Heather Lloyd-Martin, president of SuccessWorks, led a webinar recently on content marketing strategy called “Building a Content Roadmap: How to Write 10X Better Content and Still Stay Sane.”
The event was hosted by the content performance platform rellify and its General Manager of the Americas, Dan Boberg.
Following the event, Lloyd-Martin held a Q&A session and discussed topics such as choose-your-own-adventure content, great content teams, the right way to outsource content writing, gated content and the way to describe company benefits.
This transcript was edited from the original video.
Adventurous top-of-funnel content
Chris Henrotin: Being an ‘80s kid, I have been describing top-of-funnel content as a choose-your-own-adventure book. We get taken to high-level content, and then we get to pick our content journey, whether that be deeper free content or downloading a white paper, or something more transactional, like setting up a demo or setting up a sales call.
What are your thoughts in terms of going from educational informational content to more transactional content in that user journey?
Heather Lloyd-Martin: It’s a choose-your-own-adventure journey, because if you want to know more about that “how-to question,” then you have a link that goes into that kind of page.
But wait, there is also a download where you can learn more about that. And so you have that option.
And of course there is the full-on call to action: ‘Hey, if you want a demo, contact us.”
It’s also something that can be done on one page. It just needs to be done well and very, very, very soft-sell.
Where companies will get into trouble is that they will start to hammer people: “At our company, we do this. When we look at this, this is how we think.” And that is not the purpose of an informational page that is defining a top-of-funnel type of term.
So be very careful about making sure that that page is informational. It can have a little bit of soft-sell sales, but keep it at the end, keep it really mellow and make it not absolutely 100 percent neutral, but know that you’re there to provide that information.
Start gently, then build
But if you are doing that kind of choose-your-own-adventure on your site, the cool thing is that you can start building out those more specific pages, like what are the differences between X and Y? How would you use this?
Because those are the types of things that people are going to ask about your product or service.
And ideally they go down this kind of rabbit hole, as we all do with content sometimes, where we learn one thing and we keep clicking links to learn more. And so by having that kind of just-in-time content that addresses those needs, when that person is ready to convert they’ll feel more comfortable taking that next step, because they already feel like they know your company. They already feel like they know a lot about how you work.
Now, they just want to get more of an interaction, one on one, to see how you can specifically help them. So great question. I love that.
What makes a great content team?
Dan Boberg, rellify’s General Manager of the Americas: I have one question for you real quick as well. So what are the characteristics of a great content team – either within the company or working with an agency, with an outside team like rellify that is helping you with content. What parts do you think need to be in the team internally in the company versus what you outsource?
Heather Lloyd-Martin: Within the company, you want those core competencies, a lot of things I talked about regarding putting success in your way. So, you have the personas, you have the training, you’ve got all of the information so people can write the content. And getting everyone in the room on those with those types of content plays is a big deal.
The sweet spot is training. Often I will train companies that have good copy writers who have been resistant to SEO. They didn’t want to learn it, don’t want to know, and ignore every attempt to try to integrate key phrasing into their copy because in their head it’s going to make the copy sound weird or stilted or funny.
So having everyone get on the same page, everyone knowing that they’re doing this for the common good – that is one of the big things that will tell whether a content team will even fly or not.
A success story
I trained a company in the travel space a couple of years ago. They didn’t quite clean content house, but they changed some rules and did a lot of things to make the online content first.
They made sure that all teams, all departments were following a particular process to make sure their content was written in a very particular way that fit that brand voice and that everyone was on board to create it.
And that company was able to increase visits even during the pandemic.
It was thrilling because of how well they did that. At the same time, those folks used freelancers. They also used external sources.
Outsource content writing
If you’re working with a freelance company, an agency, someone to create the content, you want them to have a good idea of what’s going on with SEO writing, what fits your writing goals, what is considered quality content.
And I’ve worked with agencies that didn’t know some of this stuff. So you want to start asking those hard questions, like: “Can I see an example of the content that you’ve written to make sure that that content is actually something that’s quality and it’s going to match my brand voice?”
When you bring in a freelancer or an agency or team, they are an important part of your company and you want to make sure that everything you do works with them and is dovetailed rather than a company creating crap content for you over here while your team is really trying to create standout content internally.
You can have the best of both worlds, it’s just being very picky about who you work with, what you do, and making sure everyone is on that same page.
Where is gated content heading?
Chris Henrotin: Heather, we have a couple questions in the queue.
Question number one: Do you think B2B is trending toward or away from purely gated content? And then question number two is: Can you elaborate more on company benefits?
Heather Lloyd-Martin: Sure. Oh, I love No. 1, anonymous attendee. Thank you for asking it.
I would like to see things trending away from it. This is a conversation that I have with companies a lot. I get why some companies want to have a particular amount of gated content. They want to have an opportunity for people to type in their email address and get something. At the same time, that gated content isn’t doing anything for you from an SEO standpoint. That’s something to keep in mind. If you choose to have gated content, like a special report, that’s cool.
Think about what you can do to promote that gated content that still provides value where people would want to click that link and download it.
Some companies will create a blog series that promotes gated content. They might drip out a few statistics along the way to get people excited about it and want to learn more. And then they’re forced to download.
How to set yourself apart from competitors
Now, in terms of company benefits, that is different from specific product or service benefits.
Some companies have built-in benefits of why someone would want to work with them, whether they are real or imagined. IBM is kind of known as this big trustworthy company. And so, whether people agree with that or not, that can be a built-in company benefit.
Working with certain companies that have been around for a while, or others that are more nimble, that can be a company benefit.
If you look at QuickBooks versus Xero, both of them offer the same type of online bookkeeping services. But Xero has a very different take in that they want to be: the nimble, small-business- friendly, easy-to-use company as opposed to QuickBooks. That has been a little bit challenging. So when you’re thinking about your company benefits, think of ways that you can differentiate yourself from competitors. In other words, what would you say if people ask what’s the difference?
You could say: “We do this, we don’t do that.” And they say: “Oh, got it. Now I understand what it is that you guys stand for.”
To find out more
For a transcript of the webinar with Heather Lloyd-Martin and to find out more about acquiring content that naturally ranks high in Google searches, click here.