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Content Marketing: You must overcome The Jackson 5 Effect to find subject matter experts

May 19th, 2017
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Subject matter experts (SMEs) are crucial to content marketing success, especially in B2B. Whether accountants advising about amortization or IT managers contemplating the cloud, vital information that will help your audience — and thus help you create great content — lies trapped in your SMEs’ craniums.

It’s your job to tap into those big brains and free the content.

There are many well-noted challenges to working with SMEs that you’re probably well familiar with. They’re busy. They don’t know how to create content. They don’t create good content.

However, today on the MarketingSherpa blog, I wanted to bring up another point I don’t see discussed as much — you’re overlooking a plethora of untapped SMEs.

Sure, your CEO is a SME. The head of Sales. You likely have someone in an evangelist role of some sort who is also a SME. But what about the customer service rep? The middle manager? Credentialing specialist? Purchasing associate? Transportation coordinator? Senior systems manager?

They (and many inglorious but essential functionaries in your organization) are all victims of what I like to call: The Jackson 5 Effect.

We value least what we interact with most

Before Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, he was a kid in a family band — The Jackson 5.

Jackson_5_tv_special_1972

Source: Wikipedia

Eventually, Michael would go on to become one of the most famous and successful singers the world over. So successful that he had his own theme park and monkey. But while he was in The Jackson 5, did Tito and Jermaine really appreciate Michael’s skills, ability and knowledge? Or, did they just look at him as their annoying little brother?

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Content Marketing 101: How to write compelling content in five tips

February 16th, 2017
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Picture your ideal customer deciding where to spend his or her time and energy. They want something good for even a small time investment. Your headline, emphasizing value, gets their attention. They invest a click and continue reading.

That is the ideal scenario. But once your customer has clicked through to your full content, that’s when the real battle begins. How do you make it so impactful that not only do they read the whole thing, but they actually stay on your page and continue through the funnel?

Tip #1. Never bury the lead

We all know abstractly that people are busy, with a lot of other content competing for their attention. But when it comes time for pen to hit paper (or fingers to tap keys), many marketers don’t know where to begin.

There’s no need to be mysterious — tell them why they’re here and why they should stay. For example:

Why you’re here: You’re trying to find some marketing content motivation and/or tips.

Why you should stay: I have four additional tips coming (and boy are they good!), honed from years of writing over 2,000 pieces of (mostly) successful content for MarketingSherpa.

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Trust Your Customers to Raise Their Hands: How to use non-gated content to more than double high-quality leads

January 20th, 2017
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Challenged to measure ROI on every program and hit a certain number of leads per month, some marketers make potential customers fill out forms to get access to gated content.

Instead of forcing form fills, Chris Keller, Vice President of Marketing, Health Catalyst, and his team set their content free in order to increase shareability and lead quality while more than doubling leads during a three-quarter period.

“We’re trying to be the non-marketing marketing group,” Chris said. “We’ve taken a controversial approach to educating the market.”

For Health Catalyst, a healthcare analytics company, aggressively educating customers was a key aspect of its strategy to deliver a high-growth pipeline of leads. However, in a crowded healthcare IT market, Health Catalyst wanted to establish leadership, not generate cold leads.

This led the team to take a different approach: as few lead forms as possible. Because they wanted a pipeline of sale-ready leads, they put their trust in prospects to raise their hands when they were ready.

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Marketing Basics: Don’t overlook these 5 digital marketing tenets

May 17th, 2016
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There are so many impressive things you can do with your website these days. Augmented realty. Rich animations. Micro-interactions. Interactive infographics.

But I like to think of it like this …

When the quarterback throws a 90-yard touchdown pass, the camera cuts to the wide receiver doing a celebratory dance, and then to the quarterback pumping his fist. What they’re not showing you is the right guard who picked up the blitz to allow the quarterback the time to heave up that bomb.

Your website, content, and digital marketing is often presented the same way. Advanced, flashy user interfaces are great. But looking in our own analytics, I was reminded there are probably a few unheralded, down-to-Earth, un-buzzworthy basics that should still power your online marketing.

 

Basic content

“Basic” has become slang for “limited,” “rudimentary” or any number of other negative connotations. To quote Kara Brown on Jezebel, “Being basic just means that you aren’t that dope.”

And you probably feel that way about the content on your site as well. You are steeped in the latest, most advanced things going on in your industry. You focus on the breaking news. You spend your waking hours thinking about the coolest features of your products, and most advanced capabilities of your services.

But is that what your customer is looking for?

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Content Marketing: How to help subject matter experts come up with blog topics

April 19th, 2016
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Let’s say you’re an intrepid marketer at a company. You’ve read about the power of inbound marketing, have started your company’s blog, and … now what? How do you get these subject matter experts (SMEs) to blog? And what should they blog about?

Or perhaps you have an established content marketing blog — you’ve been going for years. But your SMEs are running out of ideas for blog topics. What should you do?

Keep reading (and then send your SMEs this blog post).

 

The analogy

Photo: Cirofono

Photo: Cirofono

Now that we’ve established the problem, let’s look to an analogy laced with a pop reference to help give you an approach to solve it.

When George and Jerry are pitching the idea of the “show about nothing” to NBC executives on “Seinfeld,” George asks …

George: What did you do today?
NBC Exec: I got up and came to work.
George: There’s a show! That’s a show.
NBC Exec: How is that a show?


The Seinfeld Method

If your SMEs don’t think they have anything helpful to blog about for your audience, ask them, “What did you do today?”

Their day-to-day role likely spurs many topics that would benefit your ideal customer but are hidden in the four walls of your company. In fact, are you read this blog post, your SMEs are probably:

Almost everything done in their job is content.

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