide so much! Thanks for the push and I hope we can have 5+ entries next year with at least 2 finalist appearances. It was awesome to see the other companies gain the recognition of their peers with this year's Markies!