Jean-Marie Bonthous, Seamless Social
Content marketing has become to fuel that sustains lead generation for B2B businesses.
Having a clear content strategy, an editorial calendar, and a solid content production capacity have become prerequisites for building relationships with prospects and customers online.
I attended at the Inbound Marketing Summit 2011 in Boston the presentation by Barry Libert, co-founder of Mzinga and was inspired to share some of his recommendations for developing a stream of quality content.
1) Story trumps all else
Stories are greater than the sums of the facts that they contain. But most organizations have become apt at communication through product talk. “We have a product for you.” Their message is: “what can I sell you.” They don’t know how to tell stories. Where there is no story, there is no authenticity. Customer story is what paves the way for trust-based interaction with your prospects.
2) Prospect-to-prospect sharing trumps business-to-prospect sharing
Many companies are focused on counting views, traffic, but they fail to remember that every fan has 10, 100, 1000 friends. How to crate campaigns that get shaped and shared further, that is the question, rather than campaigns that only get shared one on one.
Make the content super easy to share, embed. Social media optimization is a great way to create content sharing opportunities. It’s all about sharing, not just about views.
3) The medium is not the message
When you say “I love you,” the message used to deliver this message is less important
than the message and the tone. The medium, you actually need be agnostic to. But the message, you have to care all the time, and the message has to be: “I care about you.”
Your employees and customers will understand when the message is not authentic and when it is authentic, they will sense it, also
4) Community creates commerce, not the other way around
You may have a users group, but its really community that creates opportunities to have discussions where products are sold. Communities of shared interest
Why is Trip Advisor so popular: you go there because there are reviews. It’s all user-generated content. And, over time it has morphed into a social commerce site. People there create slide shows, video logs, etc.. TripAdvisor offers tools for people to create more content, which in turn creates more community. And then, in this virtuous cycle, this community becomes the source of the next round of content.
5) Before you start publishing, know your social assets
Your content capital is made of your content assets, and your abilities to curate, program and distribute. Most companies do not know all their assets. They don’t know all the people they touched, the last time they touched them, what they know about them. And they don’t know their content assets: who knows about what and what materials exist that could be repurposed. Companies need to be able to repurpose content in order to maintain the constant stream of interesting of useful information that is necessary to grow traffic.
They are rushing to Facebook and Twitter without knowing the people who are their customers, friends, influencers, and advocates. And many companies are unable to adequately tap the knowledge and relationships assets within their walls and within their ecosystem of partners and suppliers.
When the capital is customers and relationships, not knowing their names, skills, knowledge, connections, preferences, when you last you contacted them, and when you need to rely on them to share the content that will bring you leads…….how limiting is that? If you want to become a social business you first need to know your capital and your capital is made of the skills, knowledge, content and relationships in your ecosystem.
What do you see as the success factors for generating leads and growing revenues through content marketing. We would love to hear your comments
Download the free eBook on content marketing “Creating Content That Sells.”
Photo courtesy of yourdoku, via Creative Commons and Flickr