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Denver marketing pros talk content strategy

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Photo courtesy of Red Door Interactive

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Red Door Interactive’s Denver office hosted the second event in their speaker series titled “Content Marketing Made Simple” yesterday at Fuel Cafe. Tasty treats weren’t the only reason to attend - the panel included four top-notch Denver marketing professionals: 

Ken Barber – Interactive Marketing columnist, Denver Business Journal
Toby Hedges – Associate Brand Manager, WhiteWave Foods
John Dockstader – Catalog Manager, Vitamin Cottage
Sandra Ahn – Data Insights and Strategy Supervisor, Red Door Interactive

Content strategy has long been a practice used in web design and usability testing, but the idea of using it as a marketing channel is still emerging. The panel tackled the key issues and challenges related to leveraging content.

Content’s place in the marketing plan
Content is a component of your marketing strategy. “Content can help in all stages of the conversion funnel”, Ken said.  “It can increase brand awareness, generate leads and engage customers in a way that builds retention.” Decide what your marketing goal is and use content as a way to reach it.
Toby incorporates content into WhiteWave’s communications strategy.  It’s included in the editorial calendar, which allows copywriters to weave brand information in with related current events while the public relations team looks for newsworthy topics that are relevant to share with consumers.

Creating a content strategy and managing the effort
Creating and managing content over the long haul is an enormous effort for any organization. Posting content in a timely manner is just as important as weeding through piles of data to find subjects relevant to your audience. Here are some tips from the experts:

  • Start with a content audit of your business. Identify what content is available and which needs to be updated.
  • Designate a point person. Put someone in charge to make sure contributors meet deadlines, manage the calendar and delegate  tasks.
  • Create a calendar with reminders. These will help your point person find sources and keep content contributors on track.
  • Identify people within your company who can contribute content. John asks Vitamin Cottage subject matter experts (including nutritionists and buyers) to share thoughts with each other about products they sell. Those internal conversations lead to article ideas.
  • Make it easy for customers to share your content and add their own. Include “chiclets” on your content pages – buttons that make it easy for consumers to share on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media channels. John says Vitamin Cottage also sends an email linked to the product page 10 days after shipment and asks for a review.
  • Lose (a little) control. The idea of letting consumers take over the conversation about their brand/products can send C level managers running for the vomitorium,  but according to Toby and Ken one negative post often causes loyal customers to speak up in defense of the brand. That can have an even stronger positive impact on potential customers. “Besides,” John added, “the conversation is going to happen with or without you.”
  • Measure success. Use analytics to track traffic to and from content pages, which content was shared, and other metrics used measure engagement. Segment your visitors and compare conversion rates of those who viewed content against a regular visitor. Chances are good the ones who saw your content will convert better.
  • Be timely and relevant. Tools like Google Alerts, Radian 6 and Facebook stats allow you to monitor mentions of your brand and designated keywords. Use them to participate in the online conversation in real time.

About Red Door Interactive’s Speaker Series:  Red Door Interactive is an Internet Presence Management firm that started their speaker series in 2008. Each event addresses an online discipline from the context of the customer.  Topics range from SEO to social media, mobile marketing, email and CRM.  You can sign up for their newsletter to learn about upcoming dates and speakers.

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