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After the recent Content Marketing World in Cleveland, it seems as if the entire content marketing community is abuzz with talk of content strategy. Although a lot of sessions were dedicated to strategy, many marketers are still scratching their heads, wondering where to start.
We hear you. Strategy is hard. It takes work, it takes time and most of all it takes dedication.
In fact, according to the recent CMI/MarketingProfs Benchmark study, of the 83% of B2B marketers that have a content strategy, only 35% have documented this strategy.
So why not look to a leading content marketer to see how they create and deploy their strategy?
That’s exactly what we did when we held a webinar with Jason Miller, the Head of Global Content at LinkedIn. We spent an hour picking his brain and tapping into his vast knowledge and experience. The result? Countless tips for you content marketers out there on how to start or refine your own strategy.
Read on for four of Jason’s best pieces of advice, then be sure to download the recording below to listen to the full webinar at your own convenience.
1. Start with a blog. A blog is the social media rug that ties the room together.
Jason Miller’s number one recommendation is to start your journey with a blog.
“Although the blog is not the sexiest piece of social media, it is the most important,” he says.
Build up a steady stream of content on your blog — and write consistently. Recent data from our business blogging survey backs up this advice. In fact, we found that 90% of leading business bloggers publish to a blog at least once a week. (Download the full report for even more tips about creating a successful business blog.)
Of course, writing consistent blog posts is no easy feat. Nearly all content marketers at one time or another have found themselves staring at a blank page. That’s why choosing the right topic area to cover on your blog is an important first step in your content marketing journey.
Choosing the right topic is like mapping your route before embarking on a road trip — it’s absolutely vital. If you don’t know what ground you are trying to cover, you certainly won’t know where to start.
To choose a topic and map your route, we suggest taking a look at three different areas: the competitive landscape, audience interest and the content landscape.
- Competitive Landscape: How much competition is there for this topic?
- Audience Interest: Is my target audience interested in this topic?
- Content Landscape: How much content already exists on this topic?
Ideally, your topic has relatively low competition from other vendors in your space and is specific to your target audience.
Once you’ve chosen a topic and you are blogging on a consistent basis, start capturing blog subscribers. Create a pop-up form or sidebar ad — they really work according to Jason (and our own experience on the Curata Blog). This is a great first step in building an initial audience.
2. Find a balance between brand awareness and lead generation.
“If you would’ve asked me five years ago, brand awareness or lead generation I would have said lead generation all day long,” Jason says. But recently, he has realized the importance of having a balance of the two for optimal results.
How can you do it? Jason suggests creating a substantial piece of content and gating it. Then slice that content into smaller, ungated assets such as blogs, webinars, etc. Use the smaller pieces to get your name out there, build brand buzz and ultimately draw readers back to your gated content.
Curata’s Content Marketing Pyramid, seen below, allows for this repurposing and atomizing of content. The smaller pieces create brand awareness, while the core piece focuses on lead generation.
For a complete 70+ guide to implementing the pyramid framework into your content strategy, download our latest eBook, The Content Marketing Pyramid.
3. Become an authority for a topic that is of interest to your target audience. If you can achieve that, it’s game over.
Jason believes that at the end of the day, the goal should be to become the trusted destination for a given topic area. If this topic is particularly important to your target audience, your website will be the first they visit when it comes time to make a purchasing a decision.
However, Jason advises against creating 100% of your own content. Not only will you likely be strapped for resources, but you will also fail to acknowledge the credible third-party sources and thought leadership content in your industry.
His solution? Supplement original content with curated content. Bring in outside voices such as analysts, news sources and industry experts. This lets you to do more with fewer resources and also takes you one step closer to the holy grail — becoming the go-to destination in your topic area.
Research indicates that the best marketers use a content mix of 65% created, 25% curated and 10% syndicated content. [source]
Take look at our Definitive Guide to Content Curation for a step-by-step process to setting up a curation program.
4. Create an owned media empire — using paid promotion.
In Jason’s words, “inbound marketing is like hanging out with the same group of high school kids your entire life.” Although it is a great starting point, he suggests implementing a paid media strategy to expand your reach. If content gets traction in the organic space, put some paid promotion behind it.
Options for paid media include paid advertising on social, paid search and content syndication. Check out our ultimate list of content promotion tools to assess your options. This paid strategy will place your content in front of new audiences, help grow your following and direct more people back to your owned property.
Ultimately, paid promotion should be used to create an owned media empire, says Jason. He has worked on this at LinkedIn building up the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog, specifically the “sophisticated marketer” brand, with eBooks, podcasts, blog posts and more.
Jason also mentioned that the idea of an owned media empire is nothing new — Betty Crocker created an owned media empire back in the 1920s and 30s. To differentiate themselves from other sellers of flour, the team at Betty Crocker created the first-ever cooking show that ran on local radio stations.
This was followed up by a cookbook in 1950, and many more marketing initiatives in the decades to come. The brand’s current success speaks volumes for this strategy.
Get Started on Your Own Strategy
These are just a few of the methods that have worked for Jason in his time at both LinkedIn and Marketo. They have also been proven successful for our own content marketing efforts here at Curata and for the many clients who use our solutions.
Interested in more secrets to Jason Miller’s success? Download the webinar now and listen at your convenience.