They say content is king. “If you build it, they will come.” But 24/7? As consumers, we are inundated with blogs, Twitter memes, YouTube personalities and much more. We want to be educated as well as entertained. If we like the message, we glob on to it and are more likely to buy. And if the message is compelling, consumers will most likely be repeat buyers, telling their friends in the process.
There is a lot of overlap with traditional content, but with regards to the successes and pitfalls of the ideas of content “farms”, I will share a few tidbits that I have seen work at my prior companies and recent clients:
Messaging basics – On the business side, we have to be aware of how these types of messages come across and how that translates into audience growth. Of course, getting the basic ideas and concepts down is important.
Market “sharing” – Assuming you have good ideas and concepts, what is your target market and the personas/personalities that live in them? More importantly, how do you get—and keep—their attention? What types of content do you send them? How often? In the end, how do you create content that raises brand awareness, generates leads, and boosts engagement from all stages of the consumer experience – from try to buy and back again?
Enter the content factory – where a company not only creates content needed to attract specific buyers but also establishes the volume and timing of what is sent to them during their journey to a purchase.
Sounds simple, right?
Well, yes and no. What vendors typically do is to create Websites loaded with all types of content and try to drive the target audience to them using SEM/SEO + outbound emails loaded with links.
But that’s only the first step.
As in downhill ski racing, athletes practice and train constantly to become pros. The same goes for your content factory. Instant success won’t come overnight – unless you’re lucky! Like the professional skier, you must come up with a race plan, follow through and review your decisions in order to keep your business looking and sounding like a well-oiled World Cup ski team.
Research, Research, Research
Scattershot approaches mentioned above is hit or miss…the end results tend to have a low return on investment — not very sustainable when you consider the prime objective of a content factory is demand generation (DG). In order for DG to work, it needs a captive and sustainable audience.
Just like any good process or model, thoughtful research and pre-work is the key. What I have seen work well before the content is even developed include:
Once you have completed the above exercise, you need to do a content inventory analysis and be honest about your gaps (and address them).
Now the hard part – you have to commit to keeping the factory running 24/7. Some experts say it takes 8-12 touches per contact before they buy from you.
Also, there are different content tracks for new prospects, prospects that fell out of the pipeline, customers, etc.
For example, if you have a B2B universe of 20k contacts, you are talking about hundreds of thousands of touches per quarter – this can make anyone’s head spin trying to keep up! Now you understand where the term “content factory” comes from?
Diamond Run Commitments
Like a skier about to go down their first black diamond (for experts only ) run, you need to commit to the process, or you will fall short on results.
That said, it best to pilot the process with a much smaller segment of contacts and build from there – using the insight gained to develop the next series of content. So, commit to the journey and add speed the more comfortable you get.
Most companies “go big” to a large dataset and continue to use the same content repeatedly, risking low conversion rates and a high number of unsubscribes.
A simple example below illustrates an outbound email sequence that touches one prospect with different types of relevant content over a period of time:
When you add other channels such as social and phone follow-up to this email sequence, I have personally witnessed results exceeding 20 “sales ready” leads in ~30-45 days from a relatively small group of contacts!
If you’re interested to learn more, feel free to contact me at email@example.com
or check out our site for more compelling content.