By Katrina Olson
If you’ve read the September issue of tED magazine, you may have seen the Marketing 101 article, “Developing a content marketing program: Seven step-by-step instructions that every marketer should follow.”
Whether you’re an experienced content marketer or just starting, you’re probably still learning. I know I am.
For this issue, I talked with Eaton Senior Manager of Global Brand and Integrated Communications Zari Venhaus, and EECO Chief Operating Officer Jeff Knight. Venhaus started working at Eaton 13 years ago as an intern while attending college. After working in marketing for the components division, she moved into brand management. Venhaus and her team have been heavily invested in content marketing for three to five years, although she says the concept is not new.
“I think it’s a funny thing. Marketing has always been content marketing. This is a kind of a new buzzword. In my point of view, it’s about generating a point of view, creating content and sharing it through a multitude of channels. What’s different today is that there are so many new ways of sharing that content,” shares Venhaus.
Venhaus and two other marketing staff members focus on content creation, supported by an agency partner with whom they hold weekly status meetings. Together they discuss trends and determine what content to produce given their budget and resources.
With a background in strategic planning, marketing and service operations, Knight is more focused on the bigger picture—leveraging the power of IT and marketing to move operations faster through more content-driven services and capabilities.
“I want to challenge the operations team to deliver on what really matters to customers—and bring marketing, IT and operations together to help customers achieve their most important goals and provide solutions that will make an impact,” explained Knight.
Both Venhaus and Knight are content marketing experts who are leading the charge with in their companies. So, I thought you might want to read some of the insightful comments that we couldn’t fit in the print article.
Tips for Effective Content Marketing
Both Knight and Venhaus had a lot of advice for new content marketers. Here are the highlights.
- Venhaus: “Set ambitious but reachable goals. You don’t need to reach your stretch goals right away. You don’t need to be perfect. But set obtainable objectives and change them over time. After the first quarter, first half-year, or first year—look at it, report on it, optimize it, and stretch your goals.
- Knight: “What has helped me in my own quest is expanding our awareness beyond the electrical industry. I’ve tried to embrace what other brands are doing —Red Bull, Kraft, GE Digital. We bring that intel back into the organization.”
- Venhaus: “Going into a program, you have to understand what your resources and limitations are, and start prioritizing. You can’t do everything, so you have to figure out what’s most important and what leadership sees as most important.”
- Knight: “Starting a content marketing program doesn’t have to cost a lot. Put together a series of a stories or articles. We started with small things and scaled up. Once people saw how our blog articles (750 words or less) were doing, they got excited. People were searching this topic, finding our blog and ending up on website. You don’t step out of door to the top of Mt. Everest. It’s a long series to get there.”
- Venhaus: “You can do content marketing with few people and a small budget. You just have to make smart decisions about priorities and the kind of content. Maybe you do fewer infographics and more listicles, so you can tell a story without spending a lot of money or having a lot of people. You have to ask yourself, ‘What is the story and what pieces can I create within my resource constraints?'”
- Knight: “You’ll find that your backlog for other requests will build up. Get smart about using internal tools to manage those requests. For example, we outsource merchandise management by setting up an online store for tote bags, t-shirts and other items for counter day parties. Figure out how to get rid of those little tasks.”
- Venhaus: “The cool thing about our distributor partners is that they have so many manufacturers to work with. Use the content we’re creating; take it, alter it, customize it, and share it. How can you use what’s already being created and target it to your business objectives.”
If you’re not in the content marketing game, why not? Who will lead the charge? If you’re an executive, you must challenge your marketing departments to get in the game, and expect your marketing department to rise to the challenge. If you’re a marketer, you must prove to your executives, sales and other internal departments that you are more than order takers and t-shirt dispensers by developing a plan and making a business case for content marketing.
Tagged with content, marketing