Here’s the bad news. You just started publishing regular e-books, whitepapers and tip guides. You’re blogging twice a week. Unfortunately, this content marketing strategy is from 2015, not 2021, and it definitely won’t work in 2022 and beyond.
Now here’s the good news. The new content marketing strategy for every business is already out there for everyone to see, and you’re probably using it without even knowing. Video must be a central part of that strategy. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and all of the streaming services are showing us what to do.
Take a page out of their playbook to turbocharge your content marketing strategy in 2021, and you’ll leapfrog all of your competitors, drive massive amounts of visitors and turn those visitors into leads quickly and easily.
Oh, and before we get into it, for those of you who are saying this doesn’t apply to you or to business in general, look what Salesforce just announced – Salesforce+, their new streaming service for businesses.
Do I have your attention now?
Here are the key takeaways for executing this type of video content marketing strategy.
As an avid subscriber to multiple streaming services, I regularly comment that these services aren’t creating enough content for me to be excited. One new show a month isn’t keeping me engaged.
Now I know COVID-19 has put show production back on its heels, so this story is to make a point.
You have to be prepared to produce a lot of content – weekly at a minimum. That means regular shows each week that land on video channels, podcast platforms, blogs, websites and emails to clients.
This also means you have to be in for the long haul. You can’t start publishing content like a new video show and give up in two months. You have to go into any new content creation effort thinking six months to a year.
Create enough content ideas, get your talent on board, find guests and engage your team for at least six months of weekly show content if you want this new video- and audio-based content marketing strategy to start paying off.
After six months, you should see the benefits of the content and video program. Then you can stay ahead of the planning curve by programing shows 60 days out and keeping your show’s content current, cutting edge and innovative for your audiences.
Since many of you are starting an initiative like this, you should know you’re already competing against hundreds of thousands of other shows just like yours. Even if your industry is a bit behind the curve, your prospects and customers are already listening to and watching other related shows.
To cut through the clutter, you’ll need to come up with remarkable, exciting, thought-provoking and disruptive titles for the shows and all of your content regardless of format.
Give your overall show a name. Many podcasters prefer to include their actual names in the show to help promote their personal brands. This is a solid idea and one you should consider.
Make sure the name of your show and your individual episodes support your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Sometimes you can outthink yourself in this area by coming up with great titles but titles that don’t support your keywords or keyword phrases.
Choose your words wisely. Look for ideas in unfamiliar places. Don’t look at similar shows already published. Instead, look in places like Netflix to see how they title and promote their shows.
The better your content can stand out, the easier it’s going to be to get new viewers, listeners and subscribers.
Let’s be honest here. One of the objectives of a content publication plan like the one we’re outlining here is to create content at scale. That means creating a lot of content quickly, easily and efficiently.
Here’s a quick example of how much content could be created from a single one-hour webcast:
One hour produced several individual pieces of content for use in your marketing activities, plus supporting content for sales and ABM campaigns. Yes, there is extra post-production work associated with getting this content out, but the creation of the content took you just one hour.
This means getting your content into a variety of formats, including video for your YouTube channel and your website, audio files for all of the podcast sites and your website, shorter video snippets for social media, copy for blog posts and content for emails that provide ongoing communication with subscribers.
This post-production work can be routinely produced with a simple set of requirements and a consistent task assignment to your team. Once they do it a few times, it should run on auto-pilot.
This is important. Your content should be easy to find, easy to subscribe to, easy to attend, easy to watch, easy to listen to and easy to share.
Make it easy to find on your website on your social sites, and be sure you regularly alert your prospects and customer to its availability and value.
Make sure everyone knows and then follow through on the fact that this is NOT a lead generation exercise. It’s purely about education. Don’t email attendees after your episodes asking for a meeting. If you’re sharing a recording, do that and nothing else.
If you do a solid job creating content, sharing the content and maintaining a high level of educational thought leadership, you will create a following. When those people get to know, like and trust you, they will reach out for services.
If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound? No one knows. The same holds true for your content. If no one knows about it, it’s never going to get the traction you need.
Create regular update schedules and vehicles to let your subscribers know what’s coming and what’s available. We all get these What’s New on Netflix emails, and if you’re interested, you’re opening them. Consider something similar.
Again, these aren’t for ALL of your contacts, just those people who subscribed to hear about new and exciting content on your site.
But for those people, consider engaging with them regularly. You might even consider asking them to provide feedback on additional content ideas, their satisfaction with your current content offering or areas that could be improved. This includes the user interface when navigating and searching for content on your site.
Think like the streaming services, and you’ll start thinking about content in an entirely different way.
One size doesn’t fit all. I like sci-fi, suspense and crime dramas. Other people like documentaries and comedies.
Organize your content into channels. This could be by vertical, by function, by role, by type of service or by type of content.
The key is to group your content into logical sections that make it easy for your prospects and customers to find, digest, share, mark as favorites and come back to again and again.
The better you organize your content, the better people’s experiences and the faster they’ll get emotionally connected to your content.
Speaking of channels, one of the best ways to start this effort is to organize your content by role or industry. This makes it easy for a CEO to find high-level stuff and for a marketing person to find more tactical content.
These two roles are looking for dramatically different content, and by organizing around roles, you’re making the experience as easy as possible. You’ll also quickly see where you have holes in your content offerings and where you need to beef up that content.
The show title and episode titles should talk to your target audience. If you’re going after CEOs, make sure you’re talking directly to them. If you’re trying to connect with CFOs, your titles, tone and keywords will be different.
Your overall approach to content creation works in this format as well. What questions are your prospects asking? Use video to answer those questions and provide additional context or examples along with the answers.
Video unlocks an entirely new way to communicate with prospects and customers. E-books, whitepapers, infographics and tip sheets are great, but now you can literally talk to people. There is something dramatically different about watching someone talk to you versus reading a PDF on your laptop.
This enhanced experience helps your prospects and your customers feel safe and comfortable working with you, your team and your company. When you take full advantage of this, your revenue will grow.
As with all content efforts, publishing frequently becomes the major hurdle. How often do you blog? Once a week, once a month or twice a week? I can tell you it’s not enough. How frequently do you publish other new written content? Once a month or once a quarter? It’s not enough.
You’re going to need to scale your content creation efforts to produce results in 2021 and beyond. Video gives you additional avenues to scale your content, but you still have to invest the time, money and energy to produce that original content.
Publishing once a week is the minimum you need to get a content marketing strategy to produce results. This is going to be a heavy lift for any company, let alone a small to medium-sized business that has never done anything like this before.
The more original content you create, the better your marketing will produce leads, sales opportunities and new customers.
Get your resources aligned around this pace and schedule. That might mean hiring or working with an agency that can quickly scale this for you. It might mean bringing on some freelancers to chip in and help out. It will definitely mean getting people in your company involved who can talk about important topics and share their thought leadership
This isn’t optional. You want to build your people’s personal brands. You want them front and center. If the CEO is willing to be the front woman, that’s what you need. If she’s not, then you’ll need a few other people to step in and tell your story.
This availability and willingness to create the content along with the pre-production, production and post-production efforts are all reasons most companies don’t launch something like this. Now is the time. It has never been easier – all you need is the plan and the people to participate.
There are probably a number of ways to get on your new contact list. People can subscribe to your blog, they can sign up for your e-newsletter or they can download something from your website, fill out a form and submit their contact info. Salespeople can also put new prospects in the CRM and opt them in for business emails.
But I’m encouraging you to treat this new content strategy in a slightly different way.
If we use the Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix models, I’d like you to think about asking people to subscribe to your content feed. By using a separate subscription and keeping their contact information separate, you create separate feeds for only content-related emails, messages and updates.
You quickly start talking to your new subscribers just like Netflix talks to their subscribers. This is going to produce a much higher open rate and click-through rate. A more engaged audience produces better results. If you blend all of your communication together, you might dimmish the power of this new content marketing strategy.
And while you can always include additional messages to these people, the more you blur the lines, the less effective your communication. People asked to subscribe to your new content stream, so keep that stream pure as best you can.
What do you do when you can’t produce enough content to support a strategy like this one? One option is to consider partnering with noncompetitive companies.
We’ve introduced a number of clients to this strategy and it worked very well. One example is an IT consulting company that now works with an accounting firm that targets the same industries.
Another example is two manufacturing firms that provide completely different products work together to target COOs and operations managers at their targeted prospects.
Finally, as a revenue growth agency, we partner with different technology companies to bring new and innovative ideas to our clients. We focus on the services; they focus on the technology. They promote the content to their audiences; we promote the content to ours.
Not only does this help with content production, but the cross-promotion is helpful to driving net new contacts into your marketing database without having to buy names or do cold outreach. It’s a much better approach to joint marketing than the traditional joint partner webinars of the past.
The production and video capabilities of the tools in your pocket right now are driving this new way to think about content. Video on your laptop via Zoom, video and audio from your smartphone and post-production tools – these are all unlocking new capabilities for companies to become publishers and content creators just like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Disney.
You can take advantage today and start driving leads with the use of video and audio content, or you can wait for your competitors to do it and then try to catch up.
I know we prefer to lead, and so do our clients. I think you’d prefer to lead, too.