Archives for April 2014

It's not all about you. Why content curation matters.

By Kate Lee | 04/29/2014 | 4:09 AM

Content will help you grow your business; by creating and distributing valuable and relevant content in a strategic and consistent manner you can drive profitable customer action.  But, it’s not all about you.  It’s not all about the content you and/or your business creates.  Here’s why content curation is an essential component of a successful content strategy.

The internet is a fire hose stream of content.  Being able to navigate the deluge of content and identify the content that is valuable to your customers and to your business is essential. The process of identifying and sharing this content is content curation.

By consistently being able to identify, make sense of, and share content that is important and relevant to your customers and to your industry you will establish your business as a thought-leader and a trusted resource.

A 2014 survey found that 76 percent of respondents reported that content curation positively impacted their business goals in 2013.  Ninety percent of respondents predicted that content curation would have a positive impact on their business goals in the upcoming year.

When it comes to content you don’t need to go it alone: what to consider when outsourcing content

By Kate Lee | 04/21/2014 | 9:53 PM

When it comes to content your company doesn’t need to go it alone.  Not only is it possible to outsource content, for many companies it may be the best solution.  Here is how to determine if outsourcing content is right for your company, and what your company needs to consider when looking for an outsource partner.

Is outsourcing right for you?

Outsourcing is not the panacea.  It may be the right solution for your company – or maybe not.  Here is what to consider when determining if outsourcing content is the right solution for your company:

  • What are your company’s core competencies?
  • How can your company deliver the best value to your customers? 
  • A successful content strategy needs to be deliberate and needs to have someone in charge.  Do you have in-house talent who can put together a content strategy for your company and manage the execution of the strategy?
  • Does your company have in-house talent that can consistently create good content?
  • Does your company have in-house talent that has the time to consistently create good talent?
  • Does your company have in-house talent that can distribute your company’s content?
  • Does your company have in-house talent that can track and analyze your company’s content strategy?

Be honest.  Cobbling together staff or passing content like a hot potato from one person to another is not going to be effective.  If content is not an area where your company excels, or if content could be carried out more efficiently and effectively if the service was outsourced – start looking for an outsource partner.

If you do decide that outsourcing is right for your company, know that you are not alone.  Forty-four percent of B2B marketers report that they outsource content creation. Diving down further, 72 percent of large B2B companies (1,000 employees or more) outsource content creation and 34 percent of small B2B companies (10 to 99 employees) outsource content creation.   Looking specifically at the manufacturing industry – 55 percent of manufacturing marketers report that they outsource content creation.

As shown in Figure 1 the content functions that B2B marketers outsource vary from writing to design to distribution to creating a buyer persona.  When it comes to outsourcing content functions it doesn’t need to be the kitchen sick.

 Figure 1

  Outsourcing content

What to look for in an outsource partner

When it comes to finding an outsource partner you want to find a partner that will bring value to your company and to your customers.  Whether you outsource all content functions or just one, here is what to look for in an outsource partner:

  • Experience and knowledge of your industry;
  • Willing to work with your company to help you achieve your goals;
  • Open to exploring and furthering your company’s creative ideas;
  • Able to follow instructions and execute with minimal oversight;
  • Able to create the type of content your company needs;
  • Interested in entering into a long-term relationship.

More generally,Frank Cavallaro wrote that when choosing your perfect outsource mate it is important to start by looking at the mission or value statement of your potential partner.  Are these aligned to your company’s?  If they are, move on and explore the partnership further.  If not, walk away.  “Mission and value statements speak to the core culture of the company, so if you can't find common ground here, it is unlikely you will be able to build a positive working relationship.”

11 steps to a content strategy

By Kate Lee | 04/14/2014 | 9:30 PM

A 2014 study found that 93 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing and that there is a significant difference in the effectiveness of content marketing if a strategy is in place – 60 percent of companies who have a documented content strategy in place consider their efforts to be effective as compared to 11 percent of companies with no documented content strategy in place.  Similarly, the study found that companies who put a person in charge of content marketing were more likely to be successful than those who did not (86 percent vs. 46 percent).

In short, the majority of companies do not have a content strategy in place despite the fact that companies are budgeting for and creating content and, that those who have a documented content strategy in place are more effective than companies who do not have a strategy in place.

If your company is going to be effective at using content to drive profitable customer action, your company needs to have a strategy in place.  Arjun Basu wisely said: “Without strategy, content is just stuff, and the world has enough stuff.”


Here are 11 steps to a content strategy.  Use these steps to help you create a content strategy for your company.

  1. Put someone in charge

If you want your company’s content strategy to be effective, you need to put someone in charge.  Make sure they are in charge not just in name, but also in execution.  That is, make sure the person in charge is given the authority to execute the strategy.

  1. Define your goals

Why does your company want to create content?  Do you want to shorten your sales cycle?  Increase leads?  You don’t want your content to be just stuff.  You don’t want content to be ineffective.  Therefore it is important to define what it is you want your content to do for your company.

  1. Define your audience

Who is your audience? Create a persona. Take your time.  Be honest.  If you identify and define your audience correctly you will be more likely to reach your target audience and engage them than if you get this step wrong.

  1. Define your metrics

Determine how you are going to track and measure success.  Determine the metrics that you are going to track on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

  1. Identify the right distribution channels

When it comes to content, distribution is essential – your content will not reach your target audience and will not be read unless it is distributed.  Take the time to identify the distribution channels that are right fit for your company, your content, and your goals. 

  1. Create a publishing calendar

A publishing or editorial calendar provides you with a framework to create and distribute content.  It helps you create content that is consistent, that is quality, and is tailored to your company’s goals.  It is also helpful in terms of managing workflows, meeting deadlines, and managing writer’s block.

  1. Create content

Valuable and relevant content is not a sales pitch.  It is not content that pushes your products and services.  Rather, it is content that communicates valuable information to customers and prospects so that they have the knowledge to make better informed decisions.  Moreover, it is content that establishes your business as a reliable source of knowledge – as the thought-leader within the industry.  Be thoughtful when you create content

  1. Distribute your content

Distribute your content via your target distribution channels.  Distribute the content consistently over time and at the right time.

  1. Engage with customers and prospects

Once your content has been distributed, engage with your audience.  Respond to comments, respond to questions, and provide clarification.  Make your content more than words – make it a relationship.

  1. Track and analyze your metrics

Track and analyze your metrics on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis.  Take a look at what is working and what is not.  By tracking and analyzing your metrics you can see, for example, what type of content is most effective and which distribution channels are helping you achieve your goals.

  1. Make adjustments as needed

Your strategy should not be set in stone.  Your strategy should be flexible.  Look at your metrics, look at the feedback you are getting through your engagement with customers and prospects – make adjustments to your strategy as needed.

Remember that when it comes to content it is important to think marathon not sprint.  An effective content strategy requires patience and determination.  Many companies make the mistake of giving up on a content strategy too early; make a long-term commitment to your strategy.

Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants

By Kate Lee | 04/07/2014 | 6:01 PM

Content is king.  By creating and distributing valuable and relevant content in a strategic and consistent manner you will be able to create demand for your products and services and will be able to drive profitable customer action.  That being said, while content is king, content doesn’t go far (actually it goes nowhere) without distribution.  Wise words by BuzzFeed’s Jonathan Perelman: “Content is king, but distribution is queen and she wears the pants.”


For content to be successful for your business you need to do more than create content – you need to distribute content.  Moreover, the content needs to be delivered consistently over time, at the right time, and in the right place.

For your company this means taking the time to identify the distribution channels that are the right fit for your company, your content, and your goals.  It also means taking the time to learn how to distribute content via these channels effectively.

For example:

  • LinkedIn and Twitter are good candidates for letting people know about the white paper your company just released, whereas Pinterest is probably not a good white paper distribution channel.
  • Levering your 140 characters for Twitter is key, but taking those same 140 characters to LinkedIn or Facebook will likely result in you falling flat. 
  • Distributing your content multiple times a day via Twitter is essential given the short lifespan of a Tweet; however, distributing content multiple times a day via email will not be well received.

Content will help you move the needle.  Content will drive profitable customer action.  However, your content, no matter how valuable it is, will not be seen and therefore will not be effective if you do not have a solid distribution strategy.  If you want results, remember who wears the pants.  

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Elizabeth Hines

Elizabeth Hines

Elizabeth is a content strategist with 12+ years of experience in content development, branding, marketing, and communications. As the creative/editorial director at Fronetics, she oversees all efforts related to content and creative assets, including strategy design and brand development.

She has written extensively about supply chain and logistics, and has developed content strategies across a number of verticals, including the B2B space. Prior to joining Fronetics, Elizabeth worked at Boston University, Prospectiv, and Cengage Learning.


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