Content, Content – We need content!

I hear you!  So much of this new way of marketing is reliant on content.  It is “Content Marketing” after all.   In my previous blog post “Marketing transformation:  Where do I start, oh where do I start?”, I spoke about the need to find your start point.  Today I would like to talk about content, because you are bound to come across this need at some point in your journey.

Why do you need content? 

Customers have changed the way that they educate themselves.  By the time they actually call you, or walk into your business, they have already done 84% of their research online, in forums or by getting advice from friends and associates.  Your best sales pitch needs to be on your website to capture customers’ attention when they are looking to make an informed decision.

What content?

Customers no longer want to hear vendor produced, product brochures which they can get from twenty different websites – word for word.  They want to have information that will inform them on how products and specifically your product can solve their business problems.  They are visiting your website to educate themselves and to learn about your unique perspective on their problem.  If they wanted a product brochure, they would have visited the product website.

How much content?

That is the $64,000 question.  At Microsoft we started off thinking that we needed to solve for every question ever asked.  It became clear very quickly that this is not a viable strategy.  The more content on your site, the harder it will be to maintain and optimise your site.  Be strategic.  Understand your value proposition and create content that support your unique value proposition.  You don’t need or want to be all things to all customers.  Showcase the best of you to the right customers.

Content journeys

You want to take your customers on a journey.  If a customer lands on your site reading an article that differentiate you as a specialist in a specific vertical, think through what the next piece of content is that you need him to read or watch.  Maybe a case study featuring a customer in that vertical.  Followed by a white paper and then a webcast presented by someone on your team.  Make sure that you link the pieces of content together by recommending it on the side bar or even within the copy of the content.  We consider a good content journey to have at least five components – Each taking the customer deeper into the decision making funnel.  And then of course, make sure that that you have a clear call to action on all content pages:  Trial Now; or Buy now; Request a Demo.

Content Fracking

No, this is not a new swear word that you use when you can find content!  Content is everywhere around us – It just needs to be uncovered.  Content fracking is what we call the mining and uncovering of existing content within an organisation.  Content is created every single day – often it is not in the right format and might need to be written in slightly different language, shortened or updated, but rarely is it necessary to create content from scratch.  Think about the moments that your team is creating content for proposals, responding to customer requests or even just brainstorming.  Can you capture that rich content and put it into a format that will give customers a deep and personal insight into the essence of your business?

Keep it fresh

Don’t allow your content to appear stale.   If articles reference old product versions, update them.  The decision to leave your website and jump to the next search result, takes less than a second.  Review the website once and month to make sure everything is still relevant and current.

Measure, review and cull

Make sure that your web properties are measureable and that you are able to review the traffic by content every month.  If content is not performing, it is important to decide if you need to change the content, the way it is displayed, the navigation, the demand generation or if you need to replace it with something that will perform better.  No point in having content on your site that doesn’t attract visitors or drive conversions. 

Vanity vs sanity

At Microsoft, we are two years down the digital marketing journey and we have experienced firsthand that our biggest success comes from doing the basics well.  Every day, every week, every month.  It is not about the big content executions, but rather about addressing the right pain points, with the right message, backing it with social and media investment, measure, report and optimise.

No vanity – Only great execution, attention to detail and sanity.



Have you enjoyed this blog? Don't miss my older posts all related to Microsoft's Marketing Transformation:  No silver bullet for Marketing and  Marketing transformation: Where do I start, oh where do I start?




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