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4 Takeaways from a Good Podcast on Content Marketing

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Survey research suggests almost everyone is doing content marketing these days, but I’m not convinced that’s completely true.  It’s my observation that many marketers have latched on to the term because it’s trendy without really understanding what it means.

I think having some clarity is important so that we’re all working from the same lexicon, which also means we set expectations about what an effective program can do, and what it cannot.

Earlier this month I had the good fortune of being invited as a guest on an episode of The Brand Ambassador’s podcast to cover down on this topic.  Hosts Merritt Hamilton Allen and Gary Potterfield, both of the communications firms Vox Optima, graciously channeled my enthusiasm for the subject matter in a way that makes sense for their audience.

I’ve embedded the recording nearby if you’d like to listen to it on the go.  In addition, in this post, I’ve summarized a few key points that we just touched on in the discussion alongside some related links for further study.

1) What is content marketing versus marketing content?

People tend to understand things in the context of what they already know and we all know marketing content.  Marketing content is what marketing has done forever – marketing generates a report, puts it behind a registration page and then blasts it out all over the web with a CTA to download it.

The hope is that someone gives up their email in exchange.  Marketing sometimes calls these marketing qualified leads (MQL) and hands them off to a sales development representative (SDR) to nurture into a sales qualified leads (SQL).

This is a basic approach to marketing and it can work for some businesses. It’s not inherently a good idea, or a bad, however, it is not content marketing.

Content marketing means publishing useful and relevant content at the same time, in the same place, on a platform you own, and doing it consistently over time in order to build an audience of engaged readers (or viewers or listeners) that trust your advice.

Here are some related pieces I’ve written about this question:

2) What are the key components of content marketing?

An audience that trusts you or your business is incredibly valuable and it should be protected.  Still, sometimes business leaders have trouble making the connection – how does this translate into business?

It translates over the course of four steps:

a) get the audience to visit;
b) provide a reason to come back (subscribe – many businesses overlook this step);
c) give them a chance to raise their hand and become customers; and
d) iterate and improve over time.

This process is not easy and it is not quick – trust is earned not given.  On the other hand, it is cumulative and compounds like interest in a bank account.  Once you build a platform, more opportunities develop.

Here are some related pieces I’ve written about this question:


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3) How do you measure content marketing?

One company I once worked for learned that people that engaged our content were 50% more likely to make a purchase.  Another company I worked for was able to prove that a blog it produced influenced about one-third of enterprise software deals with an average selling price (ASP) in excess of one million dollars.

Those are very compelling measures, but they didn’t happen overnight and took a while to get there.  As such, I recommend content marketers – and PR pros – measure directional metrics along four key categories:

a) visibility;
b) community strength;
c) quality; and
d) marketing impact.

The metrics that you choose for each category can (and should) vary from organization to organization, but this post will give you an idea of how to get started:

If PR means “public relations” and building relations with a community is part of the job description, then content marketing is PR. Content marketing has a role in many of the functions in the public relations purview including media relations, building referenceable customers, webinars, trade shows and the list goes on and on. If it sounds like it overlaps with marketing it does. In fact, the future of marketing looks a lot more like PR.

4) What does content marketing have to do with PR?

If PR means “public relations” and building relations with a community is part of the job description, then content marketing is PR.   Content marketing has a role in many of the functions in the PR purview including media relations, making the most of media relations, building referenceable customers, webinars, trade shows, and the list goes on and on.

If it sounds like it overlaps with marketing it does.  In fact, I believe the future of marketing looks a lot more like PR.

Here are some related pieces I’ve written about this question:

* * *

The full podcast runs about an hour – or about as long as a decent workout.  You can catch the podcast on the major platforms like Stitcher and iTunes.


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Photo credit: Pixabay (CC0 1.0)

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