No matter if you’re an enterprise the size of FedEx or a small business that just got off the ground running last month, connecting with your customer and meeting their needs is a similar goal. Companies connect with customers through all types of channels — email, TV, direct mail, social media, etc. — and in leveraging all of or a few of these, one key component is having effective content. So what does that mean?
“Producing engaging content is the top priority for 60% of content marketers.” — Cleriti
Most effective inbound and content tactics in 2016 via Cleriti
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. In short, instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent.
So far this makes sense, but you might wonder, how do you execute? Where does the rubber meet the road? To help you answer those questions and more, I’m delighted to share five elements of content marketing execution that we developed at FedEx.
We defined our vision and mission; our bottom line was to create deeper levels of engagement when generating content, while improving the velocity of content creation and the connection across channels:
To build an enterprise-wide, best in class “Content Marketing” practice that enables FedEx to proactively engage audiences in a relevant dialogue throughout key stages of their lifecycle to drive profitable revenue growth.
Execute and continue to iterate an intelligent content strategy that provides streamlined and efficient curation and governance of content through analysis and research to attract new customers and deepen existing relationships.
For internal socialization, we simplified with a team mantra. Our content marketing approach would SAVE TIME for internal stakeholders creating content, SAVE MONEY by optimizing, amplifying and re-using content, and INCREASE CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT with the time and money saved. In order to save time, we streamlined the content request and planning process through software. This software gives us the visibility of our roadmap, audiences, and content needs and ability to proactively identify overlaps, with the flexibility to properly manage.
By creating a process and platform by which content creators can find collaborative opportunities, we are saving our organization both money and time. As any smart marketer knows, content can live indefinitely, so we encourage our content leads to first look for existing content that can be adapted, updated, or repurposed before creating new content. Our process allows for content leads to spend more time planning in order to gather requirements of new content that can meet the needs of multiple outlets and channels. By putting the customer first, learning their language and where they are looking for information, we are tailoring our content to meet their specific needs. The process and platform help save us time and money, but we supplement that by knowing our audience and tailoring content to meet their needs, language, and behavior.
FedEx shared this with team members for a concise overview of their content strategy.
Leveraging technology is a powerful piece of our impending collective solution, combined with the right people and strongly governed processes to enable content creators to work at maximum efficiency and velocity. Leveraging chosen CRM and CMS platforms will give teams across the FedEx enterprise the ability to break down silos and share customer and market insights. Effective content can only hit the mark with an audience when it’s well-informed. Keeping all of our content in a shared asset library will not only give all content creators the ability to research and re-use content relevant to their audience, but also to identify content gaps. Content creators will be able to build better targeted and more effective campaigns by crafting deeper and more meaningful messaging to our customers. Connecting our technology suites will deliver a robust value chain from content inception to creation to execution, resulting in minimizing costs, reducing waste from redundant content, and delivering quicker speed to market.
To test and continue to refine our strategy, we took owned channels in our U.S. monthly e-newsletter branded “FedEx Updates” and our website the Small Business Center, and used them as proof of concepts (POCs) for enabling our content marketing approach. We take learning and insight, and replicate successes in other channels, while also leveraging channel best practices to improve our approach in connecting with customers.
We created an aligned measurement methodology that would enable us to measure the effectiveness of all our “go to market” tactics in support of the overall strategy and content marketing approach. The methodology includes both digital and offline components. The digital components include engagement metrics such as landing page visits by channel, email engagement, and paid search click-through rate, while the offline component includes revenue analysis by targeted segments. In addition, we have trained our content leads on basic analytics tool features so they can be empowered to measure their own program effectiveness and provide insightful feedback to management about their respective programs.
Like many other businesses, big or small, we understand that content marketing is not an overnight process. While we should never get comfortable with made progress, we do celebrate small wins – and you should too. Remember to define your vision, establish your mission, and map out your next steps. Be persistent, be patient, and never lose passion in serving your customer.
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