This interview was originally published on The ID Group on July, 14th,2014 The ID Group is a content marketing and design agency in the UK. Mark Masters, managing director of The ID Group, interviewed me for his “Talking Content” Column. Six questions, six answers. I’ve added some additional detail to my answers here. Check it out.

Q: You champion marketers going back to basics and understand our audiences, message and what works. Are we becoming too distracted to jump on what’s new (or as Ardath Albee puts it ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’)?

A: In addition to “Shiny Object Syndrome”, there is also ‘Keep Up with the Joneses’ Syndrome. We feel pressured to do things all the time because our competitors are doing it. It’s important to evaluate whether our marketing makes sense and if we are serving our customers’ needs. The best time to go back to basics is during a company’s annual planning cycle. We need to understand the company’s goals and business objectives and realign our marketing strategy if needed. In my new book, Global Content Marketing, I spend a whole chapter discussing how to align content planning efforts with a company’s annual planning process.

Q: For content to work, we have to understand our audience. What should businesses consider to recognize who they are addressing (ie. keyword research, analytic reports, listening on social channels?)

A: Keyword research, analytic reports and listening on social channels are “tools” to help understand our audiences. Before we use these tools, we need to know “what” we want to understand about our audience. If your potential audiences are broad, you may need to segment them. With segmentation, you probably need to personify a specific segment. What makes them tick? What are their aspirations, challenges and pain points? Where do they go to consume content? What are the preferred formats or devices they use to consume content? Once you have some sense of understanding, you can use keyword research, analytic reports or social listening to validate your understanding.

Q: What is the key trigger for businesses to buy into a content mindset? Is it openness? Is it the realization that there is a wealth of content from within a business? Is it buying into a changing world?

A: I am often asked how to convince internal stakeholders and management to buy into content marketing. It’s a matter of continuing education and the ability to show the business impact using the content. You need to demonstrate the way your content helps your company’s business. In my blog post on March 3rd, 2014, “How to Determine the Value of Content”, I included an excerpt from the Measurement chapter of my book. I defined the value of content as:

Value of Content = F (Content Usage for Business Results or Organizational Impact)

Let’s use an e-mail campaign as an example: can you show that content clicks from your e-mail campaigns convert leads or increase subscribers? Can you triangulate social media followers’ comments with your CRM database to identify potential leads for your sales team? There are many ways to measure the impact of content, see the table below:

Measurement Category Measured As Function of ( )
Growth: Drive Business Results F (Demand Generation Programs) F (Sales Enablement and Training) F (Content Syndication as Lead Generation)
Services: Content Used by Internal Departments F (Content Usage for Internal Communications) F (Content Usage for Customer Services)
Consultancy: Share Best Practices within the company F (Projects Taken to Support Other Divisions)

The best way to change management’s mindset is to educate them on how content is used and scaled and the impact it is having on the company. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s the best way.

Q: Your ‘Repurpose/Reuse/Refresh Content’ Slideshare presentation is the antidote to content creators who fear burn out. Is this the approach to achieve longevity for an ongoing commitment (and not the dreaded ‘c’ campaign word)

A: It’s certainly one of the approaches. Your content marketing objectives and strategy depend on what you would like to accomplish as a marketing organization. For some companies, daily interaction with your customers is important. For others, this may not be the case. You need to determine your objectives and strategy first, then align your editorial and content planning accordingly. Once you have an editorial and content plan, you can schedule content production accordingly to minimize potential burn out from content creators. Planning is the remedy to minimize chaos.

Q: How do you learn in a world that is changing at a huge pace?

A: Read as much as you can and talk to your peers. On the client side, you may get a lot of agency cold calls; it probably doesn’t hurt to answers some cold calls (if you have time) to understand the tools and software they offer. The world is indeed changing fast, do what you can to keep up and don’t stress over it. Another option is to attend industry conferences and events to find out what tools and strategies your peers are using.

Q: Can you give an insight into the main message for what Global Content Marketing delivers when released in September?

A: In my book, Global Content Marketing, I share a framework for scaling content across regions and looking at content marketing holistically, from planning, production, and promotion to measurement and optimization. I also explore the options of balancing the tension between headquarters and regions.

The book has ten chapters and eleven case studies. It will be available at the Content Marketing World in Cleveland and on Amazon in September. You can also pre-order on by searching Pam Didner and you will receive 30% off. If anyone has any questions about global content marketing, they can also send them to me at Mark, thank you for reaching out.

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