Content Marketing – The New Buzzword
Content marketing: it’s the hot buzzword – and the hot marketing topic – for 2013, as evidenced by dozens of 2013 predictions posts and tons of startups trying to get in on the game.
There are going to be lots of businesses jumping on the content bandwagon this year, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not still a smart strategy. And for businesses looking to enhance their influence marketing efforts, if they have a content marketing plan in place, the two could work quite nicely together.
Essentially, content marketing is created from owned media: the blog, whitepapers, eBooks, videos and other content that a company creates. Content marketing is bringing that owned media together in a cohesive plan, which targets a specific audience to encourage a specific action (or actions).
Assuming your company is creating useful and compelling content, let’s discuss how you can use that content to enhance and grow your influence marketing efforts simultaneously. After all – who doesn’t love to see their marketing materials have multiple uses?
Content on the Influencer Continuum
Developing a successful content marketing strategy means creating fresh, relevant content for your company’s customers and fans. And it just so happens that content is really helpful in working with influencers throughout our Influencer Continuum™, which is our methodology for turning influencers into Super Advocates™.
Building Influencer Awareness
In the Awareness building phase of influence marketing, content assets play a big role. In this phase, you’re educating topical influencers about your brand, product or issue, and great content can be key in the education process.
We recommend using white papers, press releases, videos and webinars to help engage with influencers in this phase. Connect to influencers via Twitter or email (be sure to introduce yourself in an respectful way!), pass along relevant content they can easily consume, and engage to gauge their interest. Follow up with additional content or resources if they seem receptive, or move them on to the next phase of the Continuum.
Building Brand Credibility
The second phase in the Influencer Continuum™, Build Credibility, revolves around your brand building trust with influencers. Content can again play an important role here; in this phase you can share slightly more advanced content and really establish your expertise in your space.
Once you’ve gotten an influencer’s attention (in the Awareness phase), it’s now time to share deeper research, and to use thought leadership-focused content, such as blog posts, white papers and information from expert events.
Creating an Emotional Connection with Influencers
In the third Continuum phase, you’re forging a strong bond with influencers, and content takes a slightly different twist. In this phase you can now ask influencers to contribute to your content marketing strategy, which will deepen your relationship with them and enlist them more strongly in your efforts.
Some common content-related tactics in this phase include asking influencers to contribute to your blog, or asking for their input on other content including white papers, webinars or video. Don’t forget that bloggers in certain categories often look for compensation for content-creating activities, though this is not the case with all bloggers.
Creating Influencer Loyalty
In the final phase of the Influencer Continuum™, content will help you to encourage deep brand loyalty. This is an extremely high-touch phase, and the place where you’ll truly bring influencers “into the fold” as part of your marketing team and brand experience.
This is often the place where brand ambassador programs are created with your most trusted and loyal influencers, and brand ambassadors often are charged with content creation on behalf of the brand. You can also ask influencers in this phase to speak at your events, and host or attend regular events on behalf of the brand (with content output from those events, of course).
Ongoing Synergies Between Content and Influence Marketing
Overall, there are strong synergies between content marketing and influence marketing, and a crack marketing team will be able to work seamlessly across the two efforts to enhance both simultaneously. The two strategies really play well with each other!
How are you combining content marketing with your influence strategy? We’d love to hear in the comments.