My colleague Damon featured me on an episode of our podcast, Leadspace Radio, discussing how to create a content marketing plan for a B2B startup. One of my key pieces of advice is to create content once and adapt it for as many media as possible. So now I have to write a blog post about the podcast. I suppose I could make an infographic about it and share it on Snapchat, or tweet a Vine. Anyway.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced in my first month at Leadspace has been to balance building a plan with creating content and keeping the machine turning. (Also Dreamforce.) It’s easy to get drawn into the tech aspects and shiny objects. For instance, our blog does not yet have an easy way to create a call to action (CTA), so I’ve been creating them myself in a simple graphic design app called Canva. It’s fun. I am a keen amateur designer. But it’s not the best use of my time.
Here’s the stuff I should be doing:
Understand the key goals of the business
Sounds obvious, but it isn’t always, and it’s usually not black and white. “Do you want to build awareness of the company among prospects?” you ask your CEO. “Yes, of course!” she replies. “But we also want to drive leads and attract investors and tell our story to bloggers and journalists and promote our position as a technology leader and attract the best talent.”
Get that all in a list, get it prioritized and get agreement on it from every stakeholder.
Define your key metrics
Once you’ve prioritized your… priorities, how will you know if you’re achieving them, and how will you communicate your success in ways your leadership will care about? Here are two made-up stats:
- Our content drove 1892 unique visits to the website last month
- Our content drove 129 leads last month, resulting in $3.2M in opportunities
Which one would you rather have in your back pocket at your next performance review? Whenever you think you’ve got a key metric refined as
Make sure you can track them
You’d be amazed how many companies I’ve encountered — large and small — who can’t actually tell you with any degree of certainty what happens after they capture an email address from an interested prospect. Even if your CMO tells you what happens to the leads your content will generate, he might be wrong. Somewhere down the hall or two floors below (or sitting across from you) is the person who can tell you what’s broken.
We’ve got all the right tools and processes in place at Leadspace, but there’s still a lot we can do to make sure we get all the useful data about our content performance. We’re working with Cloud Kettle to help us get our tracking, Google Analytics, Salesforce integration and related stuff all shipshape and Bristol fashion. (They’re in Halifax, Nova Scotia, so I guess that’s why I’m compelled to use outdated British nautical colloquialisms.)
But seriously, get all your tracking and measurement tools in place now. Once you’re cranking out content and driving leads, you’ll be too busy cashing checks (booyah) to go back and fix it, and it’s a task that only gets more daunting the longer it’s ignored.
Understand your customer
Again, sounds simple and obvious, but go through the process of identifying your customer personas (or personae if you’re feeling Latinate). What are their titles, what is the profile of the businesses they work in, what keeps them awake at night?
You can always go deeper and get better information to help you reach them (by using Leadspace, for instance), but that’s for down the road. Start by understanding who they are, what they care about and how you can speak in a way that makes sense to them.
Has somebody in your company already done this work? Lots of companies say they understand their customer personas. Make sure it includes the information you need as a content marketer. And make sure it’s up-to-date. Businesses, especially startups, change focus as the market changes.
That’s enough to get you started. More later once I’ve figured out what I’m doing next.