Tips for elevating your content marketing

Is your call to action lost on your website? Do you win execs over with pilot programs? And what can we learn from those potty-obsessed Charmin bears?

Editor’s note: This story is taken from Ragan’s new distance-learning portal RaganTraining.com. The site contains more than 200 hours of case studies, video presentations, and interactive courses. For membership information, please click here.

Bears, one gathers, think endlessly about toilet functions—or so it seems from those Charmin bathroom tissue commercials.

Bears and humans apparently share a distaste for sitting on toilet seats that have been used by folks with the potty etiquette of preschoolers.

So, Charmin launched its SitOrSquat social application to help people lead each other to clean restrooms.

The app is highlighted in the RaganTraining video “A to Z: 26 things you must know about content marketing.” It is one of a Santa’s gift bag full of tactics, examples, and ideas delivered by Forsythe Technology’s Senior Communications Manager Matthew Royse.

[RELATED: Ragan’s new distance-learning site houses the most comprehensive video training library for corporate communicators.]

Royse knows the field. He contributes to the Content Marketing Institute blog and Ragan’s PR Daily, and he serves as managing editor for Forsythe’s FOCUS magazine.

Here are a few tips culled from his talk, like alphabet blocks grabbed from a toy chest:

U is for Useful.

Charmin’s SitOrSquat app is popular not because it boasts about the softness of its toilet paper—something the company has been letting us know about for decades. It thought more broadly about content people wanted.

Charmin asked itself, “‘How can I be useful to our customers,’ right? And who doesn’t want a clean bathroom if they have to go on the go?” Royse says.

The app, which uses GPS technology, allows people to rate the bathrooms they use. Think about usefulness with everything you do, from articles to video.

A is for Action.

All marketers understand the call to action, but how well do you provide one?

Be clear, and avoid unfocused calls, Royse says. Explain just what is in it for the customer. Don’t lose your message in a page of links.

As a what-not-to-do example, consider the website of Michael Bublé, which has a “Join the mailing list” option, Royse says. But what do you get if you join the mailing list? Coupons for tickets? A raffle ticket for a chance to smooch the blotchy guy from the Super Bowl ad?

“Guide them in a journey to tell them what they’re trying to do,” Royse says.

On the upside, the Content Marketing Institute clearly states the benefits in a webpage offering a free e-book of 100 Content Marketing Examples, plus daily emails with news.

I is for Integrated.

Are you finding ways to share content both externally and internally?

“If you have an article, is there a ‘related content’ section?” Royse says. “‘Hey, I want to watch a video. Hey, I want to download a white paper.’ … It’s all integrated on that specific topic.”

You can augment the process through structures like an editorial board, a center for excellence, a steering committee, or even just someone devoted to leading the content strategy.

L is for Landscape.

Survey the landscape of your site for the kind of content you provide. The split should be 60 percent content curation (as in linking through blog posts) and 40 percent content creation.

As at a networking event, Royse says: “You just don’t want to go there and start talking about yourself. You want to talk about the other people.”

N is for Newsroom.

Take a lesson from the folks with the PRESS cards stuck in their fedoras. Organize your content creation the way people in a newsroom would, Royse says.

Given that many marketers and communications folks started out in the media, this should be seen as a natural progression. Social media works the same way. At Forsythe, Royse is in charge of LinkedIn and Twitter, with others overseeing different platforms.

P is for Pilot.

Having trouble getting senior execs to sign on to your big idea? Tell them you want to do a pilot for six months. It’s less threatening to the bigwigs, and it gives you a chance to prove the value of what you’re doing.

Royse suggests explaining, “We’ll test it, we’ll go out in our organization, and we’ll get feedback-and then we’ll report back after six months.”

Q is for Questions.

What are the questions the customers are asking? If you don’t know, ask your sales team. Then answer them.

“Guaranteed, you’re not going to be short for ideas to generate content,” Royse says.

@r_working

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