As I write this I just finished a keynote presentation at a transportation and logistics conference. Depending on my schedule and timing, sometimes I just run in, do the speech, and run out. For this event, however, I had the chance to have intimate conversations with a number of marketers at the largest transportation brands in the world.
More often than not for my posts on CMI, I usually take one big idea and break it down into something actionable. This time, based on my conversations at this conference, I realized that sometimes we need a few reminders to keep us on track as content marketers. I hope this list is helpful.
1. Are you actually telling a different story? Is your content truly differentiated, or is it just like everyone else’s content?
ACTION ITEM: Perform an audit of your content for each of your target audiences. What’s your mission for each audience? If you delivered content consistently to that audience, can you position your company as the leading expert in that particular topic area?
2. Are you consistent in your delivery channels? Is your newsletter delivered at the same time each week? How about your YouTube videos? What about your blog posts?
ACTION ITEM: Take the next few weeks and outline your current distribution schedule. If you are not consistent, adjust until you are predictably delivering information in every channel.
3. Give more time and attention to your newsletter. Is it truly amazing or is it something your customers consider “salesy” or spam? Of all the subscription options we have with our customers, including all social channels, email is where we have the most control over messaging.
ACTION ITEM: Make some hard decisions with your newsletter. Is it focused on just one audience? Is it truly valuable? Does it contain unique information that your audience can’t get anywhere else?
4. Do you know if your email subscribers behave differently than the other customers in your database?
ACTION ITEM: Start figuring out what the people who engage regularly with your content do differently than those who do not. This could be as easy as overlaying your audience database with your customer database.
5. Make a decision NOT to take a content marketing approach to certain audiences. You most likely don’t have the resources to communicate valuable information consistently to all the audiences you target.
ACTION ITEM: Decide which audiences should not be targeted by your content marketing strategy in the next year. It’s OK to use other types of marketing, like direct mail or traditional advertising, to communicate with these particular audiences. However, be focused on your most important audiences and make the hard choices.
6. Create incentive programs for your employees to get email subscribers.
ACTION ITEM: Deliver some monetary reward or create a contest for employees who deliver the most email subscribers. Be sure to include customer service and your sales teams.
Create incentive programs for your employees to get #email subscribers says @joepulizzi
7. Communicate regularly with your customer service and sales teams.
ACTION ITEM: Develop a weekly email update to each team regarding content you have that they can use to do their jobs better.
8. Make a list of your key competitors for each audience you target. Include media companies, bloggers, influencers, and competitors.
ACTION ITEM: Take that list and carve out the top five for each audience. Then work with your team and mark each one with the following – do nothing, reach out for partner possibilities, consider purchasing. On that last point, take a look at Arrow Electronics and its recent acquisitions. This is what the present and future look like with brands buying media companies. There is a real opportunity for an any-sized company to buy its way into content niches.
9. Consider the future. Robert Rose and I talked about the future quite a bit on our latest podcast. Much of that revolved around what Pepsi is doing with its content group, which was followed up a few weeks later by Mondelez. Sure, both brands are investing heavily in content, but they are taking a unique approach of building their marketing group, at least partially, as a profit center. I believe, in the future, all innovative marketing teams will be partially self-funded.
ACTION ITEM: Start to think about what this means for you now. Is content marketing as a profit center a possibility? How do we make this happen? What partnerships do we need to start developing to fund the marketing team’s work? Obviously, this is the Red Bull Media House model. While Red Bull self-funds its content marketing initiative, I think all brands have the opportunity to generate revenue to further content projects and/or acquisitions.
Are there any actions that you believe content marketers need to be taking now? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute