Content marketing is crucial for businesses of all sizes. But the competition to create the most compelling content is fierce.
These days, creating high-quality content that engages your audience and provides value is not enough. To truly stand out, you must lead the pack.
So how do you establish content marketing leadership and stay ahead of the curve?
You can achieve content marketing leadership by going beyond what marketers and content creators typically do. You must scale your content production efforts, leverage your expertise, and appeal to today’s highly discerning consumer.
In this blog post, you’ll learn the essentials of content marketing leadership, including seven actionable strategies for creating excellent content.
1. Go Beyond Content Marketing Basics.
First, you must have a well-oiled content marketing foundation in place. This includes regularly produced on-brand content. optimized website and social media pages, and a set publishing schedule.
Most importantly, you’re also taking steps to grow authority online.
- You use video to share information and humanize your brand.
- You create industry research. This can be information about your industry, product, service, or client base.
- You host a podcast. Podcasts are popular for busy people looking to kill time while jogging, riding on the train, or sitting in their car.
- You leverage public speaking engagements. When you’re in front of an audience, you’re the most important person in the room.
- You wrote a book. Writing a book is just a great way to establish authority.
Remember, 91% of B2B brands and 86% of B2C brands already use content marketing. Yet only about one-third of these companies have a solid content marketing strategy. So make sure you have yours squared away. (Source.)
One of the greatest schemes in content marketing history was pulled off in the early 1930s… and it all goes back to content. Read more about it here: “2 Overlooked Ways You Can Use Content to Reach Your Best Buyers.”
2. Appeal to Today’s Most Discerning Customer (By Being a Thought Leader).
At Predictable Profits, we often talk about how today’s buyers are more sophisticated when making buying decisions.
With a wealth of information at their fingertips, buyers have become researchers.
Good content marketing is about being everywhere during a buyer’s journey.
Content marketing leadership involves providing a fresh perspective that makes prospects say, “Wow, that changes everything!”
This goes beyond relevance. You must find ways to help your prospects make easier buying decisions.
So lean into new, actionable insights they can’t find anywhere else.
Leverage your expertise, your unique client experiences, and your thoughts on what’s going on in your industry.
Your job as a next-level content marketer is to provide an original perspective that helps potential buyers see their situation in a new light.
3. Empower Your Team to Be Content Creators as Well.
In the beginning, when you’re the founder/CEO of a small business, you create all the content and do everything yourself.
But as you bring in more resources, you want to empower others in your company to also become content creators.
- Allow your sales team to write blog posts from their perspective.
- Coax your customer service reps to shoot quick video testimonials or case studies from satisfied customers.
- Encourage your engineers or product developers to do a weekly podcast sharing their insights on the latest industry trends.
- Set aside time weekly for an “idea generation” meeting, where anyone can share their latest and greatest content ideas.
You can also set up a “content council” of stakeholders from different departments to provide feedback and help shape the company’s content strategy.
Content marketing leadership is about delegation and empowering others to help carry the load. It’s also about providing the platform and resources they need to succeed.
You must nurture an environment where creativity thrives by encouraging your team to constantly develop new ideas.
Remind your team: content marketing is not to be used a sales pitch, nor is it designed to tell people how great you are or how wonderful your products are… all your readers care about is how this piece of content is going to benefit them.
Read more about it here: “Content Marketing: 3 Tips for Making It Work for You.”
Today, you’re competing to be the most helpful company…and that’s by helping your customers to make smart, educated decisions.
Read more about it here: “Content Marketing: What They Don’t Tell You.”
4. Master the Omnichannel Approach.
An omnichannel approach to content marketing gives your buyers a unified experience with your brand across multiple channels — both online and off.
According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to only 3.4% for companies lacking omnichannel strategies. (Source.)
Furthermore, companies winning in the omnichannel space also see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact, compared to a 0.2% year-over-year decrease for omnichannel-weak companies.
It’s no longer enough to have a blog and post on social media once in a while. You need to be active and present on as many channels as possible, with your content working together to create one seamless experience for your audience.
Repurposing your best content and adapting it to different audience segments and marketing channels all help accomplish this goal.
When your prospects land on your sales page or talk with your team, you want them to say the four magic words, “I see you everywhere.”
At the end of the day, omnichannel marketing is about building trust, increasing engagement, and driving sales. Read more about “Omnichannel Marketing: What It is and Why You Should Use It.”
5. Keep the Dark Funnel in Mind.
Remember, the discerning customer is familiar with what you offer. Sixty-six percent of B2B buyers research options before contacting a company.
We previously discussed the dark funnel and how you must build your content marketing strategy with it in mind.
Read more about that here: “What is the Dark Funnel (And What Does it Have to Do With My Marketing Strategy)?”
Because today’s buyers cycle through an endless loop of exploration and evaluation, putting the right content out there during this crucial discovery process helps nudge them out of “the messy middle.”
You can read more about “the messy middle” here and, more importantly, what you can do to win customers as they navigate this space: “Buyers Buy on Their Own Time (Not Yours).”
For the capable content marketing leader, the dark funnel represents a wealth of opportunities for educating, entertaining, or engaging with prospects before they realize they need your products or services.
Consumption drives conversion, after all. Repeated exposure increases desire.
With the concept of the dark funnel in mind, here are a few things you need to do as a content marketing leader:
First, you must ensure you consider all the touchpoints along the buyer’s journey. This means going beyond just the typical sales funnel and attribution tracking.
Next, look for content gaps at each stage and create high-quality content to fill them.
And then, focus on creating a stellar customer experience at every touchpoint. This includes your website, social media presence, regular blog posts, podcasts, and events.
Don’t forget: use the right mix of marketing channels to reach potential leads at each stage of the buyer’s journey, including:
- A combination of paid and organic efforts on search and social.
- Both inbound and outbound marketing efforts.
- A mix of online and on-ground marketing channels.
6. Create, Capture, and Nurture Demand.
You must adapt to an evolving buying process to succeed in today’s market.
As a leader and business owner, you have two choices regarding your content marketing strategy: serve existing demand or create new demand.
And according to digital marketing guru Rand Fishkin, “Too many of y’all are focused (on serving existing demand).”
To be the content marketing leader your audience needs, you must master creating demand. Only when you create demand can you capture and nurture.
You create demand by putting relevant content in front of people often and on as many mediums as possible. During this step of your demand generation efforts, people go from “I don’t know you” to “I want to do business with you.”
Capture demand by crafting compelling offers, leveraging behavioral biases, and ensuring your landing pages are well-optimized with clear calls to action.
You nurture demand by having a systematic follow-up, retargeting campaigns, and repurposing great content to stay top-of-mind.
There’s a reason why demand generation is such a hot topic. Applied correctly, you can leverage demand gen to keep bringing in a steady flow of leads for nurturing.
More on this on the Beyond 7 Figures podcast episode, “Demand Generation: How to Fill the Sales Pipeline with Zach Burkes.”
7. Use Curriculum Development as a Content Strategy.
You already publish a ton of helpful, valuable content. So why not combine all that into a unifying structure, similar to what teachers do for students?
Start by creating an outline of what your prospects need to know about your chosen subject matter.
Take stock of your lifetime body of work (LBOW) — blog posts, videos, podcasts, publications, etc. — and map these into your prepared outline.
Then start filling in the gaps. Create content for missing sections of your curriculum. Be creative. Encourage collaboration and innovation.
- You can combine similar articles into guides.
- You can create a special email course.
- If you have enough material, publish a book or create an online course.
Then create a “Start Here” page that serves as an index, showcasing your extensive library of resources and branching out into your published pieces.
Andy Crestodina, CMO of Orbit Media Studios, calls curriculum development “the most obvious content strategy that no one uses.”
Use it to build content marketing leadership today.
8. Be Genuine (A Bonus Tip).
In a world of content marketing clutter, you can differentiate yourself further by being honest.
Remember, you’re dealing with highly discerning customers. They know sales pitches and when you have ulterior motives.
A great way to show genuineness as a content marketing leader is by sharing your company’s story — warts and all.
Be transparent about your journey, the challenges you faced, and how you overcame them.
So, as you continue to provide valuable content and share new insights that help solve problems, focus instead on creating strong relationships. Be authentic. You’ll find that your prospects are more likely to do business with you — and perhaps even keep coming back.
Read more here: “How Do I Convert More Leads Into Customers (Without Being Too Sales-y)?”
Conclusion: A Final Word About Content Marketing Leadership
Content marketing is more important than ever, and, as a leader, you have the opportunity to take your content marketing game to the next level.
When you cover the basics of content marketing, you have a system you can depend on for consistency and reliability.
By empowering your team and leveraging their abilities, you can create content at scale.
You can then reach and connect with more of your target audience by building awareness on multiple channels.
Now is the time to step up and embrace your role as a content marketing leader. The future of your business depends on it.
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