Content Marketing Is Not Blogging – Ann Handley’s Webinar Recap

By Ewa Puchalska

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One of the latest GetResponse webinars featured THE content marketing star: Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs. Personally I loved every single example from this webinar. Tons of great cases were shared. Each of them was clever and unique. What is most important, stories came not only from the digital world. For those who missed the webinar, here’s the most important takeaway on how to tell bigger, bolder, and braver stories to your audience.

Can We Scale Good Content?

Many people tend to think content marketing is all about getting the content out there and results will just magically follow. Inexperienced content marketers also tend to think that the more content they produce the better results they are going to achieve. With much research showing that quality drops dramatically with the increase of producing anything, there is a question concerning the of scaling content. Is it doable? And, if so, can this be achieved without sacrificing quality?

According to World’s First Chief Content Officer, scaling content can be done. Content quality and content quantity are not locked in an epic battle, they are not enemies. But there is just one condition. We, marketers, need to do our homework to get the basics right:

  • We need to tell BIGGER stories.
  • We need to produce BRAVER marketing in general.
  • We need to have BOLDER perspective and tone of voice.

The Biggest Challenge with Content Marketing

World gives us many distractions. Marketing is everywhere these days. According to the latest MarketingProfs survey, 76% of B2B organizations plan to produce more content in 2016. 51% marketers plan to increase budget. Yet only 30% of marketers are able to really say “My content marketing program is effective”.

What is the biggest challenge marketers see in this department? Engaging content. Both B2B and B2C businesses have trouble when it comes to engaging their targeted audience. The same research makes it clear top content marketers, who know they are bringing value to their audience and get desired results, are doing similar things:

  • They communicate the content strategy and mission across the company making sure everyone knows the goals.
  • They set clear goals and measure results against those goals.
  • They don’t rely on just one content tactic but use 15 (on average) to maximize results.
  • They focus content activities only on targeted social media platforms (7 on average).
  • They simply create great content. Period..

Brain Trumps Budget

So, we already know people spend good money on content marketing. And with recent MarketingProfs findings we also know even more money is going to be thrown at this in the future. If you’re just getting started with content marketing and worry about everyone getting a head start – worry no more!

Ann’s advice is actually very encouraging and it boils down to a simple statement: brains trumps budget. It’s great ideas that are the fuel which make your efforts catch on fire, not the cash. Why? According to Ann, to tell bigger, bolder, and braver stories you need to combine three things:

  • Brains meaning the ideas that you have for your business.
  • Heart meaning the passion and care for what you do.
  • Guts meaning the courage to be unique and have the strongest voice.

#SquadGoals aka Even Experts Are Wrong (Sometimes)

This was my favorite part of the webinar. Why? Because it shows that even thought leaders, like the First Lady of Content herself, can be wrong from time to time. And yes, even when it comes to their field of interest.

We’re all very social beings. And whatever business you have – you need to think about it in terms of a story that you tell. You need to think about what YOUR PEOPLE want, what story you’re trying to tell them to attract only the ones who are truly interested. Figure out who your people are, who is in your tribe, your SQUAD.

Ann shared a fantastic example of a brand that turned her into a real fan, even though initially she was skeptical /irreverent/ about their content marketing efforts: Blue Bottle Coffee. The brand created a course on coffee. But not just coffee: how to choose the best type, how to brew it, how to taste it, and how to enjoy it.

You may think now: I’m drinking this magic potion every day, can’t live without it, I know this! This was the assumption Ann initially made. But after going through the course, not only did she learn a lot that she previously didn’t know about coffee. She went to a store and bought their blend to brew at home, paying good money for it. Now she even talks about them showing their example as a perfect case study on how to make people want to your your squad.

Deep value the coffee chain presented via an online course made Ann a smarter customer and a smarter content marketer in the process. The lesson here is: don’t judge and always keep learning because bigger, better and bolder stories to be inspired by are out there. Just pay attention.

Content Marketing Is Not Blogging, Blogging Is The Hub

Aside from great examples, the webinar also included a Q&A session that came with interesting questions that were answered on the spot. Let me just share a couple with you:

Q: What is the difference between traditional blogging and content marketing?

A: Blogging is one tactic that is a part of a content marketing program. For some companies it’s pretty much the sum of their content program, a basis for it. You can think of the content marketing as a bigger umbrella that would include social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest (if you’re doing that). But it also may include any publishing program that you’re doing like creating infographics, whitepapers, infographics, webinars. Blogging is very often a hub for all of those things.

Q: What do you think if our business is targeted toward elders, would content marketing would apply to them?

A: Yes, why wouldn’t it apply to them? I shared many fun and sort of snarky examples today but I’m not suggesting you want to apply the same tone of voice. You need have to be careful of what you’re selling, because if it’s something serious, like insurance or health care product you are going to want to adopt a slightly different tone. This is why I talked about empathy as a heart of everything you do. Start with their problems, start with your audience and then build that in your marketing program.

Q: What is the biggest content marketing point you want to get across a company that is already very differentiated?

A: If your company is very differentiated I think that the tone of voice is a thing that tends to be forgotten quite frequently. So if that’s something you haven’t worked on I would encourage you to start with that.

Watch The Webinar Recording Now

As I mentioned before, the webinar was full of great examples and tactics. I won’t spoil if for you and rob you from the joy of finding out what they were for yourself: just watch the webinar, it’s worth it. And after you do – share your thoughts in comments below!

The post Content Marketing Is Not Blogging – Ann Handley’s Webinar Recap appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Email Marketing Tips.

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