Building a Winning Content Marketing Program

October 17, 2013

Most marketers have a lot to learn about content strategy, says Mike Moran, senior strategist for Converseon and author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing. “That isn't a bad thing as long as you acknowledge that and decide to get moving,” he tells BMA Buzz. Moran will point out the path forward during a full-day seminar for BMA-NJ members on October 28.

BMA Buzz: How can marketers improve content strategy?

Mike Moran: Most marketers don't have a content strategist or a content strategy, so the first step is to get one.

It is not enough to decide you will run a new campaign every couple of months. It's not enough to be constantly creating content. If you don't know the kinds of content your customers consume, and how and why they consume it, that would be the main place to start. There is no substitute for knowing your customer.

Start with a deep understanding of your best customers—the content they consume, the questions they have and the way that your product's differentiation fits with what they want to know.

The differentiation aspect is crucial. It’s useless to attract customers who don't respond to your differentiation. You're just making them smarter so they can buy from someone else.

BMA Buzz: What can marketers learn from publishers? 

Moran: Marketers need to learn to be publishers, so there is no shortage of lessons to learn from publishers. About the only thing that marketers don't need to learn from publishers is how to monetize content, which publishers aren't doing well right now, anyway.

Publishers do know how to research audiences, source content, promote content, deliver content and value content—and how to do it all again tomorrow. And all of this content must be quality fare that people want to voluntarily spend time with.

Marketers are used to paying to have ads pushed in front of noses, so they have a lot to learn from publishers on how to become attractive.

BMA Buzz: How digital channels changed the relationship of publishers and marketers?  

Moran: Digital distribution essentially removed the barriers to entry. Publishers have been subjected to a deluge of competitors who provide free content that is sometimes of the same quality that publishers have charged for—not a happy situation for a publisher.

This, in turn, has decimated the traditional ways publishers have monetized content. Some publishers have unique content that produces traditional revenue, but most content, such as wire service stories, was derivative. It hasn’t held its value.

Some smart publishers are licensing content directly to marketers for content marketing, rather than charging marketers for ads running next to that content on the publishers' sites.

BMA Buzz: What is the role of SEM/SEO in building content strategy?

Moran: Like social media, search marketing is a perfect way to promote content marketing. Search is all about fit rather than reach. You don't want the most eyeballs. You want the right eyeballs.

But search marketing is important to content strategy for another reason. It is one of the key methods you can use for market research. Finding which words people are looking for can give you major hints as to the content you want to provide.

Keyword research has always been used in search marketing to try to attract visitors to your site. But you can use it more broadly to understand what searchers care about and fuel your overall content strategy.


"Building a Winning Content Marketing Program." BMA Buzz. 10/17/13.