What’s your strategy for content development?

Content is the new currency. And to demonstrate just how important it is to your marketing efforts, check out a recent survey by Hubspot consisting of over 13,500 of its customers.

Here were some of my biggest takeaways:

  1. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5 times more traffic compared with those that published zero to four monthly posts. 
  2. Smaller companies that published 11 blog posts per month drove significantly higher traffic (3x more) than their counterparts publishing zero to 1 posts per month. 
  3. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got 4.5 times MORE LEADS than companies publishing more than zero to 4 monthly posts. 

And a statistic that throttled me personally was that over 75 percent of Hubspot’s blog views and 90 percent of their blog leads came from OLD POSTS. They go on to demonstrate that companies publishing 401+ blog posts in total got about twice as much traffic as companies publishing 301-400 blog posts.

To put that in perspective, with 200+ business days in a year, blogging once a day will take you almost two years.

No matter how much content you’re currently producing, it’s likely that you need more. A lot more.

What’s the best strategy for creating content that’s going to serve as a demand generation engine? It starts with the understanding that your marketing department is now in the publishing business and it needs to operate as such.

Here are the basics:

Start by finding a good editor.

In the media world, the editor determines the content strategy. They decide what stories get published and when. That strategy is based entirely around what their readers want and not what their advertisers want and good editor is completely in touch with reader interests and maintains that separation of church and state. The same is true when it comes to your prospects. They are your subscribers and you need to be clued in on the types of information that they care about—not what you care about. 

Develop an editorial strategy and calendar

All of your content, whether it be blogs, white papers, videos or graphics need to be assigned to writers and designers. They could be in your internal marketing department, people in your organization with expertise, or they could be external writers such as freelance journalists and content marketing agencies. Don’t forget to make use of guest posts from experts outside your company. And don’t forget to establish deadlines. 

Ifyou’re outsourcing to a content marketing agency, ensure that they employ all of the skill sets necessary to give you a ready-made news room. In my experience, this is the quickest way to get relevant content on your site and producing leads.

Distribute content consistently and to the right demographic

One big advantage that the web has over yesterday’s print publication is that simply publishing on the website will benefit you in the long run. So don’t worry if an one particular blog post doesn’t seem to get a lot of traffic right off the bat. It creates a long tail effect over time once its been crawled by the search engines.

Each post should contain three important elements:

Always include a sharing mechanism (like email and social media sharing). Be sure to post your articles with comments on your social media properties such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+

Provide some type of conversion, like an offer to gated content (i.e. a white paper, webinar link, or an infographic) that allows an interested prospect to go more in-depth into the content--like this:

Provide links to relevant content on your site such as other blogs and pertinent pages. Don’t be shy about providing links to external sites (like my link to Hubspot’s survey at the beginning of this article.) It may seem counterintuitive, but it will help your search results. Have it open in a separate window to keep the reader on your site. 

A publication’s life-blood is its subscriber base—for you, that’s your database. You should constantly be collecting and archiving information in your CRM. Over time, you should be able to see what types of content resonates with different personas and be able to see periods of activity versus inactivity. This information goes a long way in terms of actionable sales intelligence.

Send out your most valuable content in thought leadership campaigns and newsletters. Make sure that the cadence is enough to add value and is not overwhelming to the reader. (Unsubscribes aren’t necessarily bad, but an overabundance definitely is.) Segmenting your database by persona and distributing pertinent content in a targeted fashion is even better.

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