Most successful marketing strategies are built around content. Period. It’s not an add-on or merely a component of a wider marketing plan — content comes first and resonates in everything we do. To put it another way: Content marketing is not anything new. It’s just something the industry has learned to, well, market better.
After initial experimentation in Cloud Foundry Foundation’s early days, we came to the conclusion that we needed to create purposeful content intended for each of the audiences we wanted to reach. This is content specifically designed for them, something they can reference, something that speaks to them and empathizes with their needs and challenges.
Consider how closely this approach follows how we build personal relationships. It’s no wonder marketers have so much success implementing this concept on a grander scale.
Once we set out to build a marketing program and identified three audiences central to our mission, we worked to create different flavors of content for each persona — from a topical focus and medium perspective. Instead of blindly targeting each audience, such as IT decision makers, operators and developers, we create content that each audience can use to great effect on a regular basis.
Our marketing strategy has coalesced around these audiences and their respective goals. For example, decision makers at enterprises gain valuable insights about the container models they should follow and what workloads should be placed in those containers. For our operator audience, we synthesize a myriad of challenges into a knowledge base that helps them plan and structure their strategy. And because developers are so heavily involved, from building the platform to using it every day, we want to help move them through the funnel from experimenting with our technology to standardizing on it. To put it another way, our content leads to adoption.
Ou company’s content marketing strategy is framed by three objectives, which can work for just about any company:
1. Building the right content for the right audience.
2. Knowing what our goals are for each of those audiences.
3. Measuring the output of those goals.
Tailoring Content For The Right Audience
We, as marketers, earn our reputations, in part, by reaching the right audiences with impactful content that inspires, provides value or helps professionals improve in their daily responsibilities. The type of content we create runs the gamut: blogs, videos, infographics, columns, news releases, presentations, white papers and research.
For us, research has been a differentiator and is especially well-received, so we have invested heavily in producing good data based on meaningful surveys and conversations with IT leaders, developers and executives. Research isn’t just for internal positioning, however. Your data-gathering efforts can become a critical content asset that you can segment and frame for each of your core audiences.
Achieving Goals For Each Unique Audience
Customized marketing for different audiences directly informs how you can frame the content you present. With the exception of the research, we’ve had to tighten things up and present more succinct content to sustain interest and expand our influence. Videos have been shortened from three minutes to two minutes, and I won’t be surprised if we limit that to 90 seconds in the next year or so.
Ultimately, the content people find most valuable is increasingly around videos, blogs and instructional media on our site. Content that helps developers accomplish a specific task with one of our technologies is of utmost importance.
Beyond creating the content you know your audience will enjoy, focus on solving specific problems. Sometimes that may require how-to content or market awareness activities, and oftentimes, you may need to showcase a success story with examples other organizations can implement.
Measuring Results Of A Multidimensional Strategy
Being thoughtful about how you build content, where you’re delivering that content and why you’re delivering it that way can paid huge dividends. Marketers should avoid content marketing activities that don’t deliver results — a return is something that people will care about.
Oftentimes, I find that marketers aren’t diligent about why their activities matter and are simply more interested in getting attention without regard for the audiences they reach or the value they create along the way. Once an organization has worked through that challenge, the choices they have to make about the content they want to develop and the mode of distribution best suited for each become clearer.
For example, we have extended the reach of the content we’re building by pursuing channels that we don’t own through our members and media partnerships — but our owned media channels are incredibly beneficial as well.
Content enables us to reach our audiences in ways that other forms of marketing simply can’t match. Content isn’t the only valuable mechanism marketers have to leap toward desired outcomes, but if your organization doesn’t have a content strategy and isn’t being thoughtful about how it’s building content and for which audiences, it will likely have a tougher road to travel.