People are drowning in content. Author and strategist Mark Schaefer coined the term "Content Shock" to describe the exponential rise of content on the Internet in relation to people's finite time and attention. Jason Miller has the solution to help your organization survive in the era of Content Shock: content that rocks!
Jason leads content and social media marketing for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, helping marketers understand how to use LinkedIn to achieve their marketing goals and deliver real ROI. Previously, he was the senior manager of social media strategy at Marketo.
He's a frequent contributor to Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, MarketingProfs, and Copyblogger, and he has presented at numerous industry conferences, including Dreamforce, Social Media Marketing World, Social Fresh, Inbound, and more.
Jason also wrote a best-selling book, Welcome to the Funnel: Proven Tactics to Turn Your Content and Social Media Up to 11. He first appeared on Marketing Smarts when the book launched, and he discussed social media and marketing. I invited him back to the podcast to talk about some of the innovative content marketing he's heading up at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, including the highly downloaded LinkedIn marketing guide "The Secret Sauce."
We cover how to create content that rocks so you can stand out in today's crowded online space, and how to measure success; we also cover the important role Sales should play as you formulate your content strategy.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
If it can be tested, it can be improved (11:42): "A/B testing used to be really super sexy and cool in the days of PPC and AdWords, and I think it kind of lost its luster in the world of social. But with the introduction of direct sponsored content on LinkedIn—where you can actually post content directly into the feed without going through your company page—it only goes to that audience. Now you can personalize it, you can test it. We test different messaging, different words, different colors, creative, etc.—different audiences to see what they'll react to. We test everything.
"For a 'Big Rock' piece of content like 'The Secret Sauce' or 'The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide,' we probably get 100 or so different creatives for the ads and for the blog headers and for everything. We test everything to see what works. Once we run the test, we find which one wins, and turn the one off that's underperforming and move the budget over to the one that is [performing] and do another test. We probably have 50 or 60 tests going on at any given time."
To create marketing content that drives sales, set the right goals (13:52): "Obviously, Marketing-qualified leads [MQLs] are very important. These are not downloads, these are not inquiries. These are folks who have downloaded the piece of content, filled out a form.... We've scored them and determined whether they fit into our buyer's profile, and whether or not they've engaged with the brand enough to be passed on as a Sales-ready lead. That's one part of [our strategy] is driving Marketing-qualified leads. That's all about lead quality and what the sales team has agreed with us upon what looks like a good quality lead to them. We don't want to overwhelm them with leads. We want to give them the leads with the most activity that are showing signs they're likely to buy. The 'hand raisers,' if you will. That's one part of it.
"Another part [of our strategy] is driving traffic to self-serve. Obviously, anyone can sign up for a LinkedIn account and start advertising right away. We want to tell the story of the marketer on LinkedIn and how they can be successful. We want to tell them 'this is what's happening on LinkedIn. This is the possibility of what you can do on LinkedIn. If it's right for you, give it a shot and we'll help you along the way.' Driving MQLs for our sales team and getting Sales and Marketing aligned is super important for us in 2018, but also driving people to start discovering LinkedIn and starting to advertise self-serve, as well. Those two together make up our content strategy."
Sit down with Sales to talk content, but do some keyword research first (16:30): "I never discount keyword research because keyword research is the conversation that's happening when people are searching—voice or typing it into the search engine or whatever. There's no question what content you should be creating, because the data's all out there. If I can harness that, map it back to competitive nature, search volume, and is it worth creating content on this, and then go to Sales and say, 'These are the conversations that are happening out there, this is what we're looking to create. What are the conversations you're having with customers, what are the pushbacks, and let's put the two together.' If you can nail that, that is the ultimate piece of content, no matter what the topic is."
Jason and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
Music credit: Noam Weinstein.
Jason Miller, head of content and social media marketing at LinkedIn Sales & Marketing Solutions EMEA. You can follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonMillerCA, and be sure to check out his best-selling book Welcome to the Funnel: Proven Tactics to Turn Your Social and Content Marketing Up to 11.