What the 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report Tells Us

Last year I wrote a post recapping the findings from Software Advice’s 2013 Online B2B Buyer Behavior Report. This year marketing technology advisor Software Advice is at it again, but this time around they put together a 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report.

Demand generation, which I’m sure most of you already know, is using targeted marketing programs to help drive more awareness of and interest in your company’s products or services. In this report, Software Advice surveyed 200 B2B marketing professionals, mostly senior-level marketers, and discovered what channels, offers, content types and technologies they used to power their demand gen programs, as well as which ones worked the most effectively for them. Three key takeaways stood out from this report:

  1. The best channels that brought in large numbers of high-quality leads were trade shows, referral marketing and in-house email marketing.
  2. Videos were the most used content type, used by 92% of those surveyed, and videos produced a large quantity of leads.
  3. 79% of the B2B marketers use at least 11 marketing software applications, and 97% use email marketing software.

Best Channels for Generating Leads

The B2B marketers surveyed were asked to rate channels based on the relative quantity and quality of leads generated by said channels. Trade shows and events were picked as generating the most leads and the best leads, which Michele Linn, content development director at CMI, credited to in-person events being meaningful and powerful today when basically everything we do is online.

SA graph

Other channels that did well were search engine advertising, in-house email marketing and TV, radio and print advertisements. If you want to run programs that focus on quantity, these are options you should look into if you aren’t already doing them. But steer clear of direct mail and display advertising, as these 2 finished last.

While trade shows and events brought in large amounts of promising leads, they were also picked as being the channels that had a high cost-per-lead. Low-cost channels included in-house email marketing, organic search and social media. Social media marketing, the campaigns and programs excluding ads, made the top of the list at being the lowest cost-per-lead.

Content Types and Number of Leads They Produce

Next, the marketers were asked to rank content types by their effectiveness with demand generation and lead generation. Of all surveyed, 92% said video was the most commonly used content type for demand gen programs. Videos ranked just ahead of surveys, white papers and case studies.

SA graph 2

Videos and surveys also ranked as the top-2 ways for generating the most quantity of leads. Videos have been most thought of as content that helps brands build trust with their consumers and is used to simply entertain them. But as this report shows, companies must be producing more actionable videos that are generating more and more quality leads.

Rounding out the list of content types given, e-books and case studies finished at the bottom.

Software Applications Used for Demand Generation Efforts

SA graph 3

Software Advice then provided 11 software systems and asked the marketers to select which ones they used to assist with their demand gen efforts. Almost all surveyed, 97%, use email marketing software. Following closing behind were CRM and marketing automation systems. But what should be noted is that 79% of those surveyed use all of the 11 software solutions they were shown, and more than 70% said all 11 were reasonably important with their demand gen efforts. This proves that B2B marketing departments rely heavily on information technology.

Demand Generation Expectations and Spending

The last two questions Software Advice asked were how the marketers’ demand gen programs were performing compared to their expectations and what their plans for demand gen spending were for 2015. Forty-four percent of small businesses, those with less than 100 employees, said their efforts performed below what they anticipated, while 27% of midsized companies and 29% of large companies said the same.

Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, believes these results are because many marketers set foolish expectations. Marketers want things right now, but they forget their prospects don’t function exactly how they want.

“Across the board, we too often expect marketing programs to work immediately,” he said. “We want qualified leads, now! But our prospects don’t work that way.”

As for spending with demand gen efforts, 41% of the marketers surveyed said they were going to increase their yearly spending, 43% said they were going to spend the same amount and 17% said they were going to decrease spending for the upcoming year.

SA graph 4

Linn said it’s no surprise at all that more marketers are planning to spend more for 2015.

“People realize now that having a demand generation strategy is so critical,” she said. “They need to plan content along the entire customer lifecycle. And it can be very time-intensive and resource-intensive. So, from that perspective, it’s not surprising that people are increasing spend at all. It’s an engine that constantly needs to be fed.”

Why Aren’t You Repromoting Your Content?

You’ve hopped aboard the content marketing train, and that’s a smart move! However, some challenges still await you.

For starters, only 32% of marketers say they’re effectively executing enough content.  Furthermore, content creation itself along with its management claim the 2nd largest portion of digital marketing budgets.

That’s a recipe for disaster: a big ol’ budget and still not enough content.

Saving Yourself From Disaster

What will save you from this content marketing disaster? The answer is really three-fold.

Content Curation

The first component is content curation. Curation fills in the gaps between when you aren’t creating content with high-quality 3rd party content.

The second piece is repackaging and repurposing your premium content. By using R&R, you’ll get much more mileage out of the content you’re already creating.

The final piece of this puzzle is something we haven’t touched on yet here on the Stryde Blog. Typically, the most fundamental practices are the ones that are most often overlooked. And few things are more fundamental than the practice of repromoting your content.

What To Repromote

Not every piece of content you create is going to be heavily repromoted, or even repromoted at all. Certain types of content lend themselves to an expiration date. These types can be anything from contests to event recaps. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to repromote a contest that has ended or an event that happened 8 months ago.

Industry updates are another piece of content that you probably won’t want to spend much time repromoting. Once news has broken, revisiting it weeks later doesn’t give the appearance that you’re on the cutting edge of your industry.

So, what content does that leave you with to promote? Plenty!

The best content for repromotion is typically called “evergreen” content. Evergreen means just as it sounds: it will, for the foreseeable future, remain of high value to your target market.

Where To Repromote

Repromoting can occur on any channel you occupy, but the most popular method of repromotion is through social media platforms.

Twitter is one of the easiest platforms to repromote upon, as you can select different quotes or angles from you piece of content, and Tweet it out again and again. Tweets on Twitter are buried very quickly, which is why repromoting here frequently is essential.

Along with social channels, repromotion can also occur through your company’s newsletter or email marketing. Including a snippet and a link to evergreen content within an email sent out to customers is a great way to reach an already interested audience. It can also allow them to catch up on any content you’ve created that they might have missed.

When To Repromote

While repromoting is crucial to content marketing success, the last thing you want is to shove the same piece of content in front of your audience over and over again. People don’t want to see that, I know I don’t want to see that! It just doesn’t create value for your company or your customers.

This makes your approach to timing of repromotion very critical.

If you’ve already promoted a piece of content via a social channel, try sharing the repromotion at a different time. Repromotion really gives you a chance to A/B test what times work best for reaching your target audience on social media.

Sharing at different times is a great way to mitigate the risk of consumer content exhaustion. Another way to mitigate the risk is to use a different image, quote, or angle in the copy of your share. The new verbiage could attract a new set of eyes that would have otherwise scrolled right past your content. Once again, it’s a great method to A/B test titles, too.

As you can see, content repromotion is an essential facet of every content marketing initiative. How are you planning and organizing your repromotion efforts?

Event Recap: Content Marketing Bootcamp 2014

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgYesterday, half of the Stryde team traveled to the beautiful Adobe complex in Lehi, UT. What brought us and hundreds of other Utah marketers together here was an in-depth, hands-on, education Content Marketing Bootcamp event. Utah Business Magazine, Adobe, and Avalaunch were the main sponsors who put on this intense and information-packed day-long session.

From 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, we were treated to golden pieces of wisdom from eight of the best minds in content marketing. We learned so much, that we wanted to pass along the highlights to those who couldn’t attend.

Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion

“How To Create a Culture of Content Marketing that Gets Incredible Results”

Hearing Marcus Sheridan speak is like getting a B12 shot. He has so much energy, it leaves you wanting to take on the world and answer all the questions. But in all seriousness, Marcus is not afraid to confront marketers with the questions they don’t want to answer.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Chad Warren, Adobe

“Social Analytics”

Chad Warren was clearly feeling at home in the beautiful surroundings of the Adobe building. He was a gracious host who even divulged a “dirty secret” of social media: “No one wants to be friends with your business.”

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

David Malmborg, Right Intel

“Turning Content Curation into Thought Leadership – The Hierarchy of Content Marketing Needs”

We’re huge fans of Right Intel already, and we’re pretty sure the rest of the marketers in attendance would agree with us after David Malmborg took the stage yesterday. Malmborg encouraged all of us to become the curators in the museum that is our business.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Josh Parkinson, Post Planner

“The Top Heresies of Content Marketing — and Why Committing Them is Crucial”

Josh Parkinson didn’t disappoint with his energy, either. Parkinson’s passion and “break all the rules” attitude towards social media kept the audience totally enthralled.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Rachael Herrscher, Today’s Mama Blog

“Social Content Creation: Working With Social Platforms and Bloggers For Impact”

Rachael Herrscher’s authenticity and no-nonsense approach to business are qualities left the whole room hanging on her every word. Whether it was her lesson on what is and is not a “mommy blog” or her insights on how to get the most out of posting on social media platforms, Herrscher certainly left us with actionable content marketing items.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Owen Fuller, Qzzr

“How to make one of those insanely viral quizzes that you’re seeing everywhere”

After hearing one of the Qwizwards speak, you are guaranteed to catch the quizzing bug. Owen Fuller gave us all amazing insight into why quizzes are so viral, and how to bottle some of that magic.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Dan Bischoff, Content Hook

“Lessons From the AP: How To Build a Winning Content Team”

Dan Bischoff taught all of us the importance of a well-balanced content marketing team. The underlying theme of his presentation is something that we’re still thinking about today: creating a human connection through a brand.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Devin Knighton, Instructure/Canvas

“Thinking Big: How Instructure Canvas Partnered with AMC TV on “The Walking Dead”

When a great marketing mind Devin Knighton took the stage, we knew we were in for a treat. Knighton’s recanting of the events that lead up to Instructure/Canvas’ partnership with “The Walking Dead” made us all believe that we’re capable of greatness, too.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

As you can see, we were inundated with content marketing goodies yesterday! If you attended, what was your favorite part of the day? 

4 Big Content Marketing Challenges & How To Overcome Them

content marketing challenges

Whether you’re just getting started with a content marketing initiative, or have been practicing the art for years, you’re bound to hit a few bumps along the way. Not only are all of the challenges present that occur with all initiatives, like budget and staff, but there are also the challenges of encouraging adoption of a non-traditional method of marketing.

Last year, Curata surveyed over 500 marketing professionals and published the results in the 2014 Content Marketing Tactics Planner. These 500 professionals gave insight into their biggest challenges with content marketing, these included the following (in order of importance): limited staff, limited budget, creating enough content on a regular basis, finding the best sources to create amazing content, organizational culture, measuring impact of content, and promoting content.

Curata’s findings are quite telling in many ways. First, it sheds a light on to the importance of monetary resources available. Second, as Curata astutely points out, content measurement and promotion are on the bottom of the list. This is a big, big problem.

The thing we love most about a challenge is the opportunity it creates to overcome it. Below, we’ll address how we see the challenges of content marketing and how to address each one.

Content Marketing Challenge #1: Limited Resources

As we mentioned earlier, focusing on promotion and measurement is paramount in successful content marketing. However, for content marketing to even be considered, you must answer this question first.

The answer to this is simple: content marketing costs less than traditional marketing. In fact, it costs 62% less than traditional marketing does and generates approximately 3 times as many leads. The bottom line is that marketing dollars are better spent with content marketing.

But what about the headcount? You can probably make room in the budget for a content marketing initiative, but hiring a full time writer, social media specialist, SEO, graphic designer, and even videographer is harder for one to make happen.

Here’s when outsourcing is your friend. Hiring specialists in the field of content marketing makes your job much easier and hedges your bets for success. Check out our list comparing and contrasting hiring an agency versus building an in-house team here.

If you decide to hire a reputable agency, you won’t have to address the challenges of creation, promotion, and how to measure results. Go you! But, if you’re building an in-house team, here’s how to address those issues.

Content Marketing Challenge #2: Content Creation Processes

Building processes is never simple and content creation is no different. However, laying this groundwork of processes is essential for creating killer content on a regular basis.

The first step here is to take a look at your buyer personas (or create them if you haven’t yet). From these buyer personas you’ll generate content topics and types. A monthly or quarterly editorial calendar should then be created where you’ll plan out the dates of publication for the content you will create.

The editorial calendar is also where you’ll plan your curation strategy. Curated content should be 25% of your overall content marketing mix. Within this content, you can share relevant industry news as well as quality 3rd party content that will support your own created content.

Content Marketing Challenge #3: Promotion

Many people get so wrapped up in the content creation phase, that they forgo the attention that promotion requires.

When you’re starting a content marketing campaign, expect that you’ll be spending 50% of your time on “content” and 50% of your time on “marketing.” While that may seem absurdly fundamental, please do carry it with you.

Content marketing promotion may take many forms, including promotion on owned, earned, and paid channels. Common methods of content promotion are:

  • Social media (unpaid)
  • Social media (paid)
  • Content promotion networks
  • Re-Targeting

Content Marketing Challenge #4: Measurement

There are really two facets of the measurement content marketing challenge. The first is know what to measure. The second is understanding what those measurements mean.

To address the issue of what to measure, it’s imperative that you have concrete goals. Your KPIs will vary depending on the type of goals you have set. Understanding what your goals are is the first step in addressing measurement issues.

After you have determined and calculated your KPIs, it’s time to understand them. You may have had a 59% increase in followers. Great! So what? What does that mean for your brand? Does this indicate an increase of brand awareness? Are those followers of high value? The only way to answer these questions is to dig in to your data.

Content Marketing: Accomplished

By addressing each of these big content marketing challenges, you’re on the road to content marketing success. While tackling limited resources, creation process, promotion, and measurement issues early makes your ride much smoother along the way.

Are there any other challenges that you would address? What are your content marketing hurdles?

The Science of Storytelling [Infographic]

I came across this fantastic infographic posted by Kapost yesterday and felt it was right in line with our blog post from yesterday about storytelling and content marketing.

storytelling and content marketing

The main points of the graphic are as follows:

  • Stories Trump Logic – Persuasion is most effective when people are “transported” to another place using a story.
  • Language Is Powerful – When we hear a story, the areas of our brain we would use to experience the actual events of that story are activated.
  • Cliches Kill – The frontal cortex – the area of your brain responsible to experience emotions – can’t be activated with cliches.
  • Music Matters – Our brain uses two different areas to identify the meaning of words – one identifies the mood from the melody and intonation of the words and one identifies the actual message.

Telling stories isn’t a waste of time. It’s how you connect with your audience on an emotional level, which makes it easier to get them to take action. Which is why companies engage in marketing.

The Art Of Repurposing & Repackaging Your Content

Repurposing and repackaging content marketing

Content repurposing and repackaging can be as simple as Tweeting carefully crafted copy along with one of your best performing blog post, or it can be as complicated as turning that same content into an email course.

Whichever method you choose, repurposing and repackaging content allows you to use the premium content you already have, and reach a new subset of your target audience.

As a general rule of thumb, for every single piece of content you create, you should also have at least 10 ideas for future repurposing.

Sound a bit daunting? We’ve found a few tricks that makes the process of repurposing much easier. We’ll also share with you our favorite places to share that repurposed content.

Start With Content That Resonates With Your Target

meaningful content

This might be a no brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. When you’re looking to repurpose content you’ve already created, take a look at your analytics and social shares first. Choose a piece that performed well and that you can transform with relative ease.

Utilize Your Buyer Personas

buyer personas

The easiest way to reach that 10 repurposing-idea mark is to review your buyer personas. Each piece of content you create should be aimed at a specific buyer persona. (If you’re just getting started with your buyer personas and need help, check out our step by step guide to creating buyer personas.)

Once you’ve determined what buyer persona the content piece at hand is targeting, you can dig and see how repurposing it would allow you to reach another one of your target personas.

For example, perhaps you have created a blog post that’s full of statistics. That’s great for an analytical persona, but what about the visual learners? Transform that blog post into an infographic, and POOF, you’ve just repackaged your content to reach a new persona.

Repackaging Options & Repurposing Locations

content repurposing

Your buyer personas will lead you to your final decision on content repackaging. Below, we’ll go into the most common options for repurposing your content online. For each repackaging option, we’ll list the best places for that content to live.


A piece of content doesn’t always start as a blog, but it should be repackaged as one! If you’re starting from an infographic or video, a blog post gives a great opportunity to add in more details that didn’t fit in the original piece.

            Repurposing Locations LinkedIn, Quora, Social Media Today, Reddit


Many people are visual learners and in the online world, visuals get shares. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, so take advantage of that by transforming information into a beautiful infographic.

Repurposing Locations Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, SlideShare


If budget doesn’t allow for a full-blown infographic, images are a fabulous alternative. We really love Canva for creating quick and striking images. Transform a quote or statistic from a piece into an image that’s perfect for social media sharing.

            Repurposing Locations – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr


Turning your content into an Ebook is not only a great option for repurposing, it also gives a chance for your content to live on syndication. Create an Ebook, set up a landing page, and start collecting information!

            Repurposing Locations – SlideShare, Google+, Amazon Kindle Store


If creating an Ebook seems a bit too labor-intensive, create a slideshow instead! (It’s really best if you have both, but time constraints impact us all.) Creating a slideshow is a great way to synthesize information into a more palatable form for users.

            Repurposing Locations – SlideShare, Slideworld, Scribd


If you have the capabilities to create a video, you should take advantage of them. Videos open up a whole new region of reach for your piece of content. And with video marketing popularity on the rise (it’s anticipated that global online video traffic will be 55% of all consumer internet traffic in 2016), it’s a great use of your content marketing dollars.

            Repurposing Locations YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook


Put those vocal skills to good use by creating a Podcast. Podcasts are great for putting your own personal touch into a piece of content. So much more is conveyed through actual speech, and it gives you the opportunity to really drive home your message. In addition, creating a Podcast gives you a chance to reach your target in a location other than the computer! Many individuals (myself included) download Podcasts and listen to them while driving or cleaning.

            Repurposing Locations iTunes Podcast


Webinars create an instant connection with your target and provide an opportunity for you to incorporate other forms of content you’ve created. For instance, a Webinar typically requires a slideshow. This slideshow can then be sent out to attendees after the fact.

            Repurposing Locations GoToWebinar, Join.me

Email/Online Course

If your content is particularly in-depth, consider creating an email or online course focusing on the topic at hand. This content is excellent at building credibility as a source of reliable information. It also shows how helpful your brand is to its consumers.

            Repurposing Locations MailChimp, Udemy, Skillshare

The Artistry Of Repurposing & Repackaging

As you can see, repurposing and repackaging your content is a true art. It requires insight into your target market, knowledge of your own capabilities, and a lot of thinking outside of the box.

Have you tackled the art of content R & R? We’d love to hear about what you’ve learned.

Storytelling & Content Marketing

Last week at a marketing event, one of the presenters showed a BMW commercial and a line from that commercial really stuck out to me. It was something I already knew, but for some reason the reminder really hit me and has stayed with me. That line, paraphrased a little bit by me, said, “What you make consumers feel is even more important than what you actually make.”


This line rings true with storytelling.

Storytelling is an essential part of content marketing. Its main focus isn’t on the language you use, but on how you craft and tell your stories to your audience in a compelling way. So storytelling isn’t so much what you say, it’s how you say it.

Determining how you craft and tell your stories depends on your target audience. Your story must align with your customers. You need to know their needs, what they’d want to hear and share with others and what their emotional triggers are. If you craft your stories around the personalities of your target audiences, you’re thinking strategically about your storytelling and therefore are in sync with your customers. When you’re in sync with your customers, you’re able to make an emotional connection through your story that also allows them to connect with your brand. You make them feel something, and that emotional feeling is what causes them to change their views on a particular topic or change their behavior and makes them want to talk about and share your story with their family, friends and coworkers.

What makes a good story?

Word count isn’t what makes a good story. Just because a piece of written content is 1,000+ words doesn’t mean it’s a good story or that it even tells a story at all. Facts and features are two other things that don’t make a good story. While sometimes those things need to be told to let your audience know about your product, they don’t provide an emotional connection. Like Bryan Eisenberg has said, “Facts tell, but stories sell.”


Good stories take consumers on an enjoyable narrative journey. They have a beginning, middle and end, while subtly revealing your brand’s message somewhere along the way, creating a more powerful, memorable and shareable piece of content. They have relatable characters, a setting, a structured storyline and inspiration from a personal experience of yours or someone you know to help make the story more applicable and personable to your readers.

Good stories also need to have accompanying images and/or videos to help show rather than just tell your story. Images and videos are needed allies with written stories simply because they’re moving and help create and reinforce that emotional connection with your target audience.

And lastly, your stories need to identify and answer the Five W’s: who, what, where, when and why. The why is especially important. Your story needs to show why you’re telling the story and why your audience needs to care.

When it comes to good storytelling, here are some things your story can and should be:

  • Entertaining
  • Creative
  • Genuine
  • Engaging
  • Valuable
  • Relatable
  • Inspiring
  • Informational
  • Authentic
  • Funny
  • Consistent with your brand and others stories you tell
  • Paced correctly so your target audience doesn’t lose interest or get overwhelmed

In order to be successful, your content marketing efforts need good storytelling. Good storytelling is the content marketing tool that entertains consumers while solving their problems, encourages consumers to use their critical thinking skills and sparks discussions amongst consumers online and offline.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Everything To Everyone

You may have the desire to provide as much as you can to as many people as you can. But with that kind of thinking, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. It’s impossible to be everything to everyone. You can try, but you will fail 100% of the time.

Everyone isn’t your target market (or they shouldn’t be), so why should you try and be everything to everyone?

Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. If you needed a lawyer to handle your personal injury case, would you choose a personal injury lawyer who specializes in these types of cases or would you go with a lawyer who handles these cases among their many others? You’d go with the first. Why? Because they have a set focus and niche and only spend their time within that area of focus, meaning they’re highly skilled and knowledgeable in that area. This is exactly what you need to be doing if you want to be considered a thought leader in your industry.

When you try to be everything to everyone, you face several challenges and dangers. Here’s the hazardous road you’ll drive down if you choose this method of thinking:

  • Your brand message becomes lost because you’re straying from it.
  • Lose value to your brand.
  • Slows down your business growth.
  • Takes away the time you could be spending providing better, more meaningful efforts.
  • The more you try and do, the less consistent you are with your work so you deliver mediocre instead of great work.
  • Gives off a sense of desperation.
  • Get easily burnt out.

Basically, trying to be everything to everyone means you’ll be nothing to no one.

The only way to be a thought leader in your industry is to focus and go narrow and deep into a niche. You earn more from this method of thinking, and can offer more to your target audience. It’s much easier and more profitable to connect with a smaller, more focused niche in a bigger way than it is to try and connect with a large, broad audience in a big way. Your mind and efforts aren’t being pulled in every direction, so you have the time and capability to offer a higher value to your audience. When you focus and go more narrow and deep, you offer the less-is-more method, which works greatly for you and is appreciated by your customers.

Your brand is stronger and your business grows faster when you’re focused. When you offer concentrated services to a target audience, 3 things happen: it’s easier to find your customers, it’s easier to convince potential customers to become loyal customers and your expertise in your industry grows, which in turn attracts more customers your way.

It’s human nature to not want to limit yourself and your abilities or turn away someone who could be a potential customer. But you will actually find more customers and more easily find them and turn them into loyal customers when you focus and go narrow and deep into a niche. You become indispensible, needed and highly sought after for your skills in your niche area. You turn yourself into the go-to thought leader in your industry, and that’s exactly what your goal should be.

The Content Marketing Solution: The Content Marketing Pyramid

Arguably the most crucial part of a business’s marketing strategy is content marketing. Content marketing, when done right, provides interesting, valuable information to your current and potential customers, helps you build a meaningful relationship with said customers and establishes your business as an expert and thought leader in your industry.

With all that content marketing is and does, a lot is required of content marketing teams. It’s that team’s job to continually create great content of every size and form, make sure it’s seen and read by as many eyes as possible and achieve the projected results, or even exceed those expectations. Trying to keep up with all that demand under that kind of pressure can be overwhelming and stretch a content marketing team, their strategy and content too thin.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The solution? The content marketing pyramid.

Curated Content (1)


What is the content marketing pyramid?

The content marketing pyramid is a graphical representation showing a process of joining infrequent, time-consuming content pieces with minimal-effort, recurring content pieces. Basically put, it’s our old food pyramid but for content creation, with more of what’s needed at the bottom and less of what’s needed toward the top.

The pyramid is divided up into 5 sections (from bottom to top):

  1. Curated Content
  2. Short Form Blog Posts & Website Content
  3. Infographics, Webinars & Presentations
  4. eBooks & White Papers
  5. Print Books

The foundation of the pyramid, curated content, consists of smaller content pieces that aren’t necessarily planned in your editorial calendar. They’re spontaneous and frequently sent out to the masses because they don’t require much effort or resources to produce. This content includes Tweets, Retweets and blog comments, which you could sit at your desk and do all day. Because this content is considered low-effort content, it makes up the biggest part, or the foundation, of the pyramid and your content marketing efforts.

Moving up the pyramid, the next section is short form blog posts and other short pieces of website content put together by fusing the content from the foundation of the pyramid. You could take comments from curated posts to be the base for a short form blog post for your website. This content requires a little more time investment but is still rather easy to push out.

The next section is made up of 3 different types of content: infographics, webinars and presentations. They aren’t considered long form content, but they do take more time to create and necessitate more resources to produce. This also means this type of content is more impactful than the two sections below it.

eBooks and white papers, the fourth section up the pyramid, still require time and research to create, but can be formed by combining several short form blog posts together.

The very top of the content marketing pyramid is print books. This type of content requires the most time and effort (and patience) to create, which is why it’s at the top. Print books can be put together by grouping some of your eBooks, webinar notes and long form blog posts together in an easily and enjoyable read.

The great thing about this pyramid is that you have the choice to start at the bottom or the top. While we showed how you start at the bottom with small content pieces and work your way up to one big content piece, if you have a giant, heavy-duty content piece, you can start at the top and work your way down by cutting it up into smaller content pieces.

Why should you care about the content marketing pyramid?

The content marketing pyramid should be something you incorporate into your content marketing strategy if you haven’t already. It helps your team get more of your content out into the world using the same amount of effort you’re giving now.

It also incorporates two best practices of content marketing: duplication and usability. For any marketing campaign to be considered successful and effective, the audience needs to see the same marketing message in multiple places at various times. The content marketing pyramid does this by sending out the exact same message through several content types. In terms of usability, the pyramid allows you to provide the same content marketing message in different content sizes and forms so you satisfy every kind of audience with the type of content they prefer to consume.

Repurposing content isn’t a new idea in the content marketing world. But when you use the content marketing pyramid, your content marketing efforts are efficiently effective. It helps ensure your content marketing message is distributed in various forms through various channels so it’s seen, heard and absorbed by your target audiences.

All Marketing Initiatives Run On Content… Don’t Screw It Up

2015 is rapidly approaching and we’ve already discussed how October is the best time to ramp up your inbound marketing efforts. Now, we want to look even further into the future and delve into marketing initiatives for 2015.

The marketing initiatives that you focus energy on in 2015 act as the mode of transportation to your company’s goals. Whether your marketing efforts involve a new channel, a shift in branding, or a shift in positioning, effectively planning now will make your initiative even more successful.

What should that planning include? Let’s think again of your marketing initiative as a mode of transportation. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say it’s a car. You’re probably hoping that your 2015 marketing initiatives will be shiny, top-of-the-line, and dependable. Most of all, you want your initiative car to take you safely to your destination.

So, you have this beautiful vehicle, all waxed and ready to go. You hop in on January 1st and turn the key in the ignition and… bupkis.

angry car

Content As Fuel

Why? Why after all of that researching and waxing did your car fail to start?

You forgot the gas.

The gas that fuels your marketing initiatives is content. Without it, your plans will simply sit in the garage, gathering dust.

See Through The Hype

It can be a challenge to convey the true importance of content, with every SEO and their mother touting it as the “new big thing.” But, smart marketers know that creating content isn’t new. And it is in fact content that allows you to reach your marketing goals.

Hype is dangerous. It’s dangerous because it can lead us to an unfair dismissal of a critical component. Don’t fall into this trap!

Content is invaluable, here are 3 big reasons why:

  • The Content Council’s research indicates that 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, they are also more likely to buy from that company.
  • HubSpot found that brands that create 15 blog posts per month average 1,200 new leads per month.
  • AOL reports that 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day.

Choosing Regular, Mid-Grade, or Premium Content

Just like gasoline, content comes in different qualities which all impact the outcome of your initiative. Regular quality content is probably going to get you to your destination, but with a price. The dollars you saved on content might just gunk up your branding and message. Mid-Grade content has a better chance of getting you to your destination and is going to be a bit easier on your precious marketing initiative engine.

However, if you really want to zoom by the competition and keep your brand performing at it’s peak, premium content is necessary.

premium content

Don’t Screw It Up

“Don’t screw it up.” Seems a bit harsh right? But seriously, you must get your content right.

Too often, we focus our energy and attention towards the marketing initiatives themselves: washing, waxing, fawning over them, and protecting them from every little scratch. That’s great and all, but like we said earlier, if you’re doing all of that and forget to fill up on gas, you’re not going anywhere.

How do you prepare your content to support your marketing initiative? We have a few tips to get you started:

  • Determine what content type will support your initiatives. – The content you create will vary depending on your goals. Re-positioning your product? Take a look into videos to showcase the visual aspect of your re-position. eBooks are also a great tool when re-positioning your product. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
  • After you’ve determined type, create topics and titles. – These topics should be intertwined with each initiative and include relevant keywords, etc.
  • Nail down your Q1 editorial calendar. – After you’ve determined the content that will support your initiative, you must cement your editorial calendar for the first quarter. This is an essential step in ensuring that you’re loading up on premium fuel. Knowing when you’re promoting content will also allow you to curate 3rd party content effectively.

We’re really looking forward to the road ahead in 2015 and we hope your vehicles are filled with premium fuel. If they aren’t, we’re here to help!