Contrary to popular belief, marketing automation is not a magic bullet for all that is wrong with your lead generation efforts.
Don’t get me wrong, marketing automation is awesome (hell, I’ve built a career around a love for it) and it can make your sales and marketing efforts more amazing than ever before. But—and yes, it’s a big but, because I like big buts—it cannot make up for bad strategy and poor execution.
If you’re squirming in your seat right now, then you already know. You’re likely taking shortcuts and expecting your marketing automation platform to be successful, when you haven’t put the appropriate foundation in place to help facilitate that success. At the cornerstone of that proverbial lack of foundation is content, or just as bad, bad, misaligned content.
Remember our blog post about not being lazy? Same principle applies—you’ve got to do it right from the get-go. Your content demands its own strategy and the resources to execute it. A good marketing automation system will never replace a solid content strategy. Remember the holy trinity: right message at the right time to the right audience. That “right message” part is pretty vital to the whole operation. So what can you do it about it?
Come up with a plan. Here’s a novel idea: plan out your content. Yeah, really. Draw up an editorial calendar and fill it with topics. Leave some gaps to add more timely topics as new things come up, but have a general plan for the year so you’re not scrambling to throw together some crappy e-book because you haven’t produced anything in a while.
Set objectives and actually follow them. Get your team together to come up with objectives for your content. Do you want to generate more leads? Get timely content before your competition? Whatever your objectives, get them down on paper. And then… actually produce TOWARDS those goals. It might seem obvious, but if you want to generate leads, bottom of the funnel content should not be your focus. Make sure your content meets the needs of your business, or you’re back to creating for the sake of creating, instead of having a purposeful content funnel.
Dedicate resources. Someone’s gotta write the stuff. And it needs to be good. Find someone within your organization, or consider hiring a freelancer to produce your content. Good content development takes time, research and skill. It shouldn’t be the intern’s job.
Be interesting. Don’t just trot out the same stuff everyone else is saying. Have your own opinion or point of view. Add something new to the conversation. Look for emerging trends, or see what your customers are saying on social media and mine those interactions for content gold.
Make it pretty. Sure, it may be what’s on the inside that counts but if your content is ugly and poorly designed, you’re not going to have a whole lot of takers. Invest in some design help, even if it’s just to create some templates. Jump on the infographic bandwagon and start creating some cool visual stories.
Analyze and change. Track the engagement of every piece of content you deliver and evaluate the results. See what works and what doesn’t and try to figure out why—is it the topic, the channel or the timing? Then, make adjustments to see if you can get better results from poor performers.
There you have it – the secrets of creating good content. Okay, maybe they don’t technically qualify as “secrets” but they will help you develop campaigns and materials that maximize the power of your marketing automation system. Really. You’ll see.
Meet Justin Gray
Justin is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest revenue operations agency having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. Justin has made a career of launching successful companies and scaling them, with successful exits of over 200MM+ in the last decade. Justin’s latest endeavor launched in 2016 when he co-founded Six Bricks an online learning startup designed to combat employee and customer churn through experience-based education. Over the past 10 years, Justin has emerged as a strong voice for entrepreneurship, marketing and culture. As a recognized speaker, Justin has been published over 350 times in industry publications and holds his own column, Tribal Knowledge in Inc., while writing for Entrepreneur, Tech Crunch and others. Justin and his wife Jennifer met over marketing and three years later welcomed their son, Grayson, into the world in April of 2017.