I met Matt Wesson at a content marketing conference. Matt eats, breathes and sleeps content marketing. In fact, his recent post focuses on why
content marketing is the best job in the world. I hope you enjoy these insights from Matt. They come directly from the content marketing trenches. You can reach Matt on Twitter: @mattbwesson.
Introduce yourself to our readers. Where do you work and what do you do?
My name is Matt Wesson. I am the Content Marketing Manager at
Salesforce.com in San Francisco.
How do you evaluate your content marketing in a qualitative manner?
For us, being able to evaluate content qualitatively is all about putting in the work to define your audience and brand up front. We do a tremendous amount of research on our audience. We've used this research to develop highly detailed personas, blog guidelines, and a concept of our brand voice.
With all these in place on the front end, it makes it very easy to determine if a piece of content is the right quality for us. You spot something that doesn't fit right away.
How do you evaluate your content marketing in a quantitative manner?
We have three primary metrics. There are obviously more, but these are our "big three." We report on:
- Traffic (engagement)
- Leads (business contribution)
- Pipeline (revenue)
Those are usually enough to paint a clear quantitative picture of our performance.
How do you incorporate visual media in your content and what tools do you use to create it?
I think we were slightly ahead of the curve in having a full-time designer on our team, but it's essential to bring design talent in-house if you are going to move fast and create a cohesive feel for your visuals. From there, you're only limited by your imagination. We've designed everything from the standard infographic/SlideShare combo to interactive quizzes and even GIF’s.
We make sure every content pillar is supported by at least a SlideShare and infographic. We are sometimes publishing six pillars a month across all our product lines, so having a designer in-house is essential. Our team uses the Adobe Creative Suite, so no special tools or tricks.
We live in a world of content shock, right? How do you make your content stand out?
No doubt. I think it's a challenge we are all facing, but the answer is going to be different for every brand because our strengths are different. When I was at a startup, standing out was all about crazy juxtapositions (e.g. using Game of Thrones to describe the rivalry between sales and marketing) and designs that were new and exciting.
At Salesforce that mentality has obviously changed a bit, and now is more focused on leveraging industry influencers and primary research to expand our audience. It's all about finding and owning your unique position in the market. Find your angle, exploit it, and you'll break through.
You can publish 5 acceptable blog posts per month or 1 epic blog post every 3 months. Which do you choose and why?
Honestly, I usually lean towards quality every time, but once every three months is just not enough to make a difference. Your audience will love you for that one piece of epic-ness, but they'll lose interest immediately if you go on a three month hiatus. Five acceptable blog posts won’t build an audience as fast as epic posts, but the consistency will keep them coming back.
Content Marketing Miscellany
What’s the one thing content marketers are doing too much of?
Right now I see a lot of content marketers creating click-bait for the sake of click-bait. Having something fun and snappy like a top 10 list or inspirational quotes is a great way to reel a new audience in and entertain them, but if you are
only creating click-bait, the value exchange in that relationship is grossly unbalanced. You won’t be able to establish things like trust or authority, which are the keys to developing a relationship with customers.
A lot of content marketers need to reel it back a bit and start using the principles of click-bait (e.g. catchy headlines, lists, images) as vehicles to deliver real value. That's where the value lies, not in the method itself.
What’s the one thing content marketers are NOT doing, but should be doing?
Sales enablement, without a doubt. Your sales team is the number one audience for your content. They use it to contact prospects, to explain complex concepts, and to build relationships. They are hands down the audience that needs and appreciates content most, and most brands ignore them.
Give us the top 5 content marketing blogs in your RSS reader (assuming you use one)?
I've totally bailed on RSS (clearing my feeds started feeling way too much like the pressure to get to inbox zero) but I still use
Content Strategist by Contently is one of the best content blogs out there. They always tackle the toughest issues and highlight the best case studies. I also love Copyblogger and Kapost for high value content marketing articles.
These are a little bit less focused on content marketing, but I'd say
Buffer Blog and Fast Company round out my top five. They aren't strictly content-focused, but are great for staying up to date on the industry and major trends.
What’s the future of content marketing?
A year ago I would have said something sexy like
interactive Snow Fall type experiences, and I think we are still heading that way. But the biggest opportunity for our industry right now rests in tracking and analytics.
How to Make Your Content Marketing Unique (Now That Everyone’s Doing It)
By Dennis Shiao
You're starting to see it pop up at Buzzfeed and through studies by Chartbeat, but the old guard of metrics (page views, visits, etc.) are falling away and nobody is really sure what will replace them. I think there is a tremendous competitive advantage to be had for the company that can find a way to accurately track content success.