1. Modular Content Creation vs. Traditional and Structured Content Approaches

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      As content marketing practices mature, organizations look for new ways to gain advantages and improve content performance. One of the most elusive tactics is to optimize content for audience and situation relevance. Numerous studies have shown business outcomes improve significantly when content delivers highly targeted, useful and relevant insights to audiences. Yet marketers currently struggle to produce content tailored even to relatively simple relevance factors, such as specific industry verticals or personas. Demand campaigns and nurture tracks seldom are targeted to those factors. Lack of data, list segmentation and relevant content are three primary reasons we usually hear. As marketers move beyond content for marketing tactics, and step up to support sales and the sales channel’s content requirements, the ability to deliver highly targeted, situation-relevant content will be an essential capability. Sales engagement is essentially a one-to-one activity. When B2B buying teams are made up of 5 to 6...
  2. Theory of Postponement and Content Marketing

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    The theory of postponement is well understood in the supply chain and manufacturing world.  With solutions that have several variants, or that require customization, the process is designed to postpone adding variant features or customizations until the last possible moment.  Common sub-assemblies may be built to stock, but variants are built to order, and are assembled just before they ship.  Think of the genius in the Dell custom PC supply chain. Content creation in this era, where buyer relevance is a core principle, should leverage that same postponement philosophy.  The “new producers” on the front line of business – marketing campaign developers, bloggers, inside sales, presales, direct sales and channel partners should be able to custom assemble content just as it is needed.  They should be able to do this every day without consuming their day. To do this requires content that is pre-produced in a modular fashion that anticipates...
  3. Content Publishing vs. Traditional “Point Production” Process

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      People regularly ask me to clarify the differences and reasons for adopting a content publishing process rather than the traditional point production process. The publishing process is at the core of our Leveraged Content Supply Chain ideas. Here is a simple list of reasons. We believe organizations face new content requirements that a publishing oriented creation process best addresses because: Content must be relevant to each buyer and their situation, vs. “one size fits all” Content must educate, create a vision and inspire vs. pitch features and benefits This means a dramatic increase in the volume of content to create which breaks down with traditional approaches We must reduce the burden on subject experts (SMEs) and change their role in creating content Content creation must become a planned asset development and maintenance process vs. an event driven, “one-and-done” approach Content creation is moving from centralized, “professional” creators to “new...
  4. Customer Interviews for Marketing and Selling Content

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    At our recent sales and marketing breakfast we had an excellent conversation on customer — and video — interviews. As a result, I suspected that most B2B marketing professionals don’t have a successful framework for thinking about, much less acquiring, effective customer interviews for marketing and selling content. Follow on conversations with organizations large and small confirmed my suspicions. What’s the ‘Job’ of Recorded Customer Interviews? What do you call them? Success stories? Testimonials? Case studies?  What is the “come from” behind your approach? What is your primary intent? To have your customer tell your prospects things about you that you can’t (or shouldn’t) tell yourself? Or are you “coming from” a perspective of “helping buyers make effective buying decisions” by getting your customers to share insights that address specific buying questions — by role, issue, buying stage, solution alternative? What is the “job” recorded customer interviews are expected to do? How do these expectations differ...
  5. Content Marketing Best Practices from Joe Pulizzi

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    Hubspot Inbound Now Video Interview also a Case Study In How to Create Content Like a Publisher Whether you are new to content marketing or an advanced practitioner you can learn something from the recent Hubspot Inbound Now interview with Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 and founder of the Content Marketing Institute. Anytime I can hear or read Joe’s insights it’s a worthwhile time investment. The Hubspot process is an excellent example of thinking and creating content like a publisher: Be a resource for new ideas and insights Acquire content by interviewing subject experts Use audio and video as acquisition methods (more than just interview) Transcribe the audio Offer the content in multiple formats for consumption convenience: text, audio and video Amplify — in this case they blogged about the interview for another distribution method Promote — others will help you do this   Inbound Now #16 – Content Marketing Best Practices...
  6. Keeping PowerPoint in Perspective

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    A recent New York Times article — We Have Met the Enemy and He is PowerPoint — is the latest in a (seemingly) never-ending series of articles deriding the tool. This is a good opportunity to move from the “cool” perspective of bashing PowerPoint, to consider it’s significant possibilities — even for content professionals. For over twelve years we have recommended a different perspective. Rather than view PowerPoint as a bullet-oriented presentation tool — it’s initial purpose — we suggest viewing it as a business graphic development, and even general communication tool. Training organizations have long embraced PowerPoint as a foundation for e-learning. Where would marketing webinars be without PowerPoint? As a production tool for general business people, nothing beats it and that’s why it’s so pervasive. But what of more “professional” users? A Tool for the Content Marketing Professional Consider the following marketing and sales content requirements facing most...
  7. How to Think Like a Publisher

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    In 1982 I joined Ziff Davis publishing company in a special group that Bill Ziff set up to figure out how to migrate his print publishing empire into electronic publishing. This experience fundamentally changed my thinking and my life path. It taught me how to think like a publisher. Content marketing thought leaders today are regularly instructing us to think like a publisher. When I ask people to explain what this really means and, more importantly, how they would create content like publishers, they typically respond with blank stares. Those familiar with the way many websites are supported by content management systems have some familiarity with this concept. But this doesn’t inform the creation process. How does the CMS analogy help our understanding of creating like publishers? Publishers separate the major tasks involved in producing finished work products. The database is key to this approach. A content management system is...
  8. Applying a publishing process to training content

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    At Marketo University yesterday I presented a training program around how companies can apply Marketo’s recently released program management functionality to get more out of their events. My recommended approach to program management entails creating a “master event program template” which contains all of the rules and data-driven email and landing page templates. This saves time and operationalizes best practices around events, while creating a program performance report that measures event success. The original request from Marketo was to create materials for Marketo University – a training point production. Our “Create Like a Publisher” process says, however, that content creation should follow a programmatic approach, and consider multiple purposes when making the time and resource investment to create content. Said another way — rather than repurpose content after the fact, which is inefficient, create it right the first time. So in following this create like a publisher process, we created: a 30-minute on-demand...
  9. Pre-produce content so it’s there when you need it (like when the Earth shakes)

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    Yesterday’s earthquake presented one of our customers with an example of the importance and impact of creating and managing modular video assets. We work with our customers to help them create content like publishers in order to accelerate their customers’ buying process, and one of the key fundamentals is pre-producing content across a variety of topics (not to mention – roles, buying stages, industry and other factors), so that “it’s ready when you need it.” Our customer Building Engines is a software-as-a-service for managing real estate operations. Natural disasters such as an earthquake have significant ramifications for a building manager including the need to notify and update tenants across multiple communications channels, track and manage these communications, and for operations staff to file incident reports. With the news of the earthquake reverberating on Tuesday, Building Engines was able to leverage their content to contribute to the conversation, share and generate attention. As background, we...
  10. How I Created Content Like a Publisher When Speaking at Bentley University

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    This coming week I have two presentations at Bentley University – first, guest lecturing at Terry Skelton’s class Fundamentals of Content Development as part of the Information Design & Corporate Communication department, and then speaking to Marketing and IDCC majors as part of a spotlight for careers in digital content marketing, hosted by Alyssa Hammond. To prepare, I followed a process that we use with our customers to ensure that both speakers and audience get the most out of an event experience, by creating content like a publisher. My presentation includes an overview of B2B Sales & Marketing today – concepts such as inbound marketing, content marketing, digital body language, marketing automation, lead management and the revenue engine. Then I explain how Avitage takes the concepts and puts them into practice through a specific approach and set of processes. Finally I review customer examples and recent case studies with BNA...

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