Back in 2019, I wrote a blog about the need to go deeper, rather than wider with your marketing when going to market. That article was aimed at marketing in general with a little bit about content. Now, let’s talk about some ideas on how you can go deeper with your content because, as we all know, relevant content is the most compelling content.
Just having content for the sake of having it is not an effective strategy. Having a very targeted audience is the first (and maybe most important) step in developing content that will engage your audience. Here are some creative ideas for developing and delivering content that gets results.
1. Create a Content Hub
Think about today’s self-guided buyer journey, from awareness to purchase. Is one piece of content really going to serve your prospect at every step of the journey? (Hint: the answer is no!)
Rather than creating a single piece like an eBook, approach your content as a content hub. What is a hub? It’s basically a bill of materials around a central topic. A good content hub will have pillar content – that is your lead magnet (think white paper or eBook) – with additional pieces around that central topic and theme. With this approach, you’ll create a comprehensive content library with something for every stage of the sales cycle.
For example, let’s say you focus on wholesale distribution. You’ve created an eBook around wholesale distribution trends. That’s a great lead magnet and perfect for generating interest and awareness (top of funnel). In your eBook, one of the six trends is shorter delivery windows. You have a solution that helps manage logistics and allows distributors to get their goods to market through internal and external fleets more quickly. A case study of a customer who implemented your solution and decreased their time to market is taking the reader deeper, adding credibility (since you are showing that you can do what you say you can do) and it’s more focused on middle to bottom of funnel. Building on that might be videos and demos showing that functionality or data sheets with detailed specs.
2. Create a Content Franchise
Another way to go deeper with your content and show more value and thought leadership is with a content franchise. Think of franchises like Marvel or DC. A content franchise is the same – except that you are building your franchise through different types of content.
A content franchise is to some extent about branding, but it’s the type of branding that helps you build trust with your audience. They come to expect a certain level of information and insights from that franchise and, as such, they stay engaged.
Content Franchise Examples
The idea of content franchises (or at least referring to them that way) seems to have come from LinkedIn. They have an excellent content franchise that started a number of years ago with an eBook, The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn. Every year they updated it. It was a great piece that had a lot of downloads every time it was re-republished, so they saw the opportunity to extend that. Using a “sophisticated marketers” brand, they added podcasts, a magazine, a blog, and other elements. Content in this franchise now has its own hub on LinkedIn and I highly recommend this resource for anyone marketing on LinkedIn.
We’ve created our own content franchise at The Partner Marketing Group called Marketing Matters. This started with a series of videos all under 10 minutes offering education and tips around different marketing topics. We expanded that into quick tip sheets. For us, the Marketing Matters brand represents short, topic-specific, educational tips or tricks for technology marketers we can apply to any medium.
You can also create franchises around people. Let’s say you have a subject matter expert on a topic. You might build a franchise around their content, or around an executive who has deep industry experience.
3. Create Original Research Content
One of the most compelling types of content is original research. It really builds your credibility as an expert with your target audience. As a central part of a content hub or franchise, it can support the building of dozens of additional pieces including webinars, data-driven social media posts, infographics, etc. I do consider this “next level” content. It’s not easy to do, but it’s also NOT out of the reach of most small to medium marketing teams.
As an example, every year we survey hundreds of technology partners to get their insights into technology marketing trends. Our Technology Marketing Benchmarks and Trends Report is our most downloaded piece of content year over year. From our report, we have created a number of webinars, blogs, and articles. We share key data points and findings on social media and host educational sessions for clients and publishers around challenges that are identified through the survey. Yes, this can be time-consuming but, once you’ve created one piece, you start to have the connections, processes, and tools in place to do others. It gets easier the more you create.
4. Partner for Success
There is a lot of work in creating compelling content so working with others can reduce the burden and give you better quality pieces. Original research is a great piece to partner on by the way. You will increase the number of potential respondents since each partner will send the survey out. The same applies to bringing in influencers with a following.
If you’re not ready for a survey, bring in an industry thought leader or complementary partner for an eBook where you all provide input and insight. You can look for influencers and other non-competitive partners, ISV’s, customers, vendors, and services firms (marketing, accounting, legal, etc.). Search LinkedIn to find influencers likely to work with you. Who is writing articles on topics your customers care about? The same holds true of speakers at conferences you are attending.
5. Be Mindful of Distribution
As you’re planning and building your content, make sure you’re keeping distribution top of mind. Content is quite the investment so be sure you get as many eyes on it as possible.
List out all the ways you are currently distributing content and then think about how the approach you’re taking may help broaden the distribution.
For example, creating a page for a franchise means you can cross-link content. Someone receiving an email about your eBook may find other content more compelling you can direct them to. A content experience platform like Uberflip can help you further enhance engagement and start having better conversations. If you’re partnering on a piece, create a joint content distribution strategy with your partners.
Consider each piece of content in your hub as you build your distribution strategy. What is its role in the sales cycle? When and where will it have the most impact?
Going Deeper with Your Content Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
The Partner Marketing Group specializes in planning, creating, designing, and distributing targeted and compelling content for the technology industry. We can help you build your brand and ensure your content investment is working for you every single day. Get in touch to learn more about our content services and programs for software and technology companies of all sizes.