The Tactical Truth about Content Marketing

Imagine that you’re planning your next product launch — and it’s going to be big. As the product marketing manager, you’re excited to focus squarely on acquiring new leads for a venture into a new market, but there’s a twist: You have lots of education to do at the top of the funnel to get new customers interested in this new, different product. How do you make that happen? Sure, there’s plenty of brand equity you can rely on and you can hope for the best. After all, you’re part of a company that’s been around for over 20 years with rock-solid results. But now you have to get customers to think about your brand in a new way, and none of your old case studies or promotional materials fit the bill.

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The answer, you realize, is a serious investment in content marketing.

It’s the buzzword of the year: From top consumer brands to major B2B players, from agencies to small businesses, everyone is talking about content marketing. Whether it’s white papers, featured articles, blog posts, infographics, videos, or dozens of other tactics, relevant content marketing can educate potential consumers; fuel brand value; generate quality leads; boost authority; and communicate core messages.

But it’s easy to talk the talk about content marketing. Anyone can say they’ll turn their marketing department into a lead-generating, loyalty-boosting, kick-butt-content-king.

Walking the walk, however, isn’t easy. Dreams of content greatness can quickly morph into in-the-trenches nightmares with overwhelming commitments to creating dozens of content pieces, each of which requires planning, writing, editing, proofreading and graphic design, not to mention the sign-off and say-so of several stakeholders. Without the right tools to optimize content workflow and collaboration, you can easily start to feel like you’re feeding a hungry content “beast” rather than implementing a thoughtful strategy.

So what does that mean for your team, which must plan, produce, and disseminate high-quality content to meet your product marketing goals? How can you develop a content production machine that runs smoothly? How can you get feedback and insights on results so you can publish content that drives results?

Social business technologies allow you to take your big content marketing ideas to the next level by going beyond high-level strategy to tactical tips for the trenches. Here’s the bottom line on what you truly need to get a handle on content marketing for a powerful product launch, brand awareness campaign or thought leadership effort:

1. A central hub where all content participants can plan.

Successful content marketing involves a variety of participants, depending on the project. There are the marketing folks, of course, but there might be a freelance writer and contracted graphic designer. Product, sales and PR teams might need to be looped in. An outside agency may need a seat at the table. External partners might be part of the dissemination process. Best-of-breed social business technologies allow you to create central workplaces where all stakeholders can come together and have total visibility into everything related to the project. With Jive for Marketing’s Purposeful Places, for example, pre-built templates let you speedily bring together all the people, tools, info and content you need for a project in one central workspace. And most importantly there’s a specific template for collateral development that helps teams get cracking quickly.

2. Better document collaboration.

Once you start growing your content marketing, it’s easy to find yourself stuck in quicksand-like endless email threads, multiple attachments, out-of-sync versions and frustrated participants. It’s like trying to be your own publisher without a newsroom setup. You need unified document collaboration so versions stay under control, co-authoring and commenting is easy and integrates with existing tools. Jive has a full-featured text editor, for instance, or Jive for Office turns Microsoft Office into a real-time document collaboration platform.

3. Easy access to subject matter experts.

Maybe you have to put together a slew of new, quality content pieces for that product launch. Or, you might require fresh storytelling spins on old content to keep up with product updates. One important way to do that is by getting internal subject matter experts involved in content development. Social business allows you to easily find, connect with and loop in thought leaders, whether they are C-suite executives, sales managers, product development leaders or technical experts. Jive’s smart activity streams, blog posts, status updates, and @mentions mean even the busiest folks across the company are accessible, no matter what city or time zone they work in.

4. Customer and partner connections in external communities.

To come up with great content marketing ideas and strategies, a focus group made up of customers or partners can offer invaluable input and real-time feedback, particularly when it comes to product launches. Social business communities can serve as the kind of creative crowdsourcing that power-charges your content marketing, while offering a central place where you can share and disseminate useful content that boosts brand affinity and customer loyalty. Jive’s customer and partner communities offer the opportunity for authentic dialogue, insights, and two-way interaction that takes content marketing strategies to the next level.

5. Intelligence and analytics at your fingertips.

Developing successful content requires knowing what customers want to understand and need to know as well as the best way to provide information and education. Social business technologies can help put content strategy in context through intelligence and analytics. For instance, you can learn more about customers and partners through Jive Resonata, the industry-leading community analytics tool, which offers real-time intelligence within external communities to understand sentiment trends, hot topics and help predict potential opportunities. And within the organization, everybody can use Jive Impact Metrics internally to measure and maximize the impact and reach, reaction and influence of communications shared across teams and departments — whether through blogs, status updates or discussions threads.

You can transform your organization into a killer content marketing machine that drives more opportunities and sales. Download this whitepaper for more information. How invested is your team in content marketing today? Comment below.