In this Mucker Growth Session, Dennis Shiao, founder of marketing agency Attention Retention, walks through how to make an impact with content marketing even when you have limited budget and resources.


Importance of Content Marketing

Content marketing is essential for generating awareness, building brand recognition, and establishing trust. It is a long-term strategy aimed at educating and engaging potential customers, leading them through the sales cycle from awareness to consideration and purchase.

If you're in the seed stage, if you're just looking to find product-market fit, you might not be thinking of marketing just yet, but when the time comes that you found product-market fit, you want some awareness, you want to fill the top of the funnel of sales leads, you want to drive revenue, then marketing in general is going to be a benefit to you. Content marketing in particular is a good way for you to generate awareness, get your brand, your company, and your mission out into the world and known. It can also generate awareness of your own expertise of yourselves, the founders, or perhaps your subject matter experts in your organization.

Content marketing can help lead prospects along the sales cycle from top of the funnel down to consideration and purchase. And it is a long term game. It's not direct response marketing. It's not like you're going to put an ad out and get an e-commerce transaction and a sale right away. Sometimes that does happen, but you should think of content marketing as a long term game. You want to earn trust with your audience. Your audience today might not be in the market for your products or solutions services, but if you build the trust with content marketing, when they are in the market and they're starting to look at solutions, yours could and should be the first that comes to mind for them.

Using AI in Content Marketing

Dennis advises against solely relying on AI for content creation, as it often produces average content.  AI like ChatGPT and other tools is good for some very specific things, but not for creating impactful content. In large part this stems from AI's use of data sets.  If you're trying to write a new piece of content, like a blog post, and you go to ChatGPT, what you're going to get is the average of what's already been published on the web. If you're trying to break through the noise with your original content, you don't want to be using something average.

Go ahead and leverage AI for specific tasks, but maintain human oversight to ensure quality and originality.

Practical Strategies for Content Marketing

1. Posting Videos on LinkedIn

Example: post curated industry articles on a regular cadence (i.e. Monday through Thursday) and then add a founder's video commentary every Friday. Keep videos brief (under 2 minutes) and reference/link to the company page.
Impact: Videos received significantly higher engagement, building a strong following and enhancing brand awareness. Using native video on LinkedIn is important because the algorithm prefers those to a link off of YouTube.
Consistency: Regular posting (daily during weekdays) is key to gaining traction and audience expectation.  LinkedIn's algorithm rewards consistency as well.

2. Webinars

Multipurpose Use: Webinars can generate multiple content pieces, such as blog posts, YouTube videos, social media promotions, and even podcasts. You can promote the webinar itself beforehand, and then break apart the created content to use in a variety of formats.  Webinars typically are not directly "selling" to your audience, though you can use them to announce a product release or talk about something you're building. They can be a great tactic to establish your expertise in an area. YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google, so cutting up webinar content and posting it on YouTube with an optimized title and description answering questions for queries in your market can expand your reach.
Example: Dennis shared a webinar on "10 Ways to Improve Website Performance," which led to extensive engagement and content repurposing.

3. Licensing Content

Partnerships: At your early-stage, you might not have resources to create long form content of your own, but you can partner with other companies, agencies analyst firms to have content produced for you. It can be both published under the brand of the partner, the company you're licensing from, as well as have your logo on it. You can use that for generating awareness, but also for lead generation. It gets you in front of audiences that you otherwise wouldn't have had access to. Collaborate with agencies, analyst firms, or industry experts to license content that aligns with your audience.

Additional Opportunities: the big analyst firms like Forrester and Gartner might be cost prohibitive for an early stage company, but there are smaller, mid-tier analyst firms that you might be able to partner to work with, especially those in your industry. There are business media sites like Harvard Business Review where you can license content that fits your space. If they're publishing content on a subject that fits what your target audience, your customers care about, you could license that content with your logo on it. In some cases, you can license that as a downloadable asset that you can put a registration page in front of. There are also nonprofit organizations and communities potentially in your space that you can partner with. You might be able to partner with a blogger or an influential, individual analyst who covers your space.

4. Leveraging Internal Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

There are a few different ways to leverage your internal subject matter experts (SMEs) to generate content:

Transcribing Tech Talks: Convert internal tech talks into detailed blog posts.
Engineer Contributions: Encourage engineers to write an original article or blog post based on a challenge they’ve solved.
Interviews: Conduct interviews with SMEs to extract the knowledge they have and publish their insights. You can conduct a sit-down session with your SME, or create a document they can complete asynchronously.

Tools and Tips for Content Creation and Distribution

Additional Content Creation Tools
Answer the Public: Helps generate content ideas by visualizing common queries related to a topic.
Descript: Transcribes video content, removes filler words, and facilitates content editing.
Loom: Simple tool for recording quick videos and screen shares.
Fathom: Records, transcribes, and summarizes meetings, aiding in content development.

Distribution Platforms
Video Platforms: YouTube, Vimeo, TikTok, Instagram reels, depending on your audience. It is helpful to use a member of that audience to create the content for that audience.
Social Media: LinkedIn, Twitter.
Communities: Discord, Reddit, Quora.

A note on SEO: Focus on human-first content that also aligns with SEO best practices to ensure it reaches the intended audience.  Google has publicly stated that their algorithm places the searcher first, as opposed to what the publisher might be putting on the page.

Measuring Content Effectiveness

If you're going to go to the effort of doing content marketing, it's important to know if that effort is paying off. It's also important to consider cost.  Look at free and low cost licensing options first, for example. Regardless, the main consideration after cost is whether an effort is going to reach your ideal customer.

Define Business Objectives: Determine what business outcome you aim to drive (e.g., awareness, lead generation, revenue).
Metrics: Track relevant metrics such as page views, social media engagement, lead generation, and contribution to sales pipeline.  Make sure these align with your defined objectives.
Attribution: This is tricky, but try to figure out how your marketing systems can measure the impact of a particular piece of content. Did it result in specific leads that resulted in pipeline value? Try to implement tools and processes to attribute content efforts to business outcomes accurately.

 

Thanks to Dennis Shiao for sharing this information.

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