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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistMon, Apr 23, 2018 13 min read

6 Killer Content Marketing Upgrades For Demand Generation Campaigns

content marketing in demand generation programs
Demand Generation And Content Marketing Drive Awareness, Leads And New Customers

content marketing in demand generation programsAccording to HubSpot research, businesses with aligned sales and marketing teams achieve 208% more revenue when compared to those with misaligned teams.

Synergy always seems to drive better results than disparate teams working in silos. The same holds true when it comes to content marketing and your demand generation execution. Just like wine and cheese, these two marketing tactics are better together.

However, before we move forward, it might make sense to help people understand the differences between demand gen and content marketing. I’ve seen tons of articles that mistakenly classify content marketing as a strategy when, in fact, it’s a set of tactics. I’ve also seen a lot of posts that classify demand gen as a set of tactics when, in fact, it’s an approach or strategy.

Demand generation (as we define it) involves a comprehensive, full-funnel strategy of many tactics and methods. Content marketing is a subset. Demand marketers use content to attract the right leads, nurture prospects, close deals and upsell existing customers.

If you’re using content marketing tactics to drive your demand gen programs, here are six killer upgrades to increase your results.

1) Create More Binge-Worthy Content

Stop thinking about content as one and done. Start thinking about content the way Netflix and Amazon do.

How can you create binge-worthy content that people want to download? Or think about how you can create a season or series of content that comes out and people are waiting for it because it continues the story.

This isn’t easy. You need the big story and then you have to break the content into smaller pieces. You can do this with podcasts, video and even written content, if you think it through and plan strategically.

The most challenging part of this is creating the content in a way so that it runs for a longer cycle. For example, you need 10 podcasts, 12 video segments and a piece of printed content that comes out once a week for four weeks. With the big story, you need transitions so that people can’t wait to see the next installment. You have to think through the nurture and communication associated with binge-worthy content so that your prospects can receive notification when the new season is ready for download.

2) Create An Extensive Publication Plan To Push Content Out To New Audiences

content syndication for demand generationDemand generation is about new eyeballs, awareness and introducing your company to new people. That means publishing content on your website alone is not going to get the job done. Instead, you’ll have to also create a publication plan to push your content out to places where your prospects are already hanging out.

We fondly refer to these places as watering holes. Just like the watering holes in Africa attract different kinds of animals and the predators keep an eye on the watering holes waiting for their dinner to come by, you need identify your watering holes, keep tabs on them from a data, audience and authority perspective, and publish your content aggressively to get the attention of your prospects.

These can be LinkedIn groups, Facebook communities, association websites, community message boards, blogs, email newsletter subscribers or content companies. Content companies in particular are becoming more prevalent. One great example is Sales Hacker, which has an email newsletter, a blog, conferences, podcasts, webinars and training programs. You have a ton of opportunities to get your content in front of people with sales, marketing and revenue challenges. Almost every industry is going to see content companies like this starting to pop up.

Want a more traditional route? Consider content syndication services like Outbrain, Zemanta, SimpleReach and Taboola. We’ve tested a number of these services over the past few years. While the results have been sketchy, if you're looking for a turnkey solution and have the money to invest, then services like these can get your content out and about.

3) Plan For As Much Personalization As Possible To Drive Advanced Segmentation

The more personal the content, the better its going to perform. We’re way past name and company here; we’re talking about personalizing the content so that it's created for a specific role or specific vertical. We’re talking about content that deals with a highly specific challenge in a highly specific segment. This is going to make the content creation effort way more complex, because you might have to write six or seven pieces from the same base content.

The more personal and specific the content, the more effective it's going to be at creating awareness within the targeted segment. This is also going to mean multiple nurtures as well as more personalized landing pages and email follow-ups. It's all good, but it also requires extra effort above and beyond the typical generic content effort.

4) Retargeting And Nurturing With Content

You know retargeting; it's when that ad follows you around the web from site to site. This used to happen with Facebook too, until Mark Zuckerberg reworked the display algorithm. You visited a website and then you noticed related or direct content on your Facebook feed. Retargeting on the web can be effective, as long as it practices some of the recommendations above. It still comes down to quality and the ability of the content to connect, engage and educate the targeted prospect.

The same approach should be applied to your lead nurturing strategy. While this is for people who have already converted at least once, if you want to use content, email and messaging to move people from cyclone to cyclone, drive sales opportunities and shorten the sales cycle, you’re going to need highly engaging content offers in your lead nurturing, too. The more personal, segmented and engaging, the higher you’ll score on a wide variety of important metrics.

5) Connect Content And Engage Content In Account-Based Marketing

ABM (account-based marketing) requires its own set of content and its own content strategy. If you think you can just email a target person and get them connected, engaged and into your sales process, you’re more than likely mistaken.

You're going to need specific content to get that initial connection and then additional content to get them engaged with your company and your sales team. The connection content might be dramatically different than the engagement content. The only way to know this is to strategically map the buyer journey and understand their issues and challenges along their journey. What they want to lean about as they move from being unaware and into awareness is going to be different from what they need if they’re considering options or evaluating three or four specific directions for their company.

Not having enough content, delivering the wrong content and applying content at the wrong time in the sales process are some of the major mistakes people make with ABM programs.

By the way, the content in ABM emails designed to get people who don’t know you, your company or your products to connect with you need just as much attention as your other content. Those messages and stories are an integral part of your content strategy, and they should get equal attention.

6) Content To Skip Over Awareness And Drive Sales-Qualified Leads

content marketing for sales ready leadsAsk a VP of sales if they care about a whitepaper download or new website visitor and you’ll get an earful.

Everyone wants sales-ready leads, sales opportunities, people who want demos and people who want to buy. I get it. Everyone wants highly qualified sales opportunities for sales to dig into, but these are just a small percentage of everyone who’s interested in your business.

Remember, sales only influences a small percentage of the buyer journey today. Sales no longer controls the entire process. Today, sales comes in at the end. But you can use techniques to grab more end-of-the-journey sales opportunities.

This includes creating better content offers for this part of the process offers that provide value to your prospects, offers that give them performance data and offers that help them learn something about their company or about themselves as people. One of the best back-of-the-sales-process offers on the market today is Experian’s offer to scan the dark web to see if your personal information is already out there. Another great back-of-the-sales-process offer is the website grader tool, which lets you see how your website scores technically, so you can fix any issues.

These take creativity and an understanding of your prospects' challenges, but once created, they can have a 10x impact on the number of people wanting to speak with your sales team to get the valuable information.

Content is here to stay, and it's going to be a key part of demand generation to drive awareness and inbound marketing to turn visitors into leads. It's going to be heavily leveraged in the sales process and must be delivered in context to your prospects' questions, pains and challenges. The better you are at strategically leveraging content in all aspects of your revenue generation efforts, the more successful your revenue team (sales and marketing) is going to be at not just hitting but exceeding your goals.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.