Last week, we shared a glimpse at our newest Navigate video – a discussion on content marketing featuring author, strategist and CEO Ardath Albee. Today we’ll offer a few more of her observations on where companies go wrong in their strategy and how they can amplify the power of their content programs.
We’ll start with a strategy that’s a major shift for many teams: content marketing is really content marketing & sales.
Old-school marketers still divide the buying process into two realms. Marketing guides the majority of the buyer’s journey and then turns it over to sales for the final stage. They’ve carried that disconnected mentality into content creation as well, which is why we have so many sales reps saying, “I have no idea how to use or even find your content – and the pieces I have seen aren’t relevant at all.” Ardath helps marketers bring sales into the conversation earlier. Once they understand how the story plays out across the buying journey, sales can prospect with greater insight and power – and marketers can stop wasting their time creating assets that will never be used.
Long form content is as important as ever.
With so many flashy digital mediums at our disposal, a lot of marketers are focusing on creating shorter content – ads, videos and quick assets that can be pumped across multiple channels. Many also share a pervasive feeling that the market for ebooks and white papers is saturated. So I asked Ardath if there’s still a place for long form content in our fast-moving world. Her answer: absolutely, especially when it comes to solving complex problems. Yes, it involves more effort and higher production costs, but those are the content pieces that get discussed and shared precisely because they do offer so much practical advice.
It’s time to retire the campaign concept and think in terms of continuous stories.
One of the more interesting parts of our conversation concerned Ardath’s feelings on campaigns. This is a concept that is embedded so deeply into our marketers’ collective psyche that few of us have considered how poorly it serves our interests. Having a start and stop date may be convenient for us, but it doesn’t work for the prospect who finds the conversation ending just as he’s noticing our content and getting interested in pursuing a solution. What we’re really doing is rendering ourselves irrelevant – because we stop talking about what matters to the buyer at the exact moment he needs more information. This is why you hear so many marketers complain that their content isn’t motivating buyers to act. The content just doesn’t connect the dots to escort the reader through the funnel. The solution: continuing the story across the buying process. Don’t forget to check out all of Ardath’s content marketing tips in the rest of the series.