Shelly Kramer, one of my good friends is a Kansas City marketer, joined the show to talk about content marketing. Shelly kicks off the show walking us through her start in the agency world in the early days and later she started her own agency with great success. After introductions we spend the majority of the time geeking out about content marketing and how brands can look beyond the campaign.
[Warning: We had some audio issues during the recording of this show. Please be assured that the hardware has been fired and the replacements will be here in the next few days]
For our threes section on the show, Shelly addresses three tips she would give a company that wants to maximize their investment in content marketing:
- Understand your audience – creating audience personas and doing your research about your customers is a necessity.
- Don’t treat social as an afterthought – to be effective in social media, you have to invest time and resources into your social media strategy.
- Always let the data be your guide – leverage your data to know what makes sense for your next move.
You guys have changed a lot recently, right? You've had the agency and now you've got kind of this media group. Can you walk us through what V3B is and what those day to day activities are.
We both had small but very successful agencies and we decided that what we really wanted to do is embark on some growth strategies on our own. We decided that together, our growth potential was greater than either one of us was separately. We decided to combine forces and merge our companies and that was really where V3B, V3 Broadsuite is our name, V3B was born. It's kind of new news, but it's not really new news for us, because we've been working as a team for a while and just kind of unveiling all that has been recent.
We also own a separate company that's a media company. That company is called Broadsuite Media Group. The agency client V3B serves our clients in a variety of different ways as an agency would. The media group really is about creating rich media content. That might be in the form of video shows, podcasts, those we do. We do through the media group we might do influence their campaigns for brands. We work with brands like Dell and IBM and SAP. Influencer marketing is kind of a pretty big thing for brands these days. Especially brands in the tech space. We have a lot of expertise in the tech space, especially when it comes to things like mobility or cloud or technology or data. Anyway, we've got a lot going on.
More importantly, I think that ... By the way, brands have been doing storytelling for a long time. Content marketing isn't exactly new. It's just the latest thing that people have embraced and are treating it as this new thing. It's really not.
The problem with content marketing is that, and I say this a lot when I speak on this topic and the writers in the audience always want to stone me. The reality of it is that creating great content is easy. In the big scheme of themes, it's the easy part. Getting anybody to read it is the other part of the equation and the most important part of the equation, yet that's the part of the process that most people aren't paying any attention to.
I look at people's companies on a regular basis. One of the first things I do is I go to their website and I take a look at their website, I take a look at the content on their website. I take a look at their blog if it exists. I can tell how much their content is being shared.
I was talking with a good client yesterday and he was frustrated because he's been a startup, a really awesome tech startup company that has a terrific product. He'd been engaging with somebody that had been writing content for him. I looked at the content and it was the worst content on the plant. It was not intended for consumption by his target audience who would be rabid for, the technology is a sports technology geared toward high school football coaches and an audience that is just hungry for information that's relevant to them, yet the content on the blog was totally off topic and it was poorly written and it was less than 200 words of content. The customer was frustrated because he'd been working with this person for six months and paying for content that wasn't delivering any results. We live in a time of "buyer beware" being the words that you have to live by more than any before. Just because you have content doesn't mean it's going to work for you.
Anyway, I think that you have to, again, it all goes back to the audience that you serve. We have to get in a mindset as marketers, as salespeople, as customer service people. Whatever it is that you do, we have got to get in the mindset of the fact that our job is about serving customers and understanding their needs and being where they are and serving those needs in a human way. When I talk with people and people come to us all the time and say, "We need social media." I'll say, "Well, you know I'm not sure you do. Let's look at why you think you need social media and let's look at everything else that you're doing and then let's figure out the role that social plays." Social is really a small part of the big equation. I think that being agile in this process is putting yourself in the minds of the customer but also doing things like using monitoring and listening tools. You can start down this path with a hypothesis about where you'll find your people. If the way you're going about this from a social standpoint is a formulaic saying, okay social media means LinkedIn. Half the time people leave LinkedIn off the table which is stupid.
Lastly, always let your data be your guide. You have to be looking at your analytics. You have to be monitoring listening tools and you have to be taking the data that you get as a result of those things and letting that drive your content strategy, your content development, your content distribution.
I'll give you one example for that. One of the things we look at is where traffic comes from. We have a business Facebook page. We really don't use it very much. My business partner and I both have a pretty big personal presence on Facebook. I'm as prone on my Facebook profile. I have realized by the way that I'm not the norm. This is also the type of thing that I do for a living. I have like 4,000 Facebook friends. I have a big audience on Facebook. I'm as likely to be sharing a picture of my kid or a stupid video from Jimmy Fallon's Lip Sync contest or a piece that I wrote on the results of a CIO survey that were done by CIO magazine that was done today, that I'm interested in. What I look at on a regular basis is what happens with that content that I share on Facebook. Sometimes it resonates. Sometimes that content resonates so much with people. I'm looking at our traffic on the website and I can see that a significant amount of it comes from Facebook.