Generating a Return on Content Investment

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While it is important for analysts to use content marketing in promoting their business, content tiering is an important practice to employ in order to generate high ROC (return on content) and properly maximize time resources (scarcity).

What do I mean by tiering?

Classifying the content offerings into categories and assigning appropriate access to the materials and crafting them in a way that fits your objectives. Some elements will be intended for widespread distribution while others are what you want to reserve for clients be that as part of your service package or as incentives to close sales. You also want your content to support your marketing objectives through building awareness, messaging and creating quality sales leads.

Level One-> News Releases and product data
These are supposed to be widely distributed and created with promotion and attraction in mind. For news releases ideally there are no confrontational statements offered but rather enticement for people to look further. Yes, there is belief in some circles that shock releases garner attention and make a firm stand out but if you are trying to generate revenue then it is short sighted to damage your revenue prospects by being needlessly inflammatory or negative. There are ways to discuss interesting opportunities and/or market challenges without discouraging buyers.

Your brochures should give the customer enough to support their interest. Description, toc, list of figures, a few messaging points and related items. Order forms need to be included since not everyone wants to or can order online. Don’t jam the document or create distractions. Your website is largely where they will evaluate and engage but sometimes people still need to pull a document.

These items are open access. Your releases should be easy to see and easy to share and your brochures and data sheets easy to download. Don’t ask people to register for these.

Level Two-> Articles, slides and presentations
I look at these as more advertorial in nature with the objective to promote the firm and/or a particular report. The content should provide value, insights, some level of opinion that form the basis of messaging points and allow the readers room to be impressed and interested in the offerings. It should be easy to access and something you want to see widely distributed. These are open access and shareable.
A note on slides. Not all slides are created equal and you must consider where you place them on the scale. Marketing slides that message the firm or a report or present talking points are items you hand out. Numbers, analysis and the like should be available through registration.

Level Three-> News analysis and webinars
This stage requires giving away a higher value content item but this time behind a registration wall. Here is where you are offering more direct and critical commentaries and sharing numbers and other analysis. If the news, articles and other lower content levels are well written and presented then you can offer people more involved reader relationship. This is where leads and engagement opportunities begin to emerge. I recommend a minimal level of registration though so outside of the basic name, company, email and title I wouldn’t ask for more.
An aside on private email accounts, when someone elects to use a Gmail/Yahoo account they are showing you that they are not in a job, they are self-employed, not interested in the relationship beyond a casual level or another factor that makes them far less likely to be a customer. They may emerge at some point but nothing to get excited about. Don’t automatically disqualify though.

Level Four-> Report Content, Research Notes and Analyst Access
The samples of actual product and where you want to steer people towards. If people are asking for this then while you cannot ensure that they are sincere in considering a purchase you are at least in a position to extract all types of information from them in return for premium access. You are also under no obligation to accept anything less than qualified prospects at this level so feel free to require corporate email accounts, employment at somewhere and perhaps budget authority. Qualifying them for purchase timeline as well. Treat the person looking to access this level of content as someone you expect to buy.

People don’t like to have to register on websites to read your basic product specs or market messaging items. However, the higher up the value stack the reader wants to move means you have to ask for more in return. Be clear and consistent with your offerings and lead scoring and be judicious in how you manage your communications with your lists and you will derive the greatest return possible on your content.

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