During the MarketingProfs B2B Forum a few weeks ago, we caught up with several content marketing thought leaders to get their take on the biggest challenges facing content marketers today, best-in-class solutions, and the role of curation in addressing these challenges. Watch the complete video below or read highlights from our discussion.
Several of the experts we talked to cited sustaining content creation over the long haul as a key challenge. Jeannine Rossignol, VP marketing communications at Xerox, says the initial challenge was understanding their brand’s target audience and what was important to that audience. Then came the task of maintaining the flow of content. “How are we going to sustain it so it’s relevant, engaging, and targeted?” she points out.
Often, content creation is delegated to only one or two employees who many burn out over time due to the constant need to feed the content beast, points out Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing. “Folks can feel like they’ve run out of ideas,” he says.
Jon Miller, VP of Marketing and cofounder at Marketo, echoes this point, adding that it’s also challenging to create compelling thought leadership that says something new to elevate your brand. He also mentions the difficulty of “creating enough variety and types of content to engage broad audiences at different stages of the buying cycle.” This relates directly to how marketers focus too much on talking about themselves and their own brands, supporting the notion to stop egocentric marketing.
But while these companies face similar challenges, their marketing pros have different approaches to overcoming them. Rob Yoegel, Content Marketing Director at Monetate, stresses the importance of hiring someone with writing abilities and subject matter knowledge rather than simply hiring a journalist to tackle content marketing.
Rossignol says when Xerox examined the company’s case studies, they realized that they weren’t telling them from the customers’ perspective. Instead of writing up case studies in a challenge/solutions/results template, they started interviewing customers more and inviting them to blog about the issues they’re facing. The result? Now it’s completely from their perspective. This approach is a great content marketing technique to provide different opinions, and to market your brand through the voice of your customer. Combining both the company perspective and the customer prospective allow the buyer to understand the full breadth of your offering.
Miller suggests approaching content marketing from multiple angles: creating your own content, reaching out to third-party writers through online marketplaces, and curating content. “Go out and find really good content, and curate it with your own commentary to create a holistic view of all the different kinds of content you might want,” he says.
Of course, “any content a brand publishes should be aligned with its customers”, as Odden points out. “Tap into the stories that will connect with solving problems for customers and at the same time communicate the value you bring as a brand,” he says. Communities can be “never-ending sources of ideas to fuel your content marketing efforts.”
Using Curation to Address Content Marketing Challenges
Several of these experts stressed the importance of content curation as part of a best-in-class content marketing program. Miller says it’s especially useful during the relationship-nurturing phase. As an example, he mentions someone he’s known for a couple of years who periodically sends links to articles in the New York Times or the Economist and adds a little bit of his own commentary. “It’s an incredibly powerful way to maintain the relationship,” Miller says. Curation is also helpful in reaching multiple customer personas at multiple stages of the buying process.
Curation plays a critical part in content marketing’s goal to become a publisher in your target market, according to Yoegel. “Your can’t do it all,” he says. “You have to curate the best content from different websites and publishers and put that out to your customers.”
When Xerox began publishing a new magazine around the theme of optimism, Rossignol says the company partnered with Forbes to “help tell the story and give us permission to play with our targeted audience.” She says the combination of the original and curated content “gives our prospective clients a fuller picture” of the topics they read about.
Are you faced with similar challenges at your organization? We’d love to hear from you and learn how you overcame your content marketing challenges. Please post a comment below or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we may feature you in an upcoming post.
Who doesn’t love a little content marketing coverage?