Kasey Steinbrinck works on content marketing strategy for Mailjet, Mailgun, and Email on Acid, three of the world's most reliable email solutions. He was introduced to me by a teammate and love the creative perspective he shares when thinking about quality over quantity in content marketing. You can follow Kasey on LinkedIn to learn more from him.
Running the Disney playbook with your B2B content marketing strategy
Kasey Steinbrinck, Sr. Content Marketing Manager
Here’s my advice to content marketers who want to focus on quality content while meeting expectations for leads and traffic: Do it “Hollywood style.”
Back in my agency days, we had a client in the IT services space who was obsessed with hitting quarterly numbers for the acquisition of marketing qualified leads (MQLs). He had an equation telling him how much site traffic he needed to generate to acquire a certain number of leads.
Of course, there were a couple of major problems with that approach:
- The number was astronomical. Getting that much traffic would require a huge budget.
- Lead quality was already poor. The sales team wasn’t worried about getting more leads from marketing. They just wanted some decent sales qualified leads (SQLs).
Our client resorted to enticing IT professionals with Apple watches and Starbucks gift cards in exchange for email addresses. The audience was way too savvy for that game, and he ended up with tons of invalid burner emails from IT pros who wanted the freebie but not the sales calls.
Situations like that make a modern day content marketer die inside just a little bit. Thankfully, a solid strategy based on quality content really does produce measurable results.
Content strategy: Newspapers vs. The Movies
The key is to start with something big and valuable. Then, milk that content project for all its worth. I once tried explaining it as a mommy unicorn who gives birth to a bunch of baby unicorns. But I like the way LinkedIn describes it better … Blockbuster B2B marketing.
Traditionally, B2B marketers employed a content strategy that mimicked newspapers: Publish lots of individual articles on the company blog (and stuff them with keywords for SEO). The problem is, a newspaper-like publishing cadence is tough to maintain. Plus, prospects rarely convert after reading a blog post.
This method simply isn’t sustainable, which we should have known. Why copy the newspaper model when so many are permanently closing their doors? That’s the ineffective old school way, not the forward-thinking modern day marketer way.
But what if B2B content marketers followed Disney’s playbook?
Disney owns all these different media franchises: Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar to name just a few. Every year, they produce a handful of movies for these franchises. However, they also produce a lot of other things based on those blockbuster films. From movie trailers, Happy Meal toys, and action figures to theme park rides, TV spinoffs, podcasts, and more. The blockbusters spawn a menagerie of additional content (and revenue).
How it works
When we apply Disney’s strategy to B2B content marketing, the idea of blockbuster films becomes your premium pieces of lead-generating content. You’ll use those big projects to generate smaller content pieces, which in turn drive interest in your lead-generating efforts.
Let’s use a piece of original research as an example of how this works:
- Commission or conduct a survey with results that interest your target audience.
- Turn that survey into a well-designed, in-depth ebook (your blockbuster).
- Break up survey results and insights into additional content:
- Create a “teaser trailer” video for the ebook.
- Write blog posts that dive deeper into specific results and rank for related search queries.
- Design infographics and interactive content that illustrate data.
- Host a webinar or record a podcast episode(s) about the survey.
- Hold an Ask Me Anything (AMA) with subject matter experts who contributed to the report.
- Use snippets from the survey to create shareable social media content.
I’m sure you can think of plenty of other possibilities. This strategy presents a dream opportunity to explore all sorts of new mediums. Besides surveys and research, trends pieces, original thought leadership, in-person/virtual events, and informational courses are further examples of blockbuster B2B content.
If you have a hit on your hands, you can turn those premium content pieces into annual projects that your audience anticipates -- almost like Star Wars fans geek out over the next installment from a galaxy far, far away.
Using premium content to fuel your inbound marketing strategy is far more efficient than continually trying to come up with new ideas for the company blog.
Amplification and distribution
Hollywood studios do more than create content, they’re also experts at promoting what they make. That’s why you see movie stars showing up on talk shows, at ComicCon, and conducting endless press interviews.
Modern day marketers need to know how to amplify their most important and impactful content. We can use email marketing, social media, co-marketing partnerships, and influencers to spread the word and generate a little B2B buzz.
Let’s take email marketing as an example. Your existing audience of subscribers already knows and loves what you do. They can be the spark that gets content amplification going.
Use an engaging email newsletter to tell subscribers about premium content. Since you’ve already got their email addresses and their business, you could even give customers “exclusive access.” Instead of forcing them to fill out another form, treat them like the VIPs they are and let them behind that velvet rope.
When you act generously like this, you’re more likely to get something back in return. Email subscribers will actually do the social sharing and the link building for you!
Email is also an important tool to use with new prospects. Once you know what topics interest an MQL, you have a much better idea of how to segment email contacts and how to nurture them along a customer journey. The more they interact with targeted, personalized email content, the more you know about their pain points and aspirations. And that’s info the sales team can work with as they close deals.
Ultimately, lead quality is one of the marketing metrics that matters the most. Attracting and converting the right people is much more important than hitting numbers for traffic or form fills. Without the right audience behind those numbers, it’s all vanity … like breaking box office records simply because the price of a movie ticket costs more.