Content Advocacy: Encouraging Employees to Brand Cheerleaders

What is content advocacy?

Content advocacy means encouraging employees to share and promote your company's content. It is taking steps to make it easy for employees to share your branded content with their connections.

By empowering employees to act as advocates, companies can extend their reach, enhance brand awareness, and foster employee engagement. This strategy relies on providing training, resources, and incentives to ensure that employees represent the company positively while sharing content authentically.

Change Employees to Cheerleaders with Content Advocacy

Are your employees enthusiastic advocates for your company? Encouraging employees to be content advocates is an essential strategy for businesses looking to cultivate a powerful brand presence. When employees become ambassadors for your brand, it can lead to increased engagement, higher credibility, and greater brand loyalty.

One of the things we do here at Seven Oaks Consulting is help companies create a culture of content advocacy within their organizations. By this I mean we help marketing departments encourage employees to be content advocates and evangelize for the brand. It takes time to be successful, but once your employees become part of the content marketing team's advocacy group, it can really take off - and greatly amplify your content marketing reach.

Creating a Culture of Content Advocacy

Creating a culture where employees feel empowered to endorse your company's content is key. By providing them with the tools and resources to share your brand's message, you can tap into their networks, expanding your reach exponentially. Employee advocates lend an authentic and trusted voice to your brand, making your messaging more relatable and persuasive to potential customers.

But how do you encourage employees to become content advocates? It starts with fostering a positive and inclusive work environment where employees feel valued and motivated. Providing recognition and incentives for their advocacy efforts can also go a long way. Additionally, implementing training programs and sharing success stories can inspire employees to get involved.

In this article, we'll explore effective strategies for encouraging employees to be content advocates, and how it can benefit your brand. Let's dive in and unlock the untapped potential of your most valuable asset – your employees.

What Is Employee (Marketing) Advocacy?

Employee advocacy refers to the practice of employees actively promoting and endorsing their company's products, services, and brand. It involves leveraging the personal networks and influence of employees to amplify the reach and impact of company content. Rather than relying solely on traditional marketing efforts, employee advocacy taps into the power of authentic and relatable voices to build trust and credibility with potential customers.

Benefits of Employee Advocacy

There are numerous benefits to encouraging employees to be content advocates. Firstly, employee advocates can significantly expand the reach of your brand's message. By sharing content with their personal networks, employees can expose your brand to a wider audience, increasing brand visibility and attracting potential customers.

Secondly, employee advocates lend an air of authenticity to your brand. Consumers tend to trust recommendations from people they know more than advertising or marketing materials. When employees advocate for your brand, it adds credibility and builds trust, making your messaging more persuasive.

Additionally, employee advocacy can lead to increased employee engagement and job satisfaction. When employees feel valued and empowered to represent their company, it boosts morale and fosters a sense of pride in their work. This, in turn, can improve productivity and overall employee performance.

The Role of Content Advocates in a Company

Content advocates play a crucial role in amplifying your brand's message and driving business growth. They act as brand ambassadors, sharing company content with their networks and engaging in conversations about your products or services. By doing so, they help create brand awareness, generate leads, and ultimately contribute to revenue growth.

Content advocates also serve as a bridge between your brand and potential customers. They have a deep understanding of your company's values, products, and services, allowing them to provide valuable insights and answer questions from their personal network. This level of personalized interaction can build trust and credibility, making it more likely for potential customers to convert.

Furthermore, content advocates can provide valuable feedback and insights to your marketing team. Their direct interaction with customers and prospects can uncover valuable insights into customer preferences, pain points, and industry trends. This information can inform and improve your marketing strategies, allowing you to better tailor your messaging to resonate with your target audience.

How to Encourage Employees to Become Content Advocates

Encouraging employees to become content advocates requires a proactive and strategic approach. Here are some effective strategies to consider:

Providing Training and Resources for Content Advocates

To empower employees to become effective content advocates, it's important to provide them with the necessary training and resources. This can include workshops or webinars on personal branding, social media best practices, and content sharing guidelines. By equipping employees with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively represent your brand, you can ensure that their advocacy efforts align with your brand's messaging and values.

Additionally, providing employees with easy access to high-quality content that they can share is crucial. This can include pre-approved social media posts, blog articles, videos, or infographics. By streamlining the content sharing process and providing ready-made materials, you make it easier for employees to engage in advocacy efforts.

We like to set up Slack channels for employees, especially the marketing team, and send out alerts whenever new content is published. Additionally, we encourage call centers/SDRs/appointment setters and the sales team to access and share relevant content whenever possible. Lastly, if we've interviewed employees or customers, we tag them on LinkedIn to celebrate the publication of the piece. Each of these steps helps people feel part of the process of sharing wins and brand advocates.

Creating a Supportive Company Culture for Content Advocacy

Fostering a positive and inclusive work environment is key to encouraging employees to become content advocates. When employees feel valued, supported, and motivated, they are more likely to take an active role in advocating for their company. Leaders should communicate the importance of employee advocacy and create a culture that recognizes and celebrates employees' efforts.

Regularly communicating the impact of employee advocacy and sharing success stories can also inspire others to get involved. Highlighting the positive outcomes and benefits of employee advocacy can motivate employees to become advocates themselves.

Recognizing and Rewarding Content Advocates

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their advocacy efforts can go a long way in encouraging continued engagement. This can be done through various means, such as employee spotlights, rewards and incentives, or even gamification. By publicly acknowledging and appreciating employees' advocacy contributions, you reinforce the value of their efforts and encourage others to participate.

It's important to note that recognition and rewards should be tailored to individual preferences and motivations. Some employees may appreciate public recognition, while others may prefer more personal or private forms of appreciation. Understanding and catering to these preferences can ensure that your recognition efforts are effective and well-received.

Examples of Successful Employee Advocacy Programs

To further inspire and guide your employee advocacy efforts, let's explore some examples of successful programs:

  1. IBM's "IBM Voices" program: IBM encourages its employees to share company news, insights, and thought leadership content on their personal social media channels. They provide employees with training, content guidelines, and a platform to easily share pre-approved content. The program has been successful in expanding the company's reach and increasing brand visibility.
  2. Adobe's "Adobe Life" program: Adobe showcases employee stories and experiences through their "Adobe Life" blog. Employees are encouraged to contribute their own stories and perspectives, sharing their passion for their work and the company. This program has helped humanize the brand and create a sense of community among employees.
  3. Starbucks' "My Starbucks Idea" program: Starbucks created an online platform where employees can submit ideas and suggestions for improving the company. This program not only encourages employee advocacy but also fosters a culture of innovation and collaboration. Employees feel empowered to contribute to the company's success and make a positive impact.

Measuring the Impact of Employee Advocacy

To gauge the effectiveness of your employee advocacy initiatives, it's important to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and regularly track and measure relevant metrics. Some common metrics to consider include:

  1. Reach and engagement: Measure the number of people reached through employee shares and the level of engagement generated (likes, comments, shares, etc.).
  2. Lead generation: Track the number of leads generated through employee advocacy efforts and their conversion rates.
  3. Brand sentiment: Monitor the sentiment surrounding your brand and track any shifts or improvements resulting from employee advocacy.
  4. Website traffic: Measure the increase in website traffic resulting from employee shares and advocacy efforts.

By analyzing these metrics, you can gain insights into the impact of your employee advocacy initiatives and make data-driven decisions to optimize your strategies.

Conclusion

Encouraging employees to become content advocates is a powerful strategy for building a strong brand presence and driving business growth. When employees feel empowered to represent and endorse their company, it leads to increased engagement, credibility, and brand loyalty. By providing training, resources, and a supportive work environment, you can unlock the untapped potential of your most valuable asset – your employees. So, invest in employee advocacy and harness the power of authentic voices to amplify your brand's message.


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The Importance of Repurposing Content

The Importance of Repurposing Content

In today's digital landscape, creating high-quality and engaging content is paramount. However, it's not enough to simply create content; you also need to ensure that it reaches your target audience effectively. This is where repurposing content for different channels comes into play. By adapting your content to various platforms and formats, you can maximize its reach and engagement.

Repurposing content involves transforming a piece of existing content into a different format or length, which allows you to tap into new audiences and platforms. Whether it's turning a blog post into a video or creating an infographic from a research study, repurposing content enables you to deliver your message in a way that resonates with your audience on different channels.

Not only does repurposing content enhance your visibility and reach, but it also saves time and effort. Instead of starting from scratch every time, you can leverage your existing content library and give it a new lease of life.

Understanding Your Target Audience and Their Preferred Channels

Before repurposing your content, it's crucial to understand your target audience and the platforms they frequent. Each channel has its own unique characteristics and audience demographics, so tailoring your content to suit each channel is essential for maximum impact.

Start by conducting thorough audience research to gain insights into their preferences, interests, and behaviors. This will help you identify the channels they are most active on and the content formats they engage with the most. For example, if your target audience consists of young professionals who are active on Instagram, repurposing your content into visually appealing images or short videos would be more effective than long-form blog posts.

By understanding your target audience and their preferred channels, you can focus your efforts on repurposing your content in a way that aligns with their preferences and maximizes the chances of engagement.

Evaluating the Performance of Your Existing Content

Before diving into repurposing, it's essential to evaluate the performance of your existing content. Analyzing metrics such as page views, social shares, and engagement rates will give you valuable insights into which pieces of content are resonating with your audience and which ones are not.

Identify the top-performing content that has generated the most engagement or conversions. These are the pieces of content that have the potential to be repurposed successfully. On the other hand, if certain pieces have not performed well, consider whether they can be improved or repurposed in a different format to appeal to a wider audience.

By evaluating the performance of your existing content, you can make informed decisions about which pieces to repurpose and how to optimize them for maximum impact.

Identifying Content Formats That Can Be Repurposed

Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience and have evaluated the performance of your existing content, it's time to identify the content formats that can be repurposed effectively. Here are a few common formats that can be repurposed for different channels:

  1. Blog posts: Transform long-form blog posts into shorter, bite-sized pieces of content for social media platforms or convert them into video scripts for YouTube or TikTok.
  2. Infographics: Condense research studies or data-heavy content into visually appealing infographics that can be shared on social media or included in email newsletters.
  3. Videos: Take key points from blog posts or articles and create engaging video content for platforms like YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram.
  4. Podcasts: Transcribe your podcast episodes and repurpose them into blog posts or create shorter clips for social media platforms.
  5. E-books or guides: Break down e-books or comprehensive guides into smaller blog posts. Create email courses that provide valuable content over a series of emails.

Tips for Repurposing Content Effectively

When repurposing content, it's important to keep a few key tips in mind to ensure that your efforts are effective and yield the desired results. Here are some best practices for repurposing content:

  1. Tailor content to each platform: Each channel has its own unique characteristics and audience expectations. Adapt your content to suit the platform by considering factors such as format, tone, and length.
  2. Optimize for SEO: When repurposing content, make sure to optimize it for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords and meta tags. This will help improve its visibility and reach.
  3. Maintain consistency in messaging: While adapting your content for different channels, ensure that the core message and brand voice remain consistent. This will help create a cohesive brand experience for your audience.
  4. Add value with each repurposed piece: Each repurposed piece of content should provide value to your audience. Whether it's sharing additional insights or presenting information in a new and engaging way, make sure each repurposed piece offers something unique.
  5. Promote across channels: Once you've repurposed your content, promote it across all relevant channels to maximize its reach. Cross-promotion will help increase visibility and engagement.

Repurposing Content for Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms offer a wealth of opportunities for repurposing content and reaching a wider audience. Here are some effective strategies for repurposing content on social media:

  1. Create visual content: Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are highly visual, so repurpose your content into visually appealing images or infographics that can be easily shared and engage users.
  2. Share snippets or quotes: Extract key points or impactful quotes from your existing content and share them as standalone posts on platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn. This can pique the interest of your audience and drive traffic back to your website.
  3. Repurpose blog posts into mini-series: If you have a long-form blog post, break it down into a series of shorter posts that can be shared over multiple days. This helps maintain engagement and encourages users to follow along for more content.
  4. Conduct live Q&A sessions: Use platforms like Facebook Live or Instagram Live to repurpose your content by hosting live Q&A sessions or discussions related to your existing content. This allows you to engage directly with your audience and provide real-time value.

Repurposing Content for Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing is a powerful tool for nurturing leads and engaging with your audience. Repurposing articles, blog posts and more for email campaigns can help you maximize the impact of your messages. Here's how you can repurpose content for email marketing campaigns:

  1. Convert blog posts into newsletters: Take your top-performing blog posts and repurpose them into engaging email newsletters. This allows you to reach your audience directly in their inbox and provide valuable content.
  2. Create exclusive content: Repurpose your existing content by creating exclusive pieces that are only available to your email subscribers. This incentivizes users to sign up for your mailing list and provides them with additional value.
  3. Repackage content as email courses: Take a series of related blog posts or videos and repurpose them into an email course. This allows you to provide valuable content over a series of emails and nurture leads effectively.
  4. Share snippets in email campaigns: Use snippets or excerpts from your existing content as teasers in your email campaigns. This can entice recipients to click through and read the full content on your website.

Repurposing Content for Video Platforms

Video content has become increasingly popular, and repurposing your existing content for video platforms can help you tap into this trend. Here are some strategies for repurposing content for video platforms:

  1. Convert blog posts into video scripts: Take your blog posts or articles and repurpose them into video scripts. Use visuals, animations, and engaging storytelling to bring your content to life on platforms like YouTube or TikTok.
  2. Create video tutorials or demonstrations: If you have instructional or how-to content, repurpose it into video tutorials or demonstrations. This allows you to provide a more immersive and engaging experience for your audience.
  3. Host live webinars or workshops: Repurpose your existing content by hosting live webinars or workshops on video platforms. This allows you to interact with your audience in real-time and provide additional insights or value.
  4. Share behind-the-scenes footage: Give your audience a glimpse behind the scenes by repurposing your content into behind-the-scenes videos. This helps humanize your brand and build a deeper connection with your audience.

By repurposing your content for video platforms, you can tap into the growing popularity of video content and engage with your audience in a more dynamic and immersive way.

Repurposing Content for Podcasts and Audio Platforms

Podcasts and audio platforms offer a unique opportunity to repurpose your content and engage with your audience on-the-go. Here's how you can repurpose content for podcasts and audio platforms:

  1. Repurpose blog posts into podcast episodes: Take your blog posts or articles and repurpose them into podcast episodes. This allows your audience to consume your content while multitasking or during their commute.
  2. Create audio summaries: Condense your longer-form content into shorter audio summaries or snippets that can be shared on platforms like SoundCloud or Spotify. This allows you to capture the attention of your audience who prefer shorter and more digestible content.
  3. Conduct interviews or panel discussions: Repurpose your existing content by hosting interviews or panel discussions on your podcast or audio platform. This allows you to bring in experts or industry leaders and provide additional insights or perspectives.
  4. Convert webinars into audio recordings: If you have recorded webinars or presentations, repurpose them into audio recordings. Share them as podcast episodes. This helps you leverage existing content and reach a wider audience.

The Benefits of Repurposing Content for Different Channels

Repurposing content for different channels is a highly effective strategy for maximizing your reach, engagement, and overall content ROI. Not only does repurposing content enhance your visibility and reach, but it also saves time and effort. Remember to tailor your content to each platform, optimize it for SEO, and maintain consistency in messaging. Promote your repurposed content across all relevant channels to maximize its reach and engagement.

By following these best practices and utilizing the various strategies mentioned in this article, you can unlock the full potential of your content and create a powerful and cohesive brand presence across different channels.


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Brand Continuity: Are Marketing Continuity Mistakes Costing You Lead and Sales?

Brand continuity refers to a consistent brand experience across all channels and platforms. A company (or person if we are talking about personal branding) should have consistent messages and a consistent visual identity on all platforms over time. Many companies make brand continuity efforts that can negatively impact their ability to generate leads and brand loyalty.

In television or movies, a continuity error is an error in which a plot point isn’t followed through or changes. A good example of a continuity error is Star Wars. In Return of the Jedi, Luke asks Leia, “Leia, do you remember your mother?” and she says something inane like, “She was very beautiful – and very sad.” Yet in the next trilogy, the ones that are supposed to take place before Star Wars, we see that Padme, Leia’s mother, dies a few minutes after giving birth to Luke and Leia. Therefore, Leia cannot really remember her mother. As it was originally conceived, Padme fled with Leia to the planet Alderan to escape Anakin/Darth Vader, Leia’s father. This is an obvious continuity error.

Why Are Continuity Errors Bad?

Continuity errors are bad because they jar the viewer from the storyline and remind the viewer that they are participating in fiction. They occur in movies and television because different writers are used throughout the series.

Series are supposed to have what is called a ‘character bible’. I have one for my mystery novel series, I Believe You and I See You. It is a book in which you log all the major descriptive factors about a character as well as major life events. This ensures that when you mention the life event in different books throughout the series, it is referenced the same way. For my novels, David Majek, the central character, lost his wife to a hit and run car accident. The date, the location, and the events leading up to it are important and memorable. To ensure I always refer to it accurately, I have logged it into my character guide.

Brand Continuity Errors and the Impact on Marketing Success

So what does all of this have to do with marketing? Well, in marketing we have characters called personas. And their storyline is like a movie, book, or television show character: the hero’s journey. How you tell that story in marketing is branding. And one of the biggest mistakes that I see in marketing is the lack of brand continuity, or marketing continuity, as companies tell their story.

Companies often forget that the story centers around their customers. The story is about the customer’s hero journey, not their hero journey. They also shift their focus too much, moving from one brand point to another. Today, we’re all about diversity and equity, tomorrow about saving the environment. Today, we talk about Product X, tomorrow, Product Y.

The problem with lack of brand continuity is that less the continuity of brand messages, the more confused your customers get. If your messages and visual appearance or jumbled, inconsistent, or garbled, customers will move on rapidly to the competitors. They aren’t going to invest the mental energy into untangling your tangled branding. You must be clear and consistent to gain brand equity and mindshare.

Branding and Content Marketing Are Long-Term Strategies

Branding, and content marketing, are long term marketing strategies; by long term I mean 18 months to three years. These two tactics should be part of the marketing mix, but you must continue with them consistently for months and years. If you start, stop, or change direction, you will confuse your customers. Customers do not like to be confused. They want clarity. When your brand messages are clear, customers are clear on what you sell. Over time, this clarity builds trust, and trust builds brands.

Continuity Mistakes Make People Confused

Continuity errors in movies or television shows jar audiences out of the storyline. Instead of being immersed in the story, they are suddenly reminded that they are viewing a story. The same holds true for brand continuity mistakes. They remind people they are being marketed to, and nobody likes to be marketed to. Instead of feeling vested in the brand, they feel confused, and feeling confused is unpleasant. So they shop with a competitor who leaves them feeling good about themselves and clear on what they are buying or who they are interacting with – in other words, competitors who offer brand message clarity.

Brand Guidelines Are a Tool to Prevent Brand Continuity Errors

If your company suffers from branding continuity errors, take a cue from the world of fiction: create a ‘brand bible.’ Like the visual guidelines for a company, a branding bible spells out the audiences and messages for the brand. And while there can be theme and variation on the audience and messages, they shouldn’t vary too much. Sticking to the branding script ensures continuity, audiences following the storyline, and ultimately, memorable branding and messaging.

Don’t change brand strategy often. Develop your messages and stick with them. If you must change messages, do so with purpose, and then hold to the new messages for 18 months to three years. Other people may have different timelines, but this is the timeline I have seen work for many businesses, so I offer it to you as an example.

Be Consistent In Your Branding Efforts

Brand continuity errors and mistakes are one area I see many small and growing businesses make with their marketing. Consistency, brand reference guides, and ensuring an organization-wide commitment to branding success is the key to reducing and eliminating brand continuing mistakes.


How Can Manufacturers Leverage Content Marketing?

Manufacturers might think that content marketing only works for consumer-facing industries. The reality is that it’s effective for B-to-B brands, too. Content marketing can help manufacturers establish expertise, connect with their audience and drive conversions. Here’s a primer on how manufacturers can employ content marketing to get results.

5 Ways Manufacturers Can Use Content Marketing

  1. Deliver thought leadership: Manufacturers can elevate their brand by creating content that speaks to trends, challenges and innovations in their industry and that of their clients. Articles, whitepapers, case studies and reports are examples of this content in action. No one wants to be on the other side of a sales pitch. However, innovative thinking is usually well-received because there’s no pressure to convert.
  2.  Educate the audience: Content marketing allows you to educate your community about manufacturing process, product features, benefits and how it can serve their company. To that end, manufacturers can create how-to videos, guides and tutorials to help customers make more informed buying decisions.
  3. Showcase products and solutions: Create content that highlights your products’ features, capabilities and applications. For example, you could develop detailed product descriptions, video demos and comparison guides to help show off your widget and real-life functionality.
  4. Tell your brand story: Manufacturers can use content to highlight company history, values, mission and employees and their craft. A genuine brand story helps build trust and emotional connections with the parties you’re trying to reach.
  5. Customer success stories: Share success stories and case studies that showcase how your products or solutions have helped customers overcome challenges and reach new heights. Real-world examples can help prospects envision themselves as your next success story.

 

Incorporating content marketing into your overall marketing strategy is a sound marketing investment. By focusing on educating and providing value to their audience, manufacturers can build lasting relationships that go beyond transactions.

Ready to get to work?

Let’s talk about how I can help you develop your brand, communicate it with confidence, and build a content marketing powerhouse that generates leads, supports sales, and provides solid marketing.

 

Contact Us

Phone: (434) 574-6253

Email: jeanne@sevenoaksconsulting.com


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Difference Between Content Marketing and Content Strategy

Content marketing and content strategy are related concepts, but they have distinct focuses within the broader realm of content creation and marketing. Here's a breakdown of the key differences between content marketing and content strategy.

Differences Between Content Marketing and Content Strategy

Content marketing and content strategy are related, with content marketing a subset of strategy.

The strategy provides the overarching framework for creating and managing content, encompassing elements like content planning, governance, and workflow. Content marketing, on the other hand, specifically focuses on using content as a marketing tool to attract, engage, and convert customers.

However, content marketing and content strategy are essential for a comprehensive and effective approach to content creation and marketing within a business context.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the practice of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and engage a target audience. The goal is to drive profitable customer action by providing content that meets the needs and interests of the audience. It involves producing content such as blog posts, articles, videos, social media posts, and more to build brand awareness, generate leads, and nurture customer relationships.

The ultimate objective of content marketing is to drive customer behavior, whether it be making a purchase, subscribing to a service, or taking some other desired action.

What Is Content Strategy?

Content strategy is a broader, more comprehensive approach that involves planning, developing, and managing content throughout its entire lifecycle. It encompasses the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content that aligns with business goals and meets user needs. A content strategy involves defining the purpose of content, identifying the target audience, and ensuring that content is produced, organized, and maintained in a way that serves both business objectives and user needs.

The primary objective of content strategy is to align content creation with business goals, ensuring that the right content is produced and delivered to the right audience through the right channels.

Examples of Content Strategy

Content strategy involves planning, developing, and managing content to align with business goals and meet user needs. Here are a few examples of content strategy in action.

Brand Storytelling Strategy

Brand Storytelling builds brand identity and connect with the audience emotionally.

Strategy: Develop a narrative that communicates the brand's values, mission, and personality. Create a content plan that incorporates consistent storytelling across various channels, such as the brand's website, social media, and marketing materials.

User-Generated Content Campaign

User-Generated Content (UGC) Campaign increases audience engagement and authenticity.

Strategy: Develop a content strategy that encourages users to create and share content related to the brand. This can include social media campaigns, contests, or features on the brand's website showcasing user-generated stories, photos, or videos.

SEO Blog Content

SEO Blog Content improves search engine visibility and attract organic traffic.

Strategy: Conduct keyword research to identify topics relevant to the target audience. Develop a content calendar for regular blog posts that address these topics while providing valuable information. Optimize content for search engines by incorporating relevant keywords and providing high-quality, shareable content.

These examples illustrate how content strategy can be applied across different aspects of a business to achieve specific objectives, whether it's building brand identity, increasing engagement, improving search visibility, or nurturing leads through the sales funnel.


Why Is Content Marketing Important for Technology Companies?

Why is content marketing important for technology companies? The unique nature of the industry lends itself well to marketing through the sharing of information, which is essentially the main purpose of content marketing. Here's why tech companies should consider using content marketing as a tactical channel

Why Content Marketing Is Important for Technology Companies

1. Simplify Complex Information

Many technology companies offer complex solutions. Decision makers don’t need to know what’s under the hood, but they do need to know how your product solves their business challenge. Focus your content marketing efforts on the purpose behind your platform; solve their problems and simplify complex information about your system so that you empower buyers with useful information.

2. Establish Trust

Businesses invest a considerable amount of money into their technology purchases. Before meeting with a vendor, the vendor must establish a level of trust with business leaders. Content marketing plays an important role in this process. Case studies establish a technology vendor as an expert problem solver; white papers and thought leadership articles position them as the go-to resource on a particular topic.

 

3. Nurture the Buyer’s Journey

The buyer's journey in the technology sector can be time-consuming and research-intensive. Content marketing gently propels potential customers at every stage of this journey, from awareness to consideration and decision-making. Content tailored to each stage helps meet the consumer where they are in a low-pressure environment.

4. Address Pain Points

Technology products and services are designed to solve specific challenges. Content marketing allows tech companies to present real-world scenarios and how their products or solutions make tasks or workflow easier.

 

5. Attract Organic Website Traffic

Content marketing improves a search engine visibility in a cluttered market. Using relevant keywords can boost website ranking and organic traffic, making the business more top of mind.

 

Content Marketing for Technology Companies Offers Many Benefits, Few Drawbacks

Content marketing important for technology companies offers so many benefits for technology companies - thought leadership, trust building, awareness, presales information, and organic search engine optimization. There are a few drawbacks, however. Great content takes time to research and create. It takes time to rank and time to draw the right traffic to your virtual doorstep. However, once your ‘content marketing engine’ is revved, the results can be incredible.

The Best Content Marketing Agency for Technology Companies

Seven Oaks Consulting is a B2B content marketing agency that specializes in creating thought leadership for technology companies and general content marketing for technology companies. We recently generated several highly qualified (and lucrative) leads for our technology clients but it took time and steady, consistent effort to do so. There are some companies who promise you fast results, but in our experience, the best technology content marketing happens over time. It grows and builds a positive cycle of brand awareness, thought leadership, search engine traffic, and finally, highly qualified leads. If this is something you’d like help with please contact us.


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Why Content Marketing Works and Is Crucial for Marketing Success

Why Content Marketing Works and Is Crucial for Marketing Success

Content marketing is much more than a digital marketing buzzword. It’s an age-long marketing approach that existed before the Internet and is a modern-day game changer. It has gained widespread acceptance and usage and is fast becoming an industry standard.

Customers are shying away from advertising and other traditional outbound marketing approaches and expecting more from companies. Many innovative businesses have shifted to content marketing to meet these expectations, develop a deeper relationship with customers, and boost sales and revenue organically.

In 1996, Bill Gates wrote a famous essay titled ‘Content is King’ and described the future of the Internet and marketing to be powered by content.

Before I elaborate on why content marketing is the king of marketing and why it works, let me briefly define what it means for B2B companies.

What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing Institute defines Content marketing as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, drive profitable customer actions.

Unlike outbound marketing, which involves pitching products or services, content marketing provides relevant and helpful content to prospects and customers, helping them solve their challenges. This allows the company to earn trust, build relationships and authority, and organically drive conversions.

Why Content Marketing Is the King of Marketing

Content marketing is often referred to as king because marketing is only possible with great content. It empowers other marketing channels – email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, etc. – and should be deeply woven into every company’s marketing process.

Strategically creating, distributing, managing, and marketing high-quality and relevant content via organic and paid marketing channels increases the chances of generating results.

If you generate results without consciously adopting content marketing, imagine the results when you intentionally power your marketing with strategic content marketing.

9 Reasons Why Content Marketing Works

Content marketing works for many reasons. It’s at the heart of all marketing channels and is the hub that supports and connects every other aspect of marketing.

Consumer values and behavior have changed. Consumers are more intentional about interacting with companies and expect much more than the product they’re buying. Pull marketing now thrives over push marketing.

Here are the top reasons why content marketing works for every industry.

1.   Content Marketing Drives Qualified Organic Traffic

This is a crucial reason why content marketing remains on many successful companies' lists. Companies that adopt content marketing, optimize their content, rank high on search engines, and drive highly qualified prospects actively searching for solutions.

According to Demand Metrics, content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 63% less.

Here’s a practical example.

Someone searching Google for ‘the best software to execute a problem’ is ready to take action and is highly likely to do so after reading informative content.

Imagine such a piece of content generating at least 20 marketing-qualified leads a month for over seven years. That’s good business without extra investment.

2.   Prospects Need Your Content

Several studies have shown that internet users spend a lot of their time online consuming content – 6 hours and 58 minutes per day, to be precise. These are prospects and customers consuming content related to their challenges and solutions.

According to the GE Shopper Research Study, 81% of consumers go online to find information and answer any questions about a product or service before heading out to the store to make a purchase. Google data supported this and highlighted that 53% of shoppers constantly research before buying to ensure they make the best choice.

B2B is similar. According to the 2022 Demand Gen report, 62% of B2B buyers read at least 3-7 pieces of content before they talk to a salesperson. If a piece of content from your company helps them solve their challenge, they’re likely to convert.

They can be searching for how to use a product or solution your company provides. Developing helpful content around these challenges or solutions is a great way to gain trust, confidence, and conversion.

3.   Content Marketing Builds Trust

96% of consumers don’t’ trust adverts and are skeptical of taking action.

Intentional consumerism has gained wide adoption; customers now care much more about a company’s values and crave a deeper connection with the companies they patronize. An average of 20% of customers from 11 countries in a 2022 Statista report said they pay more for brands that reflect their values and can be trusted.

Companies that leverage content marketing to build trust and genuine relationships with prospects enjoy more sales. 7 in 10 customers buy from a company they trust and believe this trust is built through helpful content and effective content marketing.

4.   Drives Customers Loyalty, High Retention, and Lifetime Value

The nurturing nature of content marketing makes it ideal for customer-centric, future-minded companies.

Customers are much more likely to stick to a company if they have a good experience with that company. Effective content marketing helps companies deliver exceptional CX and build emotional connections with prospects.

A well-nurtured prospect who stays with a company from the top to the bottom of the funnel trusts the company more and becomes a loyalist and advocate. If the content marketing and experience delivery level is maintained, the company will have a high average order value, retention rate, lifetime value, and referrals.

This, of course, significantly boosts the company’s profit margin.

5.   Content Marketing Is Based on In-depth Understanding of Customers

To successfully market to a prospect, one must know the target audience inside and out.

According to Semrush Director of Organic Search Kyle Byers, “Understanding what your audience needs and values will be your key to content marketing success in 2023.”

The first step of content marketing is taking the time to research customers and develop customer profiles and buyer personas according to your company’s market segmentation.

A study showed that many B2B marketers conduct audience research for their content marketing. This is crucial to why content marketing works because this research gives insights into many factors that must be considered for conversion optimization.

Factors like demographics, occupation, income level, research avenues, pain points, blockers, and more are considered during content marketing strategy development.

This high-level understanding of the customer and their behavior helps companies adopt the right strategy, develop and distribute the right content, and generate high results.

6.   Builds Relationships

Customer-centric companies build healthy customer relationships with quality content marketing.

Email marketing, social media marketing, community engagement, live interviews, podcasts, industry webinars, etc., show customers you care about them.

Companies that engage customers get feedback and leverage the input to improve personalized marketing and CX delivery, key differentiators in competitive industries.

7.   Content Marketing Makes It Easy to Stand Out

In today’s fast-paced, highly competitive business ecosystem, serious-minded companies leverage content marketing to achieve marketing success through differentiation.

Companies adopt branding and content marketing approaches like storytelling to highlight their values and attract customers who believe in the same values.

This helps a company stand out and drive conversions from like-minded customers.

8.   Your Customers Are Your Marketing Team

With strategic content marketing, customers take over marketing while you focus on product management.

For instance, a company conducts and publishes customer interviews on its website as testimonials, customer reviews, or expert insights. The featured customers will be proud to identify with the company and share such content with their followers.

Statistics from Bright Local’s Local Consumer Review Survey 2023 showed that 98% of customers read online reviews for local businesses. Northwestern MEDILL Spiegel Research Center’s data supported this by pointing out that the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% higher. Also, customers are likely to trust an organization more and take the required action when they see a testimonial or online review.

This goes a long way to increase sales, company revenue generation, and the bottom line.

9.   Consistent Content Marketing Generates a Compounding Effect

Content on the Internet doesn’t expire. This means that a piece of well-written, evergreen content can continue to generate traffic, leads, and revenue for a company as long as the content stays published.

Much better, the more the content ages, the more backlinks it attracts, which is the more it ranks and drives more traffic. The more traffic it gets, the more the readers will continue to refer back to it and share it with their friends, family, and followers, who will also share with theirs.

The chain continues, and the content becomes a passive income avenue for the company.

There are many instances where a piece of content has generated so much leads and revenue over a specified time.

Statistical Evidence of Why Content Marketing Works and Why You Should Invest in It Today

Being one of the first in your industry to adopt content marketing for lead generation and conversion can benefit your company in many ways.

If you or your C-suite and high-level managers are yet to realize its effectiveness, here is a comprehensive list of statistics showing the importance and effectiveness of content marketing.

  • Approximately 83% of purchase decisions occur before a buyer reaches out to an organization, and between 70% and 80% of purchase interactions now happen in the digital sphere. Many decision-makers are embracing this change – 2021 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study by Edelman and LinkedIn, supported by data from Gartner and McKinsey.
  • According to Semrush Global State of Marketing Report, out of 1700+ marketers and business owners surveyed, 97% said they had some degree of content marketing success.
  • The 2022 B2B Content Marketing report by CMI showed that 73% of marketers have a content marketing strategy.
  • 56% of marketers who leverage blogging say it's effective, and 10% say it generates the most significant ROI.
  • 82% of marketers actively use content marketing, and 60% of the surveyed marketers measure the success of their content marketing strategy through sales.
  • Marketers today create content for multiple audience segments – marketing to three audience segments being the most common – Hubspot 2020 State of Marketing.
  • Nearly 40% of marketers say content marketing is essential to their marketing strategy.
  • 69% of marketers invested in SEO in 2021, according to Hubspot State of Marketing Report for 2021.
  • On average, companies with blogs generate 67% more leads than others. They also earn 97% more inbound links, 55% more site visitors, and 434% more indexed Google pages. – Hubspot.
  • According to the 2022 PageFair Adblock Report, 290M monthly active users globally have their adblock on, and 94% of global publishers say they cannot precisely quantify the revenue loss incurred due to adblocking.
  • 70% of people would instead read an article about a company than see an ad.
  • 54% of decision-makers say they spend over one hour reading and reviewing thought-leadership content weekly.
  • 65% of consumers immediately feel a brand is positive and trustworthy after reading a piece of that brand's educational content.
  • When deciding between 4 brands, 6% of consumers who read a piece of educational content by a brand chose that brand when prompted to purchase.
  • Immediately after reading a piece of content by the brand, consumers were 131% more likely to buy from that brand than consumers who did not read any content.
  • According to Hubspot State of Marketing, 2020, 60% of marketers said their CAC has increased in the past three years.

Boost Business Outcomes and Future-Proof Your Company with Content Marketing

If you’re a B2B marketing stakeholder, now is the right time to dive into content marketing. It’s the present and future of marketing, and those who invest today will remain top in revenue generated, profit margin, and overall market share.

Content marketing is cost-effective, sustainable, returns high ROI, builds loyalty, and is precisely how customers expect marketing.

If you need help figuring out where to start or adopting content marketing but not getting the desired results, we'd be happy to walk you through some of our tried and trusted marketing strategies for B2B companies.

Don’t limit yourself to just publishing blogs and posting on social media when you can develop a robust content marketing mix that includes everything you need to achieve marketing success.

Seven Oaks Consulting has extensive experience executing content marketing for B2B companies. We can be your content marketing partner to help you optimize your marketing and generate the positive business outcomes you deserve.

 


Creating Video Marketing Content on a Budget

Creating Video Marketing Content on a Budget: A Beginner's Guide

Creating video marketing content on a budget is easier now than ever before! In this guide for beginners, we'll walk you through how to create impactful video content with simple tools and equipment

A Guide to Create Video Content on a Budget

In recent years, video marketing has become a powerful means for businesses to engage with their community and drive traffic. However, only some companies have an in-house marketing department or generous budget to execute expensive video marketing campaigns.

The good news is that you can produce results without spending a fortune or knowing how to use a fancy camera, studio lighting, or sophisticated software. You might be overlooking assets right in front of your nose. You can produce high-quality videos from your phone or computer. Here's a guide to creating video marketing that connects and converts by leveraging the basics.

Pick Your Platform(s) for Cost-Effective Video Content Marketing

Before getting too invested in a creative concept, forcreating video marketing content on a budget, knowing where to devote time, energy, and resources is essential. With that in mind, here are the platforms where video can pay off the most:

TikTok: TikTok has been fertile ground for Gen Z and Millennials to create and share short-form video content. Creativity is front and center here. With this in mind, businesses can showcase their products or services in unconventional ways that humanize their brands.

YouTube: YouTube, with its longstanding history, is a popular platform for video marketing with a robust creator community. Many brands have found success here with how-to's, product demonstrations, behind-the-scenes footage, and general branded content that invites customers and prospects into the conversation.

Facebook: Facebook has made video marketing accessible with its high engagement rates. You can use it in the same way as YouTube, but keep in mind platform users tend to respond better to shorter content here.

Instagram: Instagram’s user base and interface with features like Stories, IGTV, and Reels make it ideal for brands to push out product promotions and storytelling with little or no financial investment.

Easy Video Creation

Savvy marketers know how to use tools to their advantage to help their cause. For instance, you can research software and hardware designed for this purpose and use case. A few ideas include:

Built-in Software: Apple products come installed with iMovie. This is a user-friendly option that puts video editing within reach. Similarly, Windows Movie Maker also level the field. You can find tutorials online to get a command of the basics.

Third-party Tools: Products like Lumen5, Animoto, or Adobe Premiere Rush are a step above the standard, helping you produce content of a higher caliber.

Smartphones: The advent of the smartphone has been a great equalizer in the video marketing landscape. You no longer need expensive equipment or a studio to get the job done. You have a total solution in a camera and apps that allow you to capture and refine content on the go.

Ideas for Creating Videos

Creating video marketing content on a budget requires some study. There’s an art and science to getting results. However, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Here are a few concepts to consider when formulating a video marketing plan:

Product Unboxing: This approach is an opportunity to break down your product's features, benefits, and functionalities in ways people might not encounter in their regular interactions with your brand. For inspiration, study Apple’s approach to product packaging and marketing.

How-to Tutorials: As the name suggests, instructional videos can educate your user base on how to use your product or solve challenges they might face on the job. These can establish your expertise, bolster credibility, and create top-of-mind awareness.

While B-to-B marketing requires a different, less familiar approach than B-to-C, you don't have to be stuffy or corporate. Jasper Engineering & Equipment Company has found a way to present its products as a solution while communicating in a way that doesn't use a lot of jargon.  A good example of B2C video content marketing is Gerbils on a Train. 

A 'Day in the Life': Do you have employees who go above and beyond to meet customer needs? Give them a shoutout and allow them to share what they enjoy about their jobs or present details about their personal lives. This humanizes your brand and engenders trust. People do business with people, not companies, after all.

Customer Testimonials: Ask loyal customers for video testimonials. These first-person accounts don't have to be polished or scripted. Sometimes, the best product reviews are casual. Just be sure to get their permission before sharing anything in any context.

Educational Content: Share industry news, events, or anything your customer base might find helpful or interesting. This positions your brand as a thought leader rather than just sales-driven. Thermon Manufacturing offers an example of how to leverage YouTube to educate technical and non-technical audiences alike.

Live Q&A Sessions: Go live on platforms like Facebook or Instagram to answer customer questions in real time and create a sense of urgency. When done right, these videos can build a sense of community.

User-Generated Content: Encourage customers to create videos of them using your products on the job or whatever the context. You can repost these to diversify your video marketing mix.

Video Success Starts with Consistent Content Creation

Ultimately, the most important factor in successful video marketing is consistency. Regularly create and share videos to stay connected with your audience and position your brand as the industry leader. You don't need a whole team of marketers behind you. All it takes is a vision, the right mix of tools, and a growth mindset.

After you've made the foray into video marketing, how can you take your efforts to the next level? At Seven Oaks Consulting, we help brands level up and continue their upward trajectory. You don't have to go it alone or feel like you're spinning your wheels when you have a partner in your corner.

Seven Oaks Consulting Offers Video Scripting and Consulting

Need help in this area? We’re an expert content marketing agency offering content marketing solutions to B2B companies. We can serve as your content marketing team, pushing out your video marketing content while you focus on your business, or we can be your go-to company for outsourced content. Either way, we align our goals with yours to achieve marketing success. Reach out to learn how we can help.


Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Content Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: Navigating the Modern Marketing Landscape

Content marketing vs. traditional marketing is the most recent debate in the evolving marketing landscape. Some argue that content marketing is merely a tactical channel rather than a strategy. In contrast, traditional marketing, with its emphasis on the four Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) as the fulcrum of lead generation and sales, is the only valuable marketing approach. The truth is that either approach can be effective if chosen wisely. Here, we dive into content marketing vs. traditional marketing, and why a modern marketing plan may include both rather than focus solely on one.

Content Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing: Understanding Traditional Marketing

Technically, the definition of traditional marketing is marketing offline – that is, non-digital media. Think direct mail, print advertising, television, or radio commercials. It’s the kind of marketing that’s been around for decades since the first business published a newspaper ‘advertisement’ touting hair tonic, ladies’ dresses, or the latest shows or entertainment. Even as far back as ancient Rome, people used advertising – for example, bread preserved in the volcanic ash in Pompeii displays a maker’s mark on the top. It was a form of advertising used by bread makers to distinguish their product from another’s bread, similar to how we might use a wrapper or label on products today.

The Evolution of Web Marketing

Because I am as old as dirt (well, not that old), I remember the early days of internet marketing. Just as the first automobiles were called ‘horseless carriages’ because the carriage was all people understood as a conveyance, marketers transformed print ads into digital formats. Behold: the banner ad.

The banner ad appeared in the early days of the internet, like a print advertisement in a magazine. Static, except for this incredible thing we called click-through. You could click it and be taken directly to the product page. Wow!

You are probably laughing at this mental picture, but I assure you, back in the late 1990s, it was the 'right' way to advertise. Of course, we still have some static ads – my blog, Home Garden Joy, displays two in the sidebar for affiliate programs we belong to. I do this for a simple reason: I am very choosy about my advertisers, and so are my readers. I was unhappy with the quality and quantity of ads displayed by Google's algorithm technology, so I switched to tightly controlled advertising. It works for me, and my readers seem to appreciate it.

Evolution of Digital Marketing

That brings me to my next point. The evolution of traditional marketing into digital marketing is more complex than one might assume. The two areas overlap. Like content marketing vs. traditional marketing, digital vs. traditional marketing is a false dichotomy. There's no need to choose between them. Instead, finding the right blend of online and offline advertising and incorporating successful content marketing strategies and tactics into the overall marketing plan may be the best way for your company to obtain leads and sales.

The Right Marketing Approach Depends on Target Audience

Choosing the right marketing approach, whether it’s traditional marketing, digital marketing, content marketing, or a combination of all three, depends on one thing: your audience.

Advertise Where Your Audience Is

You must fish where the fish are biting. This means you must market to your target customers in ways that appeal to them and in places where they are spending time. Depending on your target audience, this may mean:

  • Print advertisements in magazines or newspapers
  • Radio commercials on traditional local radio, national radio, or digital broadcasts
  • Google advertising or other search advertising
  • Social media advertising
  • Direct mail
  • Outbound calling (“cold calling”)
  • Events and conferences (attending, presenting, a trade show booth or sponsorship)
  • Sponsoring the local sports team
  • Billboard ads
  • Become part of a trade organization (chamber of commerce, etc.)
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Content marketing, including case studies, white papers, videos, and more
  • Coupons, sales, and rebate programs

I’m sure I have forgotten traditional, digital, or content marketing methods, but the point is that the list above is not a ‘one size fits all’ list.

The Best Marketing Plan Is Created Just for Your Business

The best marketing plan is one that suits your business. It is a plan created by researching the product, its place in the market, and its competitors. It is a plan that draws from market research into what your customers – not your competitors, not anyone else's, but YOUR customers – want and need from the product or service. A good marketing plan charts a roadmap to position your company among a sea of competitors so that it stands out and helps develop recognition, awareness, leads, and sales.

Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: Let Common Sense Be Your Guide

So, regarding content marketing vs. traditional marketing, here are the similarities and differences.

Content Marketing:

  • Focuses on awareness, education, and sharing information to empower customers
  • Does not overtly ‘sell’ with a call to action
  • Provides useful, desirable information
  • Meets the consumer need at the point of interest

In sum:

  • Educates customers on how to use products or services
  • Provides increasingly detailed information to bring customers to the point of sale
  • Highly targeted to specific customer groups called "personas."

 

Traditional Marketing

  • Focuses on generating awareness and a desire to own a product
  • Does “sell” or calls to action: buy, call, click, etc.
  • Motivates through emotional appeal
  • Promotes to a mass market or large targeted market to generate interest

In sum:

  • Generates interest to generate leads and sales
  • Appeals to emotions (keep up with the Jones, look better, feel better)
  • Often mass market or to a large audience, but can also be targeted

Content Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: We’re All About Content Marketing

At Seven Oaks Consulting, we have over 20 years of experience in all aspects of marketing: content marketing, traditional marketing, and digital marketing. We specialize in business-to-business content marketing and can provide this service to your company. If you feel content marketing is a helpful adjunct to your marketing program, call us, and let's discuss your ideas. We're honest. If we think we can help you, we'll tell you. And, if we believe content marketing isn't helpful, we'll let you know that, too.

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a white coffee cup next to a laptop

The Case for Content Marketing

Engagement Matters: The Case for Content Marketing 

The case for content marketing: this marketing tactic has emerged as a leading tactic in recent years due to its promise to engage audiences, enhance brand visibility, and drive conversions. However, skeptical business owners and leaders might wonder if it's all razzle-dazzle or if there's any substance. The short answer: It's still relevant, and it offers a great deal of value. Here's a look at the why and how.

The Case for Content Marketing

Content provides valuable, relevant, and consistent information to attract and retain a target audience. Unlike traditional outbound advertising — which can sometimes feel intrusive — content marketing seeks to engage and educate people. By inviting them in with trust and authority, your brand is perceived as a helpful guide, not merely sales-driven. 

  1. Valuable: People hate "being sold to". But they do love learning. As one B2B customer said to us, "When you share information, I love it. When you sell to me, I hate it. That's why I love webinars, case studies, etc." - all types of content.
  2. Relevant: Make sure your content is relevant to the target audience. If your audience is using Sage, sending them content pieces about Acumatica or Oracle isn't relevant.
  3. Consistent: Don't publish sporadically. Consistent publishing helps build an audience and adds to engagement.

Advanced Analytics Help Assess ROI

Advanced analytics tools provide a look "under the hood." You can see how your audience interacts with your content, which allows you to refine or modify your content strategy. Adaptation is critical to creating content that meets your target audience's needs and preferences. On that note, content marketing transforms the brand-consumer relationship from a transactional one to a deeper connection based on trust and brand loyalty.

In short, content marketing is here to stay, and savvy business owners know they must subscribe to this strategy. Effective content marketing can deliver results and help companies reach people they might not otherwise. In other words, it's an investment brands cannot overlook if they want to stay in business.