Answer honestly: when was the last time you bought a product after reading an eBook?
At the risk of offending all of the content marketers out there, let me say this: it makes little to no sense to give 100% credit for a sale to an eBook. But before you start banging down my door, allow me to explain.
I’ll never disagree with the fact that eBooks are great for engagement. They’re great for SEO, great for brand and trust building, and can really help prospects understand a company’s product and industry.
But before you say “this eBook closed a million dollar deal,” let’s be clear: there are probably ten other people, processes, sales reps, and tons of collaboration that drove that prospect from click to close. The eBook’s role in particular is to help you identify potential leads, educate them with helpful content, and get more prospects flowing through the funnel — and this is something to be proud of!
So let’s look at content more holistically (in other words, how does your content really impact your business?). Imagine that your monthly campaign is to target high-tech SMBs in the energy management space with a focus on sales and IT buyers. Here are five ways to make sure your content rocks while still driving business value through the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel:
1. Identify your personas. There’s no way to really target and engage your buyers if you haven’t defined what those target markets are (in this case, sales and IT buyers). And if you’re not targeting and engaging, your content isn’t going to impact revenue to the full extent that it could. At Pardot, we went through a persona development exercise to really nail down our target audience, and this has helped to drive all of our content initiatives moving forward. You can read more about our persona-development process here (and learn why they’re named Sam and Megan!).
2. Create a moving marketing message that you can really get behind. Then, focus on turning that message into a full-blown campaign that can drive your PR efforts, product development, content creation, sales team, and more. For example, if your overarching messaging is to “enjoy ease of use and cut costs with the #1 energy-saving management solution,” you should have a campaign revolving around this messaging.
3. Have your campaign strategy decided on from point number two? Great. Now you can start creating compelling content that you can use in the short- and long-term. Don’t limit yourself to content that can only be used immediately. Put some resources into creating evergreen content that can be used to fuel your campaign over time. Your message isn’t going to spread to your audience overnight. When it comes to content and marketing messages, you’re in it for the long haul.
4. Turn your customers into “heroes” by creating customer stories that support your content and your campaign messaging. Marketing evangelists are some of the most powerful resources at your disposal due to the credibility they carry — so don’t be afraid to let them take your marketing message even further. In the case of our example marketing campaign, focus on creating customer stories specific to IT and sales buyers, so that your content is even more relevant to your target market. Our marketing team at Pardot has worked hard to create video and written testimonials to showcase our clients’ experiences, and we would recommend any other company do the same! (You can check out videos done by clients like Emory Healthcare and more by clicking here).
5. Repurpose the heck out of your content. There are more channels out there than we can imagine, and your customers are only getting pickier about the types of content they digest — and where they digest it. Be prepared for this by turning each piece of content you create into several pieces that can be used across channels. For example, a white paper can easily be broken down into a series of blog posts, a few short social postings, a video, or a series of graphics. Know where your customers are and what they’re looking for, then provide it!
Here’s a quick guide to get you started with your content promotion, so that you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts:
Now, when you’re ready to measure the impact of your content, think about your campaign ROI holistically. How did your content contribute? Did it serve as a touchpoint for prospects during the sales process? What other campaign components helped to drive pipe? Taking this approach to content measurement will allow the sales and marketing teams to align their objectives and better understand their goals at any given time.
Don’t forget to report on your content efforts religiously. If you fail, you fail fast. But if you succeed, you’re well on your way to becoming a content rockstar! And as always, be sure to check out our full Content Creation Guide by clicking on the banner below.