What I Learned While Co-Writing Content Marketing Works
My father (Arnie Kuenn) and a group of my friends once decided that Friday the 13th, 2013 would be the perfect day to go skydiving – just a few weeks before my wedding, no less. Needless to say, our family, my future wife and in-laws were thrilled – we proceeded to jump out of an absolute clunker of a plane at 13,000ft and successfully landed on the ground in one piece – it is a moment with him I will never forget.
One year later we decided to write a book together – and in hindsight, I’m not sure which idea was more intimidating. It became even more real when I saw it live as a free download. My process for both skydiving and writing a book was oddly similar:
To start, I overthink the entire thing – “I am not prepared for this.” “Don’t you need to be certified or something?” “Will my dad and I survive the journey?”
Second, you take the first step – everything happens really fast, there are tears of laughter and fear all in one, everything is a blur and before you know it – it’s all over.
In the end, you are left with a sense of euphoria and accomplishment that must only happen a few times in your life – a feeling just behind becoming a parent, or eating Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream for the first time.
I learned a lot while co-writing Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business. Most ironically, writing was just a small part of publishing the book. It was an entirely collaborative effort, and could not have happened without the wonderful Vertical Measures team.
From Daniel Dannenberg and Erin Pritchard creating an awesome cover design, to Ben Snedeker’s editing, to Quinn Whissen’s tireless effort to bring the book to life – it was truly a product of hardworking individuals who are passionate and excited about the open content marketing landscape. The team understands that this is an ever-changing field with new hurdles and possibilities – but I think that is what makes content marketing so appealing. The book is based on an 8 Step content marketing process that can help any brand reach their marketing goals. It is built on a philosophy that the team at Vertical Measures live by:
Stop Selling and Start Helping
There is nothing wrong with traditional marketing approaches. In many cases, radio, print and television ads still work and are quite effective given the specific niche of the industry and marketing budget. However, today it seems that our advertising efforts have to be so creative and interesting that people don’t even know that it’s advertising. This is where content marketing can make that all possible.
Before making a purchase or selecting a service, people ask questions and diligently research before making a choice. These questions can reveal some very distinct trends and help you generate a long list of content ideas (as we showcase in the book). The first step in creating useful content that will attract visitors is helping solve a problem or issue that your audience frequently faces.
By now you know that if you have a website, you need to start producing fresh content (blog posts, videos, graphics, etc.) on a regular basis. Adopting Vertical Measure’s content marketing philosophy or mentality simply means always being on the lookout for new content ideas that will ultimately help your audience solve a problem. Consistently producing useful content will establish your company as an industry leader, and offers information or help to the audience. A content marketing mindset begins with understanding what the customer needs rather than what you want to offer them.
Content Marketing Works will prepare marketers for adopting this help-oriented approach. And highlights the various ways you can discover what your audience is asking and problems they might face while creating content that not only answers those questions, but establishes your brand as the trusted expert.
Mobile Content is the Future
It’s not hard to see why mobile content should be the #1 Topic in 2015 for marketers. About 4 out of every 5 people in the world now have a mobile phone. Think about it, that includes the poorest people on earth, and the vast majority can’t go a single day without their phone.
We joke or sometimes get frustrated that our culture is becoming overly dependent on our smart phones – there are even videos on YouTube that stress the importance of frequently putting your phone down to take in the real world around you. What I find most entertaining about those videos is that their entire success relies upon people not listening to their message. The same people they are preaching to so they stop using social media and put down their smart phones or tablets – are viewing their content via social media on their mobile device. How’s that for hypocrisy?
In my opinion, mobile technology is the best thing that has happened for marketers since the golden days of radio advertising. Today, mobile devices can access the internet from anywhere in the world, which has made them the go-to tool for just about everything online. A little less than half of Americans say they can’t even go a few hours without checking their mobile phones. It is projected that the number of active cell phones will reach 7.3 billion by 2015, which is actually more phones than there are people on the planet.
On Facebook, people share images more than any other kind of content. Photos on Facebook receive 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-through rates than the average post. With mobile, any company’s graphics or behind the scenes photos can often hold even more merit in their follower’s feed.
Content gets shared on mobile devices today more than ever before, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Depending on your market, you could miss a huge untapped audience if your content is not optimized and distributed for mobile users. Be sure to create content that is not only going to generate traffic to your pages, but is also readable on mobile devises and easily shared from mobile platforms.
Content Marketing Works will show you how to optimize their content for mobile, by evaluating what content your audience actually engages with, and responding with easily digestible mobile content.
Content Marketing Really Does Work
Examples of content marketing success exist everywhere – and if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that content marketing really does work for any business. Content marketing allows you to establish your brand as the expert in the industry, build trust with an audience, and then use that relationship to boost revenue with new customers. According to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research, 9 out of 10 B2B marketers are using content marketing, regardless of niche or size. Arnie and I worked to provide real life examples that proves that if a solid content marketing strategy is in place, any company can reach their marketing goals.
Whether you’re from a small businesses or a large enterprise, the 8 Step Process outlined in Content Marketing Works will help you build content marketing practices from the ground up with real world case studies, thoughtful lessons, and expert advice from other leaders in the content marketing industry. Each chapter is devoted to one of the 8 Steps for successful content marketing and readers will explore them in detail:
- Strategy Development
- Content Creation
- Content Promotion
- Lead Nurture
Compared to traditional marketing, content marketing offers a lot of benefits:
- It’s for the customer, and organically pulls them in by offering relevant information that they are already looking for, compared to a pushy advertisement.
- Informative, quality content usually has a longer shelf-life. With a single great piece of content, you could receive great results from it for years to come.
- You are in complete control of the content that you create, publish and promote. This allows for a strategy that is easier to change and improve upon as successes are measured.
- Your company can reach a must broader audience online than any other venue in the world.
The book stresses that content marketing should be used to deliver useful information to your audience, and move them through the sales funnel naturally until becoming a loyal customer to your brand. Content Marketing Works‘ 8 Step Process allows your business to take control of how individuals recognize your brand, which benefits all aspects of your marketing goals, whether it be more traffic, more leads, or more business.
Convince your Boss
Along with the 8 Step content marketing strategy that will transform your business, Content Marketing Works also includes a dedicated section: “How to Convince Your Boss to Invest in Content Marketing.” This segment will provide tips and examples so that anyone can meet with executives or their boss and confidently propose a content marketing strategy that will deliver results and reach business goals.
Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business is currently available for FREE download on the Vertical Measures website and available in full print and Kindle on Amazon.
About Brad Kuenn
Brad Kuenn is the co-author of Content Marketing Works: 8 Steps to Transform Your Business. As Senior Editor for Vertical Measures, he focuses on making content compelling and valuable for the desired audience. He is responsible for ensuring that content efficiently reaches client goals, delivers optimum results, and aligns with Vertical Measures’ values. Follow him @BKuenn +Brad Kuenn