This is the seventh in a series of videos culled from an interview about content marketing I did with Terry Foster of Cision Canada. Cision (the USA version) is also a sponsor of Convince & Convert and our Social Pros podcast. (here’s a post I wrote about their nifty content amplification tool).
For more of this series (and others) please subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Terry: Do you think communicators are missing opportunities if they don’t have conversion activities or call to actions plans in their campaigns?
Jay: Too often we are thinking about engagement and clicks and things that don’t necessarily lead to business outcome. They might. They might not. I think categorically people spend too much time trying to be successful at content and not enough time trying to be successful at business because of content.
The goal is not to be good at content, the goal is to be good at business because of content (click to tweet this please)
That being said, though, there’s no doubt that there are some businesses where tracking that relationship between content and sales is not easy. It’s actually much easier in business to business because you have insight into the purchase process. You know when somebody buys. They’ve got to fill out paperwork or talk to a salesperson. If you’re selling Steam Whistle beer and you have some sort of content execution, you don’t know necessarily who read this blog post and whether that generated beer sales. You can run some correlation studies on that, but it’s difficult to point to it exactly. So, to some degree, it depends on the business.
(to read my ebook on the 4 types of content marketing metrics, go up to the top left of this page and click on the “+” for ebooks and select the “Field Guide to Content Marketing Metrics” ~ jay)
Terry: How do you think companies who don’t have dedicated resources can create branded content?
Jay: I think agencies have a tremendous role to play in the content marketing process, and here’s why. We talked earlier about companies too often creating content that’s about them, that’s essentially just a fancy brochure. Agencies can really help with that because they have enough distance where they can see that marketing sideways opportunity and say, “Okay, here’s content that is relevant to your customers, but isn’t necessarily about your products.” Sometimes people who work inside the company are so close to it that it’s hard for them to have that distance.
Terry: Should they be mapping out their brand story first before going into a content strategy?
Jay: A brand strategy, no doubt. A brand story I think sometimes can be a little bit restrictive because the content executions aren’t necessarily adhering to that story. For example, we talked about the Columbia Sportswear mobile application. Being able to tell you how to tie knots isn’t necessarily part of their brand story, per se, but it’s still a great content execution. You don’t want to be hemmed in by the brand story, but certainly knowing who you are as a brand produces better content in most cases.