Get More Eyes on Your Content with Influencer Amplification

March 1, 2019 | Justin Gray | No Comments |

Content Marketing Isn’t Enough

You’ve got a content strategy. And an editorial calendar. And you’re churning out blogs every week. You might feel pretty good about all of this until… you realize you’re lost in a sea of ‘sameness.’ Content marketing is no longer revolutionary; it’s table stakes. The self-published news cycle seed has been sown and now everyone and their sister have commandeered the bully pulpit that is content marketing. It’s become commoditized, serialized, sanitized – until it’s all just noise. Today, to succeed with content, you need amplification.

Amplification, or in other words, how you position content you’ve created to actually reach a larger and more qualified audience – seems elusive. It’s not; it’s actually pretty straightforward. On the border of easy. But wait, we’ll get there. After a few key points…

Buyers Have Lost Trust

The massive noise caused by content saturation has left buyers (your buyers) overwhelmed and frankly with little trust. After all ‘content’, the moniker for all things messaging, was supposed to help them become more informed. But we polluted it with the same age-old volume over value tendency that marketing just can’t seem to quit. Quality became secondary and suddenly our customer no longer knows where they can go to get accurate, insightful, helpful information because it feels like they’re constantly being marketed to (and they probably are).

Think about it: the initial wave of content marketing was really vendor-centric. Industry leaders like Marketo and HubSpot were first on the scene with valuable content focused on helping to make their audiences better marketers and business leaders. Everyone was happy. But then everyone else caught on to this strategy, and now simply having a voice is no longer enough.

The Rise of Influencers

So how has content changed? The rise of influencers (true influencers, not self-proclaimed “ninjas”) have completely upended content consumption. Before these influential thought leaders were sharing unique perspectives and telling compelling, honest stories, traditional analysts were the go-to source for information. But fast-forward to today, and while analysts still have a very valuable place, consumers today are seeking out organizations and influencers (like TOPO) who pull back the curtain on real businesses and giving actionable advice about how to replicate their success.

This is what buyers are looking for today. They’re asking, “Who out there looks like me and is doing something that’s working?” And then they want a clear step-by-step to follow in order to adopt those best practices. Modern influencers are always on the cusp of trends, can reveal these insider stories and can keep audiences engaged and on their toes.

The Holy Grail of Amplification

If you want to know the two undeniable secrets of content amplification today, here they are: speed-to-market and quality. Quality is self-explanatory, I should hope, but speed-to-market matters nearly equally because of the 24/7 innovation cycle that’s the norm now.

Scrappier organizations and individual influencers can disperse stories and insights quickly, while larger organizations are weighed down by legality and red tape. The bigger companies that were once dominating in the content world have lost their ability to move quickly and retain a carefree approach to what they share, giving influencers a significant leg up in the most effective type of evolved content marketing.

Getting Started with Amplification

Here’s what I’ve learned about content amplification that you can take and adapt immediately.

1. Figure out what you can say that others aren’t saying.

So, you’re an expert at {{insert topic here}}. Great – so are several hundred other folks. This doesn’t mean you don’t have worthwhile insights to add to the conversations, but it does mean that your odds of saying something completely new are very slim. Here’s what I recommend. Limit the replicable stuff to a paragraph, maybe two max. You mention it, you show you know what you’re talking about and then you move on.

Then carve out the rest of each content piece to say something nobody else can. Think about it like this. People can expound upon strategic concepts all day long, but what can you bring to the table that no one else is saying? Do some quick research (yes, I mean take it to Google). Find out who’s talking about your area of expertise. What are they leaving out? Take it upon yourself to fill in the gaps based on real-world experience or stories of success. Storytelling still captivates like none other.

As I mentioned before, it’s incredibly powerful to include a real use case in your content pieces whenever you can. That’s something no one else can share, at least not in the same way, and that’s what your buyer almost certainly wants. Give an example of what {{insert company here}} did in this type of situation. If you include the actual steps they went through, your reader can imagine how to reproduce that for themselves. That’s the kind of content that will get read, acted upon, shared and shared some more. That’s priceless and bears returns beyond search, advertising or any paid channel.

2. Make it accessible.

Yep. I said it – and I meant it. You can’t gate every single piece of content you produce or go light on the information you share if you want to amplify your message. Instead, look where other people are drawing the line in their information-sharing, and go 20% past that. Give more than somewhere else is willing to give and go deeper than someone else is willing to go. It’ll be refreshing to your buyer, and make you stand apart from the rest of the crowd that isn’t freely helping their buyer. Our CMO, Andrea, just debated this very topic with the guys at Databox here.

3. Partner strategically with the right influencers.

Unfortunately, building great content doesn’t mean readers will come. It is a start, but your next step is to find out who you can partner with (or feature) that will expose you to a new audience. This has to be an intentional process, based on your market.

Let’s take LeadMD as an example. We know we want to sell our ABM services, because our customers are talking about it. And, we want to create great content that solves their ABM problems. Our goal then is to tap into who people are paying attention to in ABM conversations. Then we can start a dialogue with those influencers, invite them to contribute their opinions in a content piece, tag them and ask for feedback on a recent blog post or explore a paid relationship. They have to be the right influencers for your buyers and goals. For us, we partner with ABM thought leaders like Jon Miller, Sangram and The Funnelholic.

4. Commit for the long haul.

It’s easy to get excited and stay committed enough to garner some initial attention. But then life happens, you’re busy and you just can’t maintain it for long. In order to be successful with content, and content amplification, you’ve got to commit for years to come. Will you still be creating content in a decade? If the answer is no, then save yourself the time and don’t even start. Seriously. Content is best when it’s gardened and pruned for long term success, and it must be gradually built and sustained in order to last.

How Can You Measure Amplification?

In order to get a true sense of what’s working, you have to feel the buzz yourself. That means no auto-publishing platforms, no outsourcing your interaction with the content you produce and share. You’ll know whether your content is serving its purpose when you have your hands in the platform, and you see people commenting on it, liking it and engaging with you. That’s how you keep your finger on the pulse of your progress. A lot of people will disagree with this point and they will be wrong. You can’t shortcut your way to success here.

Tips from Top Amplifiers

Here are my top three absolute content maxims I’ve gathered through my own journey this past 10+ years:

  1. You’ll hear no more than yes… if you’re discouraged by that, you’ll fail.
  2. You need to carve out time intentionally to devote to your content and the corresponding conversations. I block off from 7 AM – 8 AM every morning to check in on the chatter that’s happening, get some thoughts down and be plugged in. I also know and embrace that I’ll be monitoring conversations throughout each day and need to be willing to jump in at 6 PM or any other time if I need to in order to add something meaningful to a discussion.
  3. It’s worth it. It might not seem like it is, but the more you can commit and help other people out, the more dividends it’ll yield you in the long term. I recently saw something online about a person who was struggling with ABM, so I chimed in and offered a relevant piece of content to them. That person ended up reaching out to our sales team and asking to start a conversation. All connections can be good connections, and all amplification is good amplification.

Finally, I want to share some of the influencers that I feel are a level above in content amplification. These people are filling in the gaps of what others aren’t talking about, they’re part of every conversation they need to be part of and they’re people whose content strategies I recommend mirroring…

If you start with these steps, you’ll get the hang of amplification – and the rewards – through consistency over time. Anything worth doing is worth doing intentionally.

How have you seen amplification effect your reach?

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