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Can Your Content Pass the “Triple Play” Test?

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by: Ellen Valentine (@EllenValentine)
31 October 2012

For those of you in baseball withdrawal following the quick ending to the 2012 World Series, we present this “Triple Play” blog post, which first appeared earlier this month via the Content Marketing Institute.

Do you find yourself suffering from an overabundance of must-read content, bursting at the seams with white papers, how-to guides, Webinars, videos and more that will meet the needs of every buyer at every stage in the purchase cycle?

Didn’t think so. As if marketers weren’t strapped enough for time, today’s empowered buyers have more channels than ever to choose from and are waiting until later in the buying cycle to interact with businesses. If and when they do cross paths with you, they expect you to be more helpful and more personal than ever — especially if you’re expecting them to share your content with their social networks.

Why Content Matters
According to a 2011 study by the Marketing Leadership Roundtable, buyers are on average 57 percent of the way through a purchase decision before they’re willing to engage a sales rep. This means that marketers must step up and act as the educator and thought leader by producing a wide variety of helpful content.

Meeting the needs of buyers who are increasingly conducting their research via search and social also means developing more content for different points in the buying cycle, more content for different channels, and more content for the extra messaging paths and dynamic content options that today’s sophisticated marketers are building into their programs to respond to their contacts’ behaviors.

One smart tactic for addressing these content needs and gaps is to think about your “content triple plays” as you’re developing new content.

Triple What?
Football has the triple option, basketball has the triple double, baseball has the triple play. Whatever your sports preference, marketers who want to bulk up their content offerings and take their games up a notch will need to find ways to get extra value from every piece of content they throw out there — hence, the content triple play.

Simply put, the “content triple play” means thinking about the pieces of content you’re creating and spinning off two other iterations, by repurposing and/or repackaging that content. To do this, you’ll need to think about your content in terms of these three considerations:

  • Format (white papers, webinars, videos)
  • Channel (email, social media, SMS)
  • Buying cycle phases (interested, educated, lapsed).

What to Consider
When deciding what types of content to create, think about the entire buying cycle. Someone who comes to your website to learn more about your industry needs different information than someone who’s comparing product features and functions for the last time before selecting a vendor partner.

  • Start by documenting your typical buyers’ journey from the time they are considering a change to when they are evaluating alternative solutions, making a decision, and becoming an advocate. Make sure you have high-quality content to offer your audience throughout the various buying cycle stages.
  • Next, figure out what channels and formats resonate most with your customers and prospects. Make this your starting point and build outward from there. It may be helpful to conduct a content audit to identify gaps, determine what materials should be updated, and help prioritize production.
  • Remember that everyone learns a bit differently. One person may love listening to a podcast or watching a video on a topic, while others may be more comfortable reading a printed PDF. Keep this in mind when you’re designing both your strategy and tactics.
  • As with any content decisions you make, don’t skimp on quality in the rush to get content out the door. Strong content enhances the chances that your content will be socially shared, which in turn widens your exposure to future search visitors. Focus on informing, entertaining, and providing value rather than pushing your latest product, service or feature.

Content Triple Play Examples
To help you start thinking about how you might repurpose your content, here are a few ways we’ve spun pieces of content across various formats and channels at Silverpop:

The “Marketing Dream Team”
The Marketing Dream Team triple play was developed to help executive sponsors of marketing automation technology (including both existing users and those seriously considering implementing a marketing automation solution) better understand the requirements for staffing and managing this new technology. By introducing new roles for the marketing department and also reaffirming existing positions, this content triple play gives a thorough introduction to organizational staffing considerations while building a business case for allocating headcount (in-house or outsourced) for running, managing and using marketing automation technology.

We developed three different levels of content using three different mediums to appeal to busy executives who are most likely at different levels of implementation (e.g. “just learning,” “planning” and “in process”). Here are the details of the play:

  • Original piece: We created a white paper that offered strategies for migrating marketing team members to new roles, building a better-trained department, and delivering a more rewarding experience for customers and prospects.
  • Secondary pieces: We then repurposed the white paper content as a webinar (“Building the Dream Team”) and an infographic, thus completing the content triple play.
  • Additional notes: The various pieces of content were also shared across social media sites, such as Twitter and Pinterest.

Email Metrics Study
We’re often asked “How do I stack up?” Some folks asking this question are elbow-deep in statistics already, while other inquirers are from executives who want to make sure they’re on par with others in their industry.

This content triple play serves to answer questions for both audiences. The blog post and Webinar are good for those just looking for some summary insight, while the benchmarking study white paper provides those looking for the most depth in the metrics with the appropriate level of insight they need to evaluate their existing program. Here are the elements of the play:

  • Original piece: Our 2012 Silverpop Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark Study provided benchmarking data on a variety of email metrics and provided observations to help improve email performance.
  • Secondary pieces: To nail the content trifecta, the study was spun off into a related blog post and Webinar.
  • Additional notes: Following publication, the study and its offspring were shared across social media pages such as Google+, and the webinar presentation was posted on SlideShare.

Let’s Play Ball
No matter how you go about it, having multiple forms of content allows you to significantly expand the reach of your brand. Search engines often serve up content — especially video — that resides outside the walls of your company website, so the more social references to your content, the wider your exposure to future search visitors. The end result? Higher consumption, more leads, and increased revenue.

So are you game? Give it a try. Before you know it, you’ll have some playoff-winning content triple plays, and you might even be your company’s MVP.

Related Resources
1) White Paper: “6 Key Marketing Trends in 2013 – and Tips for Succeeding in the Year of the Customer
2) Blog: “Right Message, Right Time: Using Customer Behaviors to Get Your Content Strategy Right
3) Blog: “3 Tips for Maximizing Content Creation, Consumption and Distribution

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