The 5 Principles of Compelling Content from Eloqua’s Amanda Batista
Oh, times have changed.
Today, we understand that marketing and editorial are complimentary. And really, they always were, but until recently there was a forced separation between editorial interests and business interests, for fear of appearing to have dubious ethics. Content marketing bridges that divide, and now brand journalism at its best has both readers and corporate marketing interests in mind.
“Writers are increasingly becoming marketers, and marketers are increasingly becoming writers,” says Amanda. “That’s the beauty of content marketing.”
Before Amanda took her seat at Eloqua, where she builds and drives the company’s major content marketing initiatives and manages the award-winning “It’s All About Revenue” blog, she was the Managing Editor of Demand Gen Report, the publication of record for B2B marketing professionals. She also profiles bands like Green Day for The Aquarian, an alt-weekly in New Jersey.
Just as marketers are becoming writers, they’re also becoming publishers.
“Marketing leaders are going through a lot of changes and having to adapt to new roles,” she says. “’Publisher’ is one of them.”
So, yes, along with other hats like data analyst and psychic, marketers hoping to stand out in content marketing also have to be publishers, the one who knows best how a synergy of compelling editorial content and corporate marketing objectives is best for business.
The Content Marketeer recently spoke to Amanda, and she chats with the eloquence of a writer, casually dropping quotable lines. During the conversation, she shared 5 key principles that every marketer/publisher/writer should remember:
“We’re all people. Not just prospects.”
Sure, say it, the statement is obvious. But with terms like “buyers” and “users,” “consumptions habits” and “prospect mining” tossed around in offices all day long, it’s easy to forget the obvious: a sale is the result of a connection between people. Remembering the people component can mean the difference between compelling content that’s shared and content that’s dead on delivery. We can build connections though our shared goals, interests, and problems.
“Behind every solution there is a problem.”
Presumably, what you are selling is offering a solution to a problem, right? And everyone wants problems solved. Develop content that helps to solve problems or, as Amanda puts it, “helps people get from A to B. Your content has to support people’s productivity.” This can be advice on how to use a tool, or it could be the suggestion of a novel tactic, or it could be a new perspective. People connect through problem solving.
“Compelling marketing content is ultimately storytelling.”
This is where the marketer and publisher side of content marketing managers has to take a powder and let the writer take over. Merely stating facts is not enough to carry an audience. How the information is presented needs to be finessed, told with elements of narrative. “We have to think about the stories around our markets, our prospects. What is compelling to them?”
“It never hurts to make content visually cool.”
Though too much design can be distracting, and design without substantive content is just pretty, there is a beautiful balance when great design works hand-in-hand with must-read content. But don’t feel like you need to make an infographic simply because it’s cool.
“In order to call anyone to take action, you have to build an emotional connection. You do that by cultivating a role in your audience’s discussions.”
Amanda is quick to reference a social media imperative: listen. If you want people to spread your content like a thousand-mile paper route, you have to pay attention to what they are talking about. People talk about things they have an emotional connection to. Be a part of that conversation, but also pay attention to what others are doing successfully for ideas.
These quotes are only grazing the surface of Amanda Batista’s thoughts on thinking like a publisher. She also has amazing insights into planning and execution strategies as well. She will be dropping more quotables and going into further details of how to develop content that drives results at Kapost’s Content Marketing Bootcamp in Boston on June 6. She will be presenting “Thinking Like a Publisher: How to Make Content Compelling” along with a roster of content marketing industry thought leaders. Registration is now closed, but you’ll be able to find her presentation and more on Kapost’s Content Marketing Resources page after the event.