I spent a slice of last week attending Oracle Marketing Cloud’s Modern Marketing Experience in London after the wonderful Oracle team invited me to be one of their attending ‘social influencers’. It was an incredible experience (more on that coming soon in a separate post) and there was a lot to learn from many of the speakers.

As I watched the plethora of clever minds, I was thinking ‘what would really help the readers of my blog’ and the stand-out talk was from Chris Moody, OMC’s Director of Content and Social. Chris delivered five actions you can take in order to jumpstart content creation, and they’re what I’m going to share with you here. I’ve added my twist to some of them, but the crux remains.

1 – Brainstorm the top questions your team hear the most

One of the key aspects of content marketing when it comes to helping customers and attracting new ones is answering the questions that they most need answered. It’s known as ‘they ask, you answer’ and Marcus Sheridan is noted as the marketer that coined this phrase. Sit down with people from across the business and brainstorm the questions they get asked the most. Create a list of the top 30 and voilà, you have the basis of 30 pieces of content.

Wait! You have more than 30 pieces of content. Why? Well, you should have personas for your customers. Those personas may react better to content written or delivered in a different way. Say you have five personas, multiply that by 30 and you have 150 pieces of content.

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Sounds a lot I know and if you don’t have the resource to cover all of that, then at least be sure to write an article/blog post that covers the top 30 in a more generic fashion. There’s more! What about the three different content categories?

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If you have content across of three of those, then you have a lot to play with! Get your team together and carry out this exercise today.

2 – Tap your teams’ knowledge

Your wonderful colleagues are the font of all knowledge and an excellent basis for content. Interview for them articles and Q&As. If that’s too much work for them/you, try video. Different people will deliver the good stuff in different ways. He said, rather clumsily. I’d suggest working out a schedule in advance and giving plenty of notice, that way people have no excuse for not being ready.

3 – Host a blogathon

This is a great idea! Chris gave an example from a US based company – their CEO insisted that for 90 minutes at the end of each day for a week, all staff wrote a blog post that answered a key customer question. Enabling the team to create content with permission from the top of the tree is a very smart move. It will also push people to participate if it’s mandatory. Crack that whip! In a nice way.

4 – Stop trying to always score ‘screamers’

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Chris encouraged the audience to not feel like they have to hit ‘home-runs’ all of the time. I’ve decided to make this more suitable for a UK/European audience by switching the analogy to football. Blasting the ball into the net from 25 yards is comparable to that piece of content that gets a huge reaction from the audience, generates a lot of leads and so on.

While these screamers are of course highly desirable, striving to score them all the time will likely lead to your content approach lacking in real utility (usefulness for your customers or prospects). Be sure to mix the screamers with six-yard tap-ins. The tap-ins may well be the answers to the questions we looked at earlier in the post. Pick that out.

5 – Feed the sales team

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This relates to point 1, but focusses on the sales team. Like it or not, there’s often a divide between the marketing and sales teams. One seems to think like they can live without the other. Really, they should be in wedded bliss, but in reality, the relationship is grounds for divorce. Want to help your sales colleagues sell more? Help them to turn the questions they get asked via email into blog posts that they can then share with those asking. It adds value to their discussions, but also to the business in general. Sweet.

So there you have it, five things you can do today to improve your content marketing output! Thanks to Chris Moody for the excellent talk, I’m hoping to interview him on my podcast soon.  There’s a stack of great resources over on the Oracle Marketing Cloud site.

If you have any questions about content marketing, please feel free to give me a call on 0131 344 4599 (+44131 344 4599 from overseas) or email me and I’ll be more than happy to help. Also feel free to leave a comment on this post (scroll down…) or tweet me @mike_mcgrail.

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