If you’re in the early stages of evaluating a content marketing platform, it’s probably easy to articulate such things as the features that you feel you need, or the painful situations that keep popping up in and amongst your team. But I’d like to challenge that level of thinking.
Are you thinking too small?
Back in the late 90s during a summer break of college, I landed a job working for a telecommunications company in outside sales. The first week of that job was an intense sales training and I was introduced to the exercise of doing a needs analysis with prospects. My sales trainer laid out the theoretical conversation like this…
- Step 1: Discuss functional needs – ex: [Prospect] “I think we need a shared editorial calendar.”
- Step 2: Identify Desired Outcomes – ex: [Me] “Sounds like you’re trying to bring more visibility across teams and to be more proactive in your content planning.”
- Step 3: Connect Outcomes to Business Value – ex: Well-planned, quality content = Increase in marketing qualified leads
This framework has served me well over the years, but the needs analysis conversation can be very different depending on the role and perspective of the prospect that I’m talking to at the time. For example, an end user can easily speak to functional needs since they feel the pain every day. But their manager or exec-level decision maker is more apt to care about higher-level business value. More often than not, we, the vendor, are helping prospects connect the dots between features, benefits and business value.
In this post, I’d like to explore bigger outcomes that can be realized with content marketing platforms like Divvy. And bigger yet, I’d like to help you connect those outcomes to the larger business implications that can result. Sound interesting?
What are the outcomes you’re trying to achieve by implementing a content marketing platform?
Review the list below. Heck, print this list and highlight the outcomes that relate to your situation. Narrowing in on your primary goals is a great starting point for your evaluation process.
1. Be more organized and proactive in your content planning – Too many marketing and communications teams work in “reactive shotgun mode” every day. There is little-to-no strategic guidance, they aren’t planning far enough out, and they’re just publishing whatever is top-of-mind, hopeful that something gets clicks. On the flip side, those companies who have a solid (documented) strategy and good planning processes/tools are consistently executing, capturing more eyeballs and moving needles.
2. Be more consistent with your content creation and publishing frequencies – Consistent publishing frequency is one of the key attributes for a successful content marketing program. If consistency is lacking, you’d better be prepared for lackluster results.
3. Increase the efficiency of (streamline) your content marketing process – Most of the time, inefficiencies within a content marketing process are a result of using the wrong tools. The “Big Three” (spreadsheets, email collaboration and general project management systems) are efficiency killers because of the extra time and effort that quietly creep into your process.
Has this ever happened? You’re looking for an image that your designer optimized for an upcoming blog post. You spend the next 10 minutes scouring your inbox and file server with no luck. You spend another 10 minutes trying to get them on chat or the phone to send you another copy of the image. That’s 20 minutes that could have been spent on something more productive. Those lost minutes add up, especially when you multiply that by a large team of producers using the same inefficient methods.
4. Improve visibility and collaboration across multiple content teams or producers – As we’ve always said, silos are for storing grain, not content. Perhaps you’ve run into issues with confused customers because your messaging, voice or tone is completely different across channels. Or you’re hemorrhaging budget because one team is duplicating the efforts of another. These issues can be significantly minimized when collaboration and sharing are introduced through a content marketing platform.
5. Increase the volume of content you’re creating – Depending on your industry, market or competitive landscape, perhaps you need to be producing a lot more content than you are currently. If you’re in the process of scaling up your output, then having a centralized hub to manage the planning, production and collaboration is vital.
6. Improve the quality of content you’re creating – Perhaps you’ve just finished a content audit or were forced to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with your team where the message was loud and clear…our content is not good enough. While this realization may be hard to swallow, at least you’re addressing it. What follows could be a more targeted content strategy and more resources being thrown at higher quality creative. A content marketing platform should play a key role in this evolution and help you stay aligned with your strategy.
7. Analyze how our content output aligns with/supports our strategy and business objectives – One of the unique aspects of content marketing platforms is having the ability to analyze the performance of your content teams and auditing for gaps in the content they are producing. If your content strategy dictates a specific cadence of content for a certain audience, topic or stage in a buying cycle, content marketing platforms can help you execute on that goal.
Now Grab Your Crystal Ball
You’re reflecting on a successful year with your chosen content marketing platform. After a short implementation and training period, your team dove in and embraced a new way of working. You are now more organized and more proactive than you’ve ever been. You’ve been able to increase the quantity and quality of content you’re publishing, and your entire department is efficiently collaborating to plan and execute multiple integrated marketing programs simultaneously. Your strategy has matured and you’re now covering the entire customer journey with amazing content experiences, from the initial awareness stage through long-term customer advocacy.
What are the business implications of this?
More Revenue (Typical KPIs & Metrics)
- Increase in subscriber and/or influencer base – Your content is planting seeds of trust
- Increase in lead volume – Your content is reaching more new eyeballs
- Increase in lead quality and shorter sales cycles – Your content is educating and equipping prospects
- Increase in lead-to-close rates – A better mix of content for each buyer stage
- Increase in customer retention/growth – More attention has been placed engaging existing customers with new opportunities (upgrades/cross-sell/up-sell)
- Your owned audience is growing – You can spend less on paid channels
- Fewer tools – Your content marketing platform has replaced several other tools/apps
- Waste reduction – You’re able to minimize meetings, duplication of effort and be more efficient with outside vendor collaboration
- Reduce turnover and burnout – Your entire department is happier when they are organized and firing on all cylinders.
I’m sure I missed a few things in this post, but let’s not forget the most important thing that drives business growth…happy customers. Obviously your product/service offering plays a large roll in that, but don’t underestimate the power of content to shape a customer’s experience with your brand. It’s important, and DivvyHQ can help.