A statement often heard at PaperShare goes something like this:
“We see a lot of value in your service, but we really don’t have any content to publish.”
The idea that you don’t have content is pervasive, particularly in smaller companies or ones without a codified content marketing strategy. I find that it’s frequently due to an underestimation of what’s available for you to use. For something to be effective content marketing for your company doesn’t mean that you need to have created it.
Note - This blog post is going to be highly tactical, but first, some background:
PaperShare was recently featured as one of the “10 Rocking Products for Advanced Content Marketers” by Joe Chernov (2012 Content Marketer of the Year) during his talk at Content Marketing World 2013. Shortly afterwards, our CEO David Greschler was profiled by Forbes.
Neither of these pieces of content “belonged” to PaperShare, but both shed a positive light and we were eager to incorporate them into our content marketing strategy. What I’m going to outline for you below is the step-by-step process for how we leveraged both of these pieces of content.
Step 1: Social Media
Monitoring social media for mentions of your company should be standard practice for you. If you’re attending a tradeshow where your company might be discussed, set up additional searches for hashtags related to that show. In preparation for Content Marketing World, we followed the #CMW13 hashtag for mentions of PaperShare.
An underrated tool is Promoted Tweets. Comparative to ads, you pay Twitter to include your tweet in the timelines of people who aren’t already following you. Not only will you gain reach, you’ll get people to spread your message and increase your visibility as a whole.
With the Forbes article, we saw an immediate increase in traffic for the phrase “PaperShare” on Twitter. After we capitalized on the organic clicks from the increased interest, we promoted our own tweet to boost the traffic again. Rather than using standard social media metrics (likes, retweets, etc.) to determine how successful the messaging was, we focused on building awareness and interest. We were ok with other places getting the “traffic,” because we wanted the recognition.
Takeaways: Social Media is immediate, more so than any other form of marketing. Being aware of trends or positive mentions is critical to properly leverage these channels. There is tremendous power in letting others speak for you when the message is right – listen for those opportunities. Be prepared to pay to boost interest again after it slows down on it’s own.
Step 2: PaperShare
The following week, we posted the content to our PaperShare account. This published to our social networks again, this time with our own custom link. Now, each time we want to refresh the content on the social networks, we can promote it with different text. This allows us to gauge which phrases work best for any given piece of content
We also posted the content to our “About PaperShare” page, our Facebook Content Library and places where the content was posted through our PaperClips. Now when people visit our website, they’ll find that content as well.
More than anything, this turned both pieces of content into “objects” that we can use in other campaigns from here on out. This sets the stage for us to capitalize on the interest generated at step one.
Takeaway: You need to be able to measure the impact of your content marketing strategy. PaperShare allows us to measure the impact of these links even when the content isn’t ours.
Step 3: Email Marketing
Just as things started to slow again (are you sensing a theme here?) we kicked off an email marketing campaign. Keep emails simple, informative and when linking to something, make sure it’s valuable. With the piece from Joe Chernov we linked to the “10 Rocking Products” content on PaperShare (so we can measure response) in an email talking about Content Marketing World. The intent was to inform, not outright pitch, and let the content itself do the heavy lifting.
Takeaways: If Content is King, then Email Marketing is certainly Queen. Building a strong database of prospects is important no matter is the size of your company, and Email Marketing is a cost-effective way to leverage that database. Keep the rhythm of communication constant.
Step 4: Webinars
We also utilize email marketing to promote webinars that we host on a monthly basis. Following Content Marketing World, we hosted a live webinar to talk about what we saw at the show, as well as mention the recognition.
The benefit of a webinar is that it’s conversational and informative by nature and like our email marketing, less about pitching our service. The webinar following Content Marketing World had the highest attendance of any of the webinars we’ve hosted to-date. Afterwards, we updated that webinar invite on PaperShare with the recorded video, and let people view it with social login.
Takeaways: Seek to inform, particularly when you’re asking for a time-commitment. Webinars require an investment of time from your attendees. Don’t squander it. After the webinar is over, leverage the recording as a refreshed content item.
Step 5: Blogs
What you’re reading right now is the last step in our strategy. This one blog post will attract additional viewers and and create another piece of content we can leverage.
We blog about a lot of topics. Some silly, some educational and some that announce what we’re up to. All of them qualify as “content” and all of them go through this process to gather more leads. After each blog is published, they’re added to PaperShare, and promoted via social networks and email marketing. Even when a blog is about content that has always been published, you’ll certainly reach new people each time you promote it.
Takeaways: Your content marketing strategy should be self-sustaining! Use content to beget new content. Blogs are a great way to accomplish that goal. Redundancy can be a virtue, so don’t be afraid of reusing content.
Even as a company that produces and sells a content engagement platform, we know we’re not going to be able to do everything ourselves completely automated (though we’ll keep trying). Any marketer worth their salt will tell you that you need a mix of tactics in a good campaign, and these are the ones that have worked for us. PaperShare is a major component of our own marketing strategy, helping us get the most insight into each part of our campaigns.
Establishing a rhythm to your marketing efforts should be the priority. Companies still think publishing content once is good enough, but that mindset is flawed. With social media, your content can be hot for five minutes and completely cooled after that. You have to maintain attention, but you don’t necessarily need to use your own content. Anything that speaks to your values, goals, ideals, or to you specifically is great content you can use to inform and entertain potential customers.