In their June 19, 2012 blog post the Corporate Executive Board addresses the hot topic of content marketing and specifically lays out what they call “3 Steps to Better Content Marketing”. The first question you might ask is, what is content marketing and how is it different?
Simply put, content marketing is the practice of creating and publishing content that is designed to move prospects (or current customers) through the purchasing funnel by delivering timely “content” that answers the questions they invariably have at different stages of their decision making process. Some of these questions we often hear are:
- What is the problem I’m having and what is it’s impact to me?
- How can you help me prevent it with your solution?
- What are the details of your solution?
- What are my opportunities to see it in action?
You may be thinking, we already make content and launch programs that answer these questions. Indeed, “content marketing” has been around on as long as people have been telling stories about products, but what is new is that it is now a formal discipline with specific research, tools and best practices to support effective execution.
After learning this your next question will likely be — sounds like a significant investment to create all that content, but what is the ROI? While content marketing has a wide range of benefits, one of the most often quoted is the impact on the cost of leads. The chart below — which is an excerpt from the eBook from Eloqua and Kapost which addresses the ROI of content marketing — shows that companies that employ a content marketing strategy see an 80% reduction in the cost/lead. While this figues are impressive the caveat is that they are focused on the B2C space, but emerging evidence shows that B2B implementations show significant cost reductions as well.
ROI of Content Marketing
Ideally, your interest has been peaked and you want to learn more and specifically, what best practices exist? The aforementioned blog post discusses three:
- Get your customers’ permission to speak
- Lead back to your unique benefits
- Integrate content into your other marketing efforts
Specifically on the last point they write:
“When social media was new, many of our members set up teams to focus on Facebook and other social platforms; we found, though, that social must be integrated with the rest of the company’s marketing efforts and coordinated by a Ringmaster (you can read more about our HBR article here).Just like with the advent of social media, most companies are addressing the growth of content marketing by starting a separate content team that doesn’t always report into Marketing. To develop the most effective content marketing, though, companies should take an integrated approach, like they now do with social media.”
If you what to learn more about content marketing best practices and it’s ROI take a look at the blog post which has some good outbound links on the subject and the eBook Content Marketing ROI (eBook By Kapost and Eloqua)