Coming soon on CMAB

Coming Soon

Coming soon on Content Marketing Across Borders (title to be finalised):

  • How to Measure Content Marketing Performances
  • The Rise of the Data Scientist and Hybrid Marketer (original post to be published on NewsCred Insight’s blog)
  • How to win visitors applying the psychology of design to content marketing and social media

How to Measure Global Content Marketing Performances: my Slide Deck for #DBS17

Content Performance

Here it is. The deck presented last week at the Digital Branding Summit, October 2017, Barcelona. The full script is coming soon.

Summary:

  • The rise of data scientist and hybrid marketer;
  • How to embrace content marketing to drive measurable business results that impact the bottom line;
  • What to measure and how to gain actionable insights;
  • How to gain a better understanding of content efforts to reach new audiences, drive business, and become a more cost-effective marketing channel.

Featured image by Roman Mager

Global Content Marketing: How to Find the Right Balance Between Central and Local Teams

For a global content marketing strategy to be effective in a large and complex enterprise, central and local teams must find the right balance.

Just deploying a content marketing model across multiple regions will simply not work – even if you’ve successfully tested it in one country. In most regions, like Asia or Europe, for example, where there are dozens of countries and languages, it is unrealistic to expect that global and local teams will work together seamlessly from the beginning. It takes time for them to plan, pilot, iterate, and find the right global to local balance.

In this post, published by NewsCred’s Insight, I’ll discuss how you can find that balance.

Content Metrics: request your topic for my next speech in Barcelona

Metrics

The first week of October I will be attending the Digital Branding Summit 2017 in Barcelona. I’ve been requested to take the event chairman role (request which I gladly accepted) and, in addition, I will present the session ‘Back to Basics: how Content Marketing is driving measurable business success’.

Focus will be on content marketing metrics – what you should measure, what you should not. I will present a table of common KPIs by phase of the buyer journey. I will provide some examples from large businesses and I’ll show what they do measure. I will cover the point of this post by Doug Kessler (‘Why revenue is the wrong marketing metric‘).

What I want to discuss too if it’s always worth to measure content marketing performance; and if not, when it’s not (clear?). Have a quick look at this post from Carla Johnson. Intriguing. The core of the article sits in a few lines:

Numbers only tell part of the story. Most metrics only calculate the things that can be seen…which is why they can be measured. Becoming a slave to analytics means you miss opportunities to be massively creative and learn new things.

So the point I’d love to analyse with the event audience is: when it’s the case to measure? When it’s not? Also: what else do you want me to cover? Feel free to request topics and post questions here or anywhere else on my social channels. Friends in Barcelona: I’ll see you in a couple of weeks. All others: I’ll write a post on it, as a presentation script. And I’ll share my deck, as usual.

Featured photo by Gemma Evans

How to create B2B and B2C Personas and Map Content to the Buyer Journey

(I wrote this article a few months ago for NewsCred’s Insight blog. It resulted as one of the more popular of the last quarter, generating $300K of Marketing Influenced Opportunities. Here is an updated version)

To succeed at content marketing (and marketing, in general), you must understand your audience. Content starts and sustains conversations with customers. But in order to have a meaningful dialogue, you need to know to whom you’re speaking. “Developing buyer personas” is what marketers call the process of figuring that out. 

But I’d argue that developing buyer personas is just one part of the content marketing equation – you need to research how your audience consumes content, as well.

Let me put it this way: developing personas, understanding their buyer journeys, and mapping content to the different stages of the journeys all contribute to content marketing success. You can’t have one without the other.

Let’s analyze each step.

Continue reading “How to create B2B and B2C Personas and Map Content to the Buyer Journey”

The Ultimate Guide to Global Content Marketing for Large Enterprises

Global Content Marketing

I wrote this post less than one year ago. It was November 2016, exactly twelve months after launching a global content marketing program for the IT Business Unit of Schneider Electric.

The same month I presented my experience at NewsCred’s ThinkContent 2016 Conference in London. Today, less than one year later, I have revised and updated the original post, with examples and experiences coming from other companies where I contributed to implement global content marketing programs. I added three paragraphs too (“Definitions”, “Localisation” and “Metrics”), to touch relevant topics that in my view were not properly covered on the original post. The original post was mainly focused on B2B best practices – which is natural if you come, as I did, from 15 years of experience in B2B enterprises. This time it includes B2C examples and considerations. Also, this post partially reflects what I presented at CMWorld 2017, the largest global Content Marketing Conference.

Since last year, my passion for traveling has not changed. In fact, I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not travelling. In a way, it has been a constant whether I was on the road for business or pleasure. My travels have given me a better understanding of the world. But I never knew how much I had to learn until I was tasked to launch a brand new global content marketing program for Schneider Electric. In short: I thought I knew the world, but when you have to develop content for different geographies, well, it feels like you never stepped outside your front door.

My first global content marketing journey started in three years ago, when my team and I began defining Schneider Electric IT Division’s content strategy and the processes that would sustain it. Our goals were twofold: increase leads and marketing opportunities, which were flat and stagnating at that time (marketing opportunities had to count at least for 20% of overall opportunities), and increase brand awareness. After defining our strategy, we spent one full year preparing for the global launch through multiple pilots. We learned an incredible amount from our successes and mistakes. One year later I replicated the same model with global clients once I moved to NewsCred at the beginning of 2017.

What follows is a series of valuable considerations from all these experiences, which should prove helpful to other marketers who are establishing and launching their own global content marketing strategy.

Continue reading “The Ultimate Guide to Global Content Marketing for Large Enterprises”

Why Content Marketing is NOT a Campaign

If you are a content marketer you must be familiar with the following statement:

“Content Marketing is a long-time commitment, not a campaign”

The quote comes from Joe Pulizzi and is one of my favourite content marketing quotes, together with “Content doesn’t promote itself”, “Not more content, but more relevant content” (both from Jason Miller, LinkedIn). All easy to remember. Useful, when I need to express a concept in a few words, during my public speeches or in conversations with my peers in Schneider Electric.

Back to the opening quote, here is what Joe says: Content marketing is all about sharing information that is considered useful to customers and prospective customers via articles, blogs, videos, and other media. It’s not a focus on creating salesy or “buy now” messages. Content Marketing is an approach, a methodology, a discipline, rather than a Campaign. It’s a long-term play when building a brand relationship with customers and prospects. Becoming an expert and building an audience doesn’t happen overnight. My experience of the last years reflects the long-term commitment to build a working revenue stream with the content marketing approach.

And its not just a philosophical difference.

Continue reading “Why Content Marketing is NOT a Campaign”

Content Marketing Strategy: a Guide in 10 Easy Steps (the updated version)

This post was originally created as a script for the speech I gave at Content Marketing Fast Forward (Amsterdam, May 2016). Then updated with new concepts, samples and links to reflects the session I presented at Festival of Marketing  (London in October 2016).

***

Large enterprises, especially B2B firms, no longer tend to be concerned that their solutions aren’t attractive enough for Content Marketing. In fact, numbers show that Content Marketing discipline has been adopted by B2B firms at faster speed than their counterparts in B2C.

So, if you work in a large enterprise, how can you transform your marketing strategy from a traditional to a modern and successful content marketing model aligned with company growth and business goals? This can be done through proper content marketing strategy, integration of content, social media and PR and a deep transformation of the overall marketing model, facilitated by marketing technologies and tools. Technology’s influence spans all industries and continues to change and revolutionize everything it touches. The content marketing industry is no exception.

Traditional marketing has always been about pushing company products and services in front of the audience (outbound marketing). Content Marketing is about meeting the informational needs of potential customers so they become interested in you (inbound). Two years ago I led the implementation of a content marketing program for the IT Division of Schneider Electric, moving from an advanced but traditional approach to a new, modern, model based on content marketing strategy. The new model introduced elements of uniqueness, like the global editorial board and the editorial calendar – many boards and many calendars were in place before the transformation. It seamlessly integrated content, social media and PR, used to be disconnected and misaligned. It made advantage of the latest marketing technologies for content management, workflow, distribution and analytics. A summary of the full “story” can be found on the post published on Contently’s Content Strategist and on the podcast recently recorded by FIR and LinkedIn.

Based on a definition from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) “Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Continue reading “Content Marketing Strategy: a Guide in 10 Easy Steps (the updated version)”

Why Blogs are still at the Core of your Content Marketing Strategy

Remember the Blogosphere?

I started blogging in the first years of 2000. Remember vintage terms as “the blogosphere”? Well, I was part of the Italian blogosphere, that small Italian elite. Yes, exactly, the “Italian blogosphere”. I started with personal blogs, moving time to time to new blogging platforms to gain publishing and design flexibility and autonomy. I met other bloggers in Milan, which is the town where most of those innovators were based, to exchange ideas and experiences. After a few years, and with a deeper knowledge of blog technology and dynamics, I created an internal blog at the business where I was leading marketing operations for European countries. I always promoted internal blogs as a vehicle of (employee) freedom and as one of the best way to humanise companies and C-level teams. I turned soon to using external blogs as one of the main distribution channel of my marketing content strategies. Today, after more than 15 years, I am still a blogger and I still believe that bogs are positioned at the core of our content marketing strategy.

In term of technology, after a few years using pre-built blogging platforms (Splinder, Blogger) I moved to the code-heavy Movable Type platform. I finally ‘met’ WordPresswhen I switched to my current blog host, a few years ago. About 25% of websites today are powered by WordPress. This is the technology/ platform I suggest even to large enterprises because of its simplicity and social integration. But let’s go back to a formal definition, for a moment.

Continue reading “Why Blogs are still at the Core of your Content Marketing Strategy”

Big Rock content in a nutshell

It happens, more and more. When I write or talk about content marketing strategy, I am used to get the following question – among others: OK, but what exactly is “Big Rock’ content? And what is the difference between Big Rocks and eBooks?

Let me try to answer here, publicly. Big Rock is nothing more than highly valuable content.

The Big Rock content concept was popularized by Jason Miller when he ran social media strategy for Marketo. Jason defines a big rock content asset as a substantial piece of content such as “the definitive guide to a problem you solve”. Jason is quoted as saying, “A big rock content asset can be 20, 30 or more pages long. It should be visually compelling of course. It can be gated for lead capture. Then, you “slice” up the big rock content asset into blog posts, infographics, Slideshare decks, webinars, etc.”

In a nutshell: Big Rock is a substantial piece of content based on the idea of becoming the definitive guide to a conversation that you want to own.

The current trend in content marketing is to develop an all-encompassing guide to whatever our keywords or topics are which is written strategically instead of instructionally. This type of content is very top of funnel and can serve many purposes such as SEO, fuel for social and lead generation, sales enablement, and event collateral to name a few.

Big Rocks should be launched with the same emphasis of new products.

A great example of Big Rock content is Marketo’s definitive guide series. Guys at Marketo have created a series of eBooks clocking in at close to 100 pages each. This Big Rock piece of content is something that was repurposed using the turkey analogy mentioned in a previous post. Out of this one Big Rock piece of content Marketo had carved out 15 blogs, two infographics, two webinars, two videos, two SlideShare presentations, a number of cheat sheets and much more. Imagine the pieces and parts you can pull out of a Big Rock piece of content and remember that this is the foundation that is going to fuel your campaigns for quite some time.

A good example of Big Rock in the Data Center/Cloud space – which is where my company leads the way – is VMWare’s Virtualization 2.0 for Dummies. Same concept, same approach (not sure about VMWare’s launching capabilities, but the book/Big Rock is superb).

Before closing, let’s go with the second piece of the question: what’s the difference between Big Rocks and eBooks?

An eBook can be a Big Rock if it matches the definition given above: an all-encompassing guide to whatever your keywords or topics are which is written strategically instead of instructionally. Also, eBooks can be considered a Big Rock if sliced up into “turkey slices” and not just considered as a single piece of content. EBooks of course could also be just an individual repurposed pieces of a Big Rock.

Some super-useful resources: