by Shahnaz Mahmud.
The Internet’s upheaval of the advertising and marketing landscape makes it seem perpetually in an evolutionary phase. But Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures, takes it a step further and says the industry is actually taking part in a revolution. Why? According to Kuenn: Content marketing.
Content marketing will be featured at the upcoming LeadsCon Las Vegas Conference in mid-March at a pre-conference workshop, “Content Marketing — The 8 Step Formula.” Historically, marketing was recognized as brands pushing their message onto the consumer. And if the message was powerful, you were incentivized to take action.
“Today, we go online to conduct our research before ever contacting the salesperson, company [or whatever else that entails],” says Kuenn. “In fact, data shows that we are now about 70-80 percent through our research process before we ever speak to a real person.”
Kuenn points out that it matters not what the consumer is buying because the Internet has facilitated the means for due diligence, including reading reviews, gathering specific product information and pricing. “It is critical for companies of all sizes, B2B or B2C, to truly understand this, create the content those people are seeking out and provide an easy path to engaging with you,” Kuenn underscores. “That is why content is so critical to not only digital marketing but traditionally marketing as well.”
So, what are some best practices? Kuenn emphasizes implementing a good strategic plan as the main priority. Companies that have a written strategy — no matter how short or how comprehensive — will succeed more often than those companies that do not, he says. “It’s like deciding to travel to another country without a plan. Who would do that?” says Kuenn.
Also important is simply to focus on “being practical.” While attaining viral status is a desire, marketers should be realistic in their goals. You shouldn’t constantly update content because the word on the street is to blog three times a week.
“Do some research to find out what your prospects and clients are searching for online as they head down their research path before buying your product or service,” advises Kuenn. “Create content that thoroughly educates them along that journey. Do that consistently, and you will ultimately reap the rewards.”
Kuenn devised an 8-step formula designed to set you on course for success:
- Strategy Development
- Content Creation
- Lead Nurture
Kuenn says its creation sprang from writing his first book on content marketing, “Accelerate!” “Writing that book in 2010, forced me and our staff to put together a process that could be clearly articulated in written form,” he says.
Learning from working with numerous clients over the next few years, Kuenn and his team updated the 8 Steps in 2014, “and have pretty much stuck with the current process since then. The details behind each step keep getting updated, but the overall process is the same,” he says.
When asked to pick two favorites, Kuenn points to Step 2 (Ideation) as his bar-none top choice. “I believe it is the key to success that is holding back so many organizations from succeeding,” he says. His second favorite is Step 4 (Optimization), mainly because search engine optimization is how he found his way into the industry many years ago.
Generating Leads Remains a Challenge
Speaking of industry challenges, Kuenn says it’s still generating leads to begin. “Every day we see companies large and small, who are dependent on leads for their livelihood, who still do not have a proper strategy and process in place to create that lead flow,” says Kuenn. The issue, he stresses, almost always boils down to the strategy. “I know there are many who feel it might be lead scoring or having content for the entire sales funnel, but I am in front of thousands of companies every year, and the majority are still stuck to the basics. They still do not understand how to capture the lead to begin with.”
At LeadsCon Las Vegas, Kuenn’s hope for the workshop is that attendees will leave “excited and enthused” about changes to the way they conduct content marketing. “There will be those that never change, and there will be those that leave that room ready and willing to make a huge difference for their company,” says Kuenn. “It can happen for everyone who attends, but it will only happen for those that execute the plan over the coming weeks and months ahead.”
Click here to register for LeadsCon Las Vegas 2016.