PARTICIPATION IS THE ANSWER

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2 PARTICIPATION IS THE ANSWER In the the B2B marketing world, content is the kingdom and investments in content won t show an ROI unless the quality is high. Self directed buyers must be able to easily find, consume and engage with useful information from your brand. The content challenge: A recent study from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute reports that 60% of B2B marketers are struggling to produce engaging content. Marketers are diligent though, and 72% are focused on creating more engaging content. Scaling a content marketing program can be overwhelming and many B2B marketers don t have the resources in-house to meet market demand. So how can marketers create a greater variety of content that their customers will easily find, enjoy and find useful? We think the answer is Participation Marketing. By adding community participation in the creation of content for marketing, B2B marketers can tap into expertise in and outside of the company to increase content quality, inspire promotion and quantity, consistently. If you would like to learn about scaling the content that you re creating in a way that truly satisfies your customers, then you re going to want to dig into how adding more participation in your content marketing fits in the marketing mix. In this toolkit you will find advice from TopRank Marketing s experts, tips from major brand marketers, case studies and a helpful checklist to get you started. If you want your content to be great, ask your community to participate. - Lee Odden

3 THE PARTICIPATION MARKETING ADVANTAGE Incorporating community participation into content creation offers many advantages for B2B marketers, including: Ø Quality: Tapping subject matter experts for content co-creation can improve the quality of your content. Ø Quantity: Content creation distributed across multiple participants enables creation of more content on a consistent basis. Ø Engagement: When members of the community are involved with creating content with your brand it can lead to greater engagement with the community overall.. Ø Reach: Participation inspires action and content co-creation inspires a mutual interest in making the project succeed. Ø Scale: Adding participation based content creation can increase overall production of quality, useful content. CELIA BROWN SAP Senior Director of Content Marketing According to Nielsen, content produced by experts is the ONLY type of content that has been proven to exhibit a strong lift in all areas of the purchase cycle. CASE STUDY: CO-CREATION BOOSTS EVENT AWARENESS How A New Conference Used Participation to Expand Reach to New Attendees Copyblogger Media provides the Rainmaker content marketing platform and part of their marketing strategy includes hosting an annual conference. To increase awareness of the event, a preview ebook was co-created with influential speakers from the conference. By including well known business keynote speakers, marketing influencers and the famous Henry Rollins, the event ebook and supporting content inspired substantial awareness for the event. With co-created content, new audiences were attracted, engaged and converted to registered attendees. FULL CASE STUDY

4 A STRATEGIC VIEW OF CONTENT CO-CREATION To get people to participate in content, B2B marketers can implement a co-creation program. However, in order for a content program to be successful, it s important that a strategy is in place. Improve the success of your participation marketing by considering the following: Ø Audience: Clearly identify your audience and the key questions they need answered to buy. This will provide useful insights for topics and determining whom to co-create content with. Ø Objectives: Document what the company hopes to achieve with a participation marketing initiative, what is in it for the audience and what will inspire those that help co-create. Ø Goals: Setting the proper set of goals will keep a participation marketing strategy accountable for attracting the right audience, engaging them in a meaningful way and moving them to action. Ø Success: Be specific about what success will look like and tie it to KPIs and business outcomes. LEE ODDEN TopRank Online Marketing CEO The lens for your participation marketing strategy and brand story should be empathetic to customer needs. Once you identify what it is that you or your product stands for, you need to become the best answer wherever your customers are looking. PERCENTAGE OF B2B MARKETERS WHO HAVE A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY Yes, but it is not documented 48% 16% No 32% 4% Unsure Yes, and it is documented Source: MarketingProfs & Content Marketing Institute 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends North America

5 RECRUIT THE RIGHT MIX OF CONTRIBUTORS Once there is a participation marketing plan in place, it s time to begin searching for contributors that will help make the program successful. It s important to include a mix of influencers, internal subject matter experts and niche experts outside of the organization. Selecting whom to work with is only the first step. Now, comes the task of convincing them that it will be worthwhile to them if they collaborate in a participation marketing program. Reaching out to a contributor and asking them to participate without ever having had an interaction rarely works. Start by sharing and interacting with them on social networks, commenting on articles they ve written and finding simple ways to break the ice. When it s finally time to go for it, make sure that the requests are credible, succinct, clearly state what is being asked and accentuate mutual value. LAURA FITTON HubSpot Inbound Marketing Evangelist We make sure we're paying attention to what relevant influencers are writing and sharing, so that we can amplify their best content. We leave some of our most resonant content where influencers will find it on their own, or send it to just a couple of highly relevant people asking for their opinion on it. CASE STUDY: CREATING EVERGREEN CONTENT WITH INFLUENCERS Why Adding Participation to Evergreen Content Can Meet Multiple Objectives A participation marketing initiative can often serve multiple functions. That was the case with a leading healthcare technology company that wanted to generate leads among potential C-Suite buyers attending an event, and raise awareness for their software solutions to the larger community. The approach featured an evergreen ebook containing influencer-driven content and promotion and resulted in more downloads, views and referral traffic from influencer amplification than the company had ever seen before. FULL CASE STUDY

6 ORGANIZE & PUBLISH CO-CREATED CONTENT Participation marketing often requires bringing together information from multiple sources into one (or more) cohesive pieces of content. This creates an opportunity to utilize a publishing model best suited for the content available. When assembling co-created content assets, consider using a hub and spoke model. The larger content asset (blog post, ebook, infographic) is the hub and the spokes are repurposed variations that you can use for promotion (tweets, quotes, images). This approach enables B2B marketers to create teasers of larger content asset(s) to intrigue and draw in the audience by using quotes or insights from the influencers that have participated. JUSTIN LEVY Citrix Director, Social Marketing Companies should offer easy ways for their community to create content. It shouldn't be over-engineered or hard for their community to create. THE HUB AND SPOKE PUBLISHING MODEL SPOKE(S) HUB HUB = Main content asset(s) Spoke(s) = Repurposed or supporting content for promotion

7 HOW TO AMPLIFY CO-CREATED CONTENT After all of the hours and brainpower spent on creating a participation marketing program, what good is it if nobody sees it? One of the most critical and often overlooked elements of most content marketing plans is the amplification of the content. Along with the documented a plan for the creation of content assets, it s important to create a detailed and strategic plan for how it will be promoted. Be sure to not only plan how the brand will promote the content, but also provide content contributors with ease of use in sharing. To make it easy, consider sending them visuals that include their contribution, pre-written social messages and links to all of the content assets. MICHAEL BRENNER NewsCred Head of Strategy Influencers can be a great source of both content creation and distribution. My main advice is to make sure that you are thinking about what's in it for the influencer. How will they benefit? To inspire influencers: share their content, comment on their blogs and cover their speaking engagements. CASE STUDY: INSPIRED CONTRIBUTORS PROMOTE How Over 40 Brand Marketers Were Inspired to Share Co-Created Content Content Marketing World is the largest content marketing conference in the world. Even so, they are always searching for new ways to engage current attendees and attract new attendees. A select number of influencers that were speaking at the event were invited participate in content creation that would promote their presentations, the conference and create a useful and infotaining resource for all marketers interested in content marketing. Multiple assets were created and shared with the influencers to publish on their blogs and social channels. The series quickly led to over 200,000 views and more than 2,000 downloads. FULL CASE STUDY

8 PARTICIPATION MARKETING CHECKLIST Start making your content great today with this 5 step content marketing co-creation checklist: 1 IDENTIFY CONTENT TOPICS & THEME 4 CHOOSE CONTENT TYPES q Determine which topics best represent the intersection of your brand objectives and the goals of your customers. q Conduct keyword research to provide data on topic choices for what customers are searching for. One of the benefits of a participation marketing program is that there are numerous content options to work with. Based on your program goals, target audience and messaging, decide what type of assets you will co-create. Popular options include: q Review relevant, popular content on social channels to surface emerging theme trends and opportunities to differentiate. q Blog Posts q Visual Content q ebooks q Videos q s q Webinars 2 IDENTIFY CO-CREATION PARTICIPANTS 5 ASSEMBLE CO-CREATED CONTENT ASSETS Content co-creators are most motivated when there are mutual interests being served by the collaboration. To find the right content partners, identify people that have expertise and popularity related to your chosen topics. For example: q Internal Subject Matter Experts q Industry Influencers Once you have decided on topics, type of content and contributors, it s time to create your content masterpiece and publish. Essential co-created content publishing considerations include: q Focus on a primary theme that will connect with your target audience and give credible exposure to your co-creation contributors. 3 q Current Customers RECRUIT CONTENT CO-CREATORS q Include a mix of popular industry brandividuals with niche experts to deliver a truly info-taining content experience for your audience. q Optimize content for search (SEO) and for ease of social sharing. q Once published, promote your content through normal distribution channels. q Send co-creators pre-written tweets and other assets that will make it easy for them to share the content they helped create. q Build a relationship with co-creation partners by interacting on social networks. q Make it easy for them to contribute and clearly communicate expectations. q Monitor social, search and traffic KPIs to determine which contributors are helping to amplify and the effect on reaching your marketing goals for the project.

9 YOUR PARTNER IN CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESS TopRank Marketing is a digital marketing agency that helps Fortune 1000 companies improve brand visibility, grow communities and increase sales online. Our team of marketing professionals are masters at planning, implementing and optimizing integrated online marketing programs for some of the top B2B brands in the world. If you would like to discuss a strategic content marketing program that s optimized, socialized, influencer activated and co-created, then give us a call! TOPRANKMARKETING.COM

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