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Thought Leader.

Market Leader.
How to Revamp Your 2018 Content Marketing
to Build Trust, Influence & Sales

2018 Guide
Table of Contents

Re-Focus Your Measures of Success 5

Quality over Quantity 7

Leave Room for Responsive Content 10

Give a Personal Touch 13

Become a Thought Leader 15

Finding the Right Content Cadence Formula 17

Thought Leader. Market Leader.
How to Revamp Your 2018 Content Marketing
to Build Trust, Influence & Sales

The best time to start content At this point, there’s a few critical you should have an idea of what
marketing was five years ago, ingredients (of your marketing worked really well this past year,
the second-best time is now. strategy) that you should already what worked ‘okay’ and what
When everybody has the latest, have assembled. First, you should absolutely fell flat. Having these
shiniest marketing technology, have an idea of your product’s or delectable tidbits of applicable
what can a B2B marketer do to service’s value proposition and voice. marketing insights ready at your
keep a competitive advantage, What makes you unique, or better disposal will drive the improvement
especially in an age of persnickety, than your competitor? What story of your content strategy moving
empowered buyers? are you trying to tell? What is your forward. Luckily, we also have
why, and why should your customers a few tricks and suggestions
As you kick off 2018, it is a great care? Second, you should have an up our sleeves to help take
opportunity revamp or even start idea of your customer — you should you one (or a few) steps further:
up your strategy to get ahead of the know their likes, their dislikes, their
pack and make content marketing values and the ‘why’ that drives their
truly work for your business. (purchase) behavior. Lastly,

1. Re-Focus Your Measures of Success
Re-Focus Your Measures of Success

There is a significant problem that exists when business attempt to

gauge the success of a content marketing campaign by the same
measures and indicators that we would use to gauge the success of
the SEO component of their strategy.

When it comes to marketing, we SEO (and related backend work) will •  How are your customers
know that content is (currently) king. get eyes on your product or service, (or potential customers)
We know this — and yet, we still so but great content is what will keep responding to your content?
frequently fall into the archaic trap them there — and cultivate those • What are they commenting?
of the ‘Well, what’s the exact ROI? leads into dedicated customers. • How is your engagement rate?
How many leads did that get me?”
• Is your content worth sharing?
mindset. Guess what? Great content, The more you bottleneck your content
isn’t always directly measurable in the ideation into strict lead conversion Focus on creating conversations,
form of concrete leads and consumer appraisal, the more you limit the versus conversions. Ask yourself,
acquisitions. It’s not a formula, it’s not scope of your reach and opportunity are you making waves within the
an exact science; rather, it’s the heart for connection with your customer. platforms you are targeting, or just
of your strategy. Effective, creative So, as you set your sights on 2017 getting your feet wet? And sure,
momentum earns you something and build out your content strategy leads, ROI and conversion rates will
different than what you view on an accordingly, I urge you to open always have their place at the table,
SEO report — it builds your story, it your mindset to consider other but take the time with your team to
makes you credible (think approval measures of success. determine other (equally important)
ratings, but for marketing), and sets success metrics for your content-
you apart from the competition. specific marketing efforts.

2. Quality over Quantity
Quality over Quantity

As technology continues to evolve and advance, we are bearing witness

to the creation of apps, tools and social movements that may have
seemed impossible years ago.

The social landscape, especially, is at once — they aim to occupy every company isn’t aiming to be the
rapidly changing and continuously channel, for the sake of it, instead person that calls out the same
affects the way in which businesses of truly tailoring and optimizing their pick-up line to everyone who
convey their messages to their approach for each one. Here’s the passes — you’ll strike out far more
target audience, and, in turn, connect thing: there is no one-size fits all often than you’ll score.
with them. LinkedIn, Facebook, solution when it comes to content
Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, — it’s marketing, and there are certainly no
a brave and expansive new world participation trophies. You won’t gain
of social connection. Of course, with paying customers just for showing
the realization of these new social up, or tossing out a line; in fact, if
channels and trends, follows the you use platform in the wrong way
pressure to understand and best (i.e. Distributing content that isn’t
utilize each platform in a way aesthetically pleasing/engaging on
which benefits your business. Instagram), you risk looking either
entirely out of touch, or simply lazy.
Now, the problem that exists
here isn’t a result of the platforms When it comes down to it, effective
themselves, but the fact that marketing lies within the understanding
companies often try to be everywhere of your customer-courtship. Your

Quality over Quantity

Use the consumer data you’ve Ultimately, if your customer

already collected to shape your base isn’t using Snapchat, you
platform-specific strategies: don’t need to be there because,
let’s face it, you can’t nail a first
date if the other party doesn’t
1. Who is your primary customer
show up. Instead, take the time
and what platforms do they occupy
to understand the ‘why’ behind
(and why)?
your customer’s behavior, the
2. What style of content is most social platforms they use and the Take the time to understand
effective on those said platforms? subsequent content they love
the ‘why’ behind your
to engage with — and apply that
3. How can you create that style customer’s behavior, the
directly to your content marketing
of content for your brand, utilizing
strategy. Instead of trying to be social platforms they use
your budget and resources,
everywhere at once (and producing and the subsequent content
for those 2-3 selected platforms? a content product that is definitively
they love to engage with —
4. As aforementioned in our first point, mediocre at best), allow yourself
to be a dominant force in a few, and apply that directly to your
what will be your measures of success
for that content? intuitively targeted places. After content marketing strategy.
all, today’s consumer is savvy, and
they have high standards, so when
it comes to quality versus quantity…
quality will always win.
3. Leave Room for Responsive Content
Leave Room for Responsive Content

We hear it all the time — plan ahead, or fall behind. While it is undeniably
important to ideate, plan and schedule your content ahead of time
with the use of project management tools and content calendars,
be wary of planning too far ahead.

Time and time again, businesses in today’s marketing landscape.

try to get ahead of the curve with You’re missing the boat on all things
content calendars stretching past viral, newsworthy and relatable; the
2 months, only to witness their content trends and stories that can act as
fall flat. Why? Because it isn’t current. a marketing catalyst to your brand
voice while connecting with your
Remember that at the core of your consumer in a real, visceral way. In
content marketing strategy, you are fact, some of the most buzzed about
telling a story. And to tell a great marketing campaigns had nothing
story, you need to have a firm grasp to do with selling/marketing, and
on what is happening in the world, everything to do with capitalizing
both as it relates to your service and on social commentary to connect
product, and in the world of your with the consumer. Remember the
consumer. If you plan too far ahead, viral articles surrounding Wendy’s
without leaving room for content that especially sarcastic and hilarious
is purely responsive and on the nose Twitter presence? (http://www.
(from a social standpoint) you risk businessinsider.com/wendys-
coming across as removed and out roasting-people-twitter-hilarious-
of touch, which can be devastating mcdonalds-retail-2017-1)
Leave Room for Responsive Content

Ultimately, great content is never matter, you have to be present. You

a hands-off venture — it’s not have to comment back, connect
one of those recipes you can set with local influencers, ask questions,
and forget about. Rather, great answer inquiries, offer solutions etc.
content is a two-way street, an Frankly, nothing will turn a visitor away
engaged conversation. This means from your website or social media
that creating and scheduling a page faster than outdated content.
content calendar isn’t enough; when But nothing excites a consumer
developing your strategy, you not only more than knowing that the brand
have to leave room for responsive or business they love is actually
content, but you also have to play paying attention to them, and actively
an active role in its on-going delivery. trying to forge a genuine B2C or B2B
Whether you’re creating content connection. Remember that your
for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, consumers don’t want another sales
YouTube, Snapchat — it doesn’t pitch, they want you.

4. Give a Personal Touch
Give a Personal Touch

Continuing with our theme of consumer courtship and genuine B2C

connection — remember that you always have personalization tools at
your disposal, while working to distribute your carefully curated content.

When gearing up to send an email More importantly, the understanding

blast, don’t send it to your entire of your target consumer and the
customer base offering up one, development and ideation of
generous helping of (potentially your core content strategy (and
misaligned) information. Instead, use appropriate segments) should
the information you’ve gathered on always be well construed and
your customer demographic and conceptualized within your team,
their corresponding preferences and before you make any attempt to
use that to segment your lists based effectively scale that content.
on their interests, buying behaviors
and experience with your product or
service. This appeal to personalization
applies to your ad strategy and
consumer outreach as well — for
which you can use an approach
like Agile Marketing (link to Agile
article) to deliver content in targeted
blasts, versus one large (and more
unfocused) campaign every time.

5. Become a Thought Leader
Become a Thought Leader

We’ve entered an age where leadership matters more than content. 90% of C-Suite executives
ever — thought leadership, to be exact. surveyed agreed that their respect
and admiration for an organization
increased after engaging with strong
thought leadership. And more than
In a landscape where everyone According to a study from The 80% said that thought leadership
(and every brand and business) Economist Group, executives do has increased their trust in a vendor
can occupy a social media platform, see thought leadership content organization.
have a voice and have something as important. What’s more, around
to sell or insights to offer, the eight in 10 said superior thought To do thought leadership content
question becomes: leadership influences both their successfully, you need to determine
How do you separate yourself purchasing decisions and choice what solutions are of value to your
from the masses? Great content? of business partner. In other words, target audience, and how you can tap
Yes. Effective PR strategies? Yes. for companies that get thought into that demand. You have to readily
Appropriate SEO intact? Yes. A leadership right, the payoff can infiltrate and command content-
thoughtfully designed and curated be significant. A recent survey by driven platforms like LinkedIn Pulse,
digital presence? Of course. A Edelman and LinkedIn revealed Quora, Medium, and local publications,
strong and evolving customer that thought leadership content to differentiate your product or
understanding? Definitely. But containing valuable insights plays service as the best, not by trying to
perhaps more than anything, you an important role throughout the sell it — but by being a (seemingly
need to establish yourself as a entire B2B buyer’s journey—from selfless) value-driven thought leader
trusted source of information, firm awareness to consideration in your industry. Because once you
clearing away the debris left behind and selection. Not only do executives become an expert, a trusted and
from mediocre, misinformed content spend considerable time on thought sought-after source for information
to make your mark in a solution- leadership, they also use it to and perceived value, marketing
driven economy. evaluate firms that are publishing becomes easy. 15
6. Finding the Right Content Cadence Formula
Finding the Right Content Cadence Formula

When it comes to content marketing, there is one frankly

indisputable rule to keep in mind: a steady cadence
(of high quality content) always wins.

Sure, you could create and distribute The results are in and publishing So take a moment to ask yourself,
a great, original piece of content — content regularly and consistently are you publishing enough content?
but if you stop there, so does the generally leads to an increase in
momentum of your content strategy. traffic and leads. In a recent study, Of course, content cadence doesn’t
Hubspot found that companies that just mean publishing a high volume
This is where content cadence published six or more monthly posts of content — it involves the strategic
becomes the driving force of your generated nearly twice as many and timely release of that content,
success, whether you are working leads as those that published less in order to build (and maintain)
from a brand perspective or as than six. And though we often think excitement around your brand or
a CEO striving to establish him or of content marketing solely in terms offering. In a sense, you have to
herself as a thought leader in their of lead generation and branding, think of your content strategy as
respective industry. After all, today’s it’s equally important for customer a month recipe; not only do you
media and content landscape is retention. Google and other search need a certain number of ingredients
defined by the consumer’s on-going engines are looking for good quality (content pieces), you also need
desire for instant gratification and a and relevant content to show in their to time the addition of those
habitual content consumption, and search results and freshness is just ingredients properly.
it’s up to today’s brands and thought one of the factors taken into account
leaders to get on board. by their ranking algorithms.

Finding the Right Content Cadence Formula

Based on our proven, real-world experience with clients,

we recommend a monthly recipe of the following:

Value-Driven Content:
4 Blog Posts distributed throughout your company website, When it comes to content
social and trade outlets. marketing, there is
one frankly indisputable
Expertise Highlight: rule to keep in mind:
1 thought leadership articles
a steady cadence
(of high quality content)
1 Press release or company announcement always wins.

Research-based or interactive content. These can be released
on a quarterly basis, used as evergreen content for your sales
funnel or lead generation tools that are gated.

Finding the Right Content Cadence Formula

Value-Driven Content Over the past few years, CEOs

and industry moguls have begun
When committing to 4 blogs per have someone who oversees connecting with their audience
month, you are able to divvy that content marketing strategy (http:// through means of online journalism,
content up for a weekly release. www.toprankblog.com/2014/05/ platforms like Quora and Medium,
This allows you to link blogs back to b2b-content-marketing- and their own websites and social
one another, as you tackle larger statistics-2014/). In the competitive media— providing content that is
topics that can be divided up B2B space, it is more important timeless to their followers because
between multiple articles (since it than ever to structure your budget it has no sales-related motives,
will be fresh in your reader’s mind) with resources allocated to the it is simply there to provide insight
and create anticipation for the next successful and on-going creation and expertise on a certain subject
blog, each week. and management of your content. or issue.
After all, if you aren’t willing to invest
Of course, not everyone has the in your content segment, or commit To become a thought leader, you
staff, writing expertise, talents or to its continuous development, you must establish yourself as an
time to create, edit and publish high can’t expect it to be successful. informed opinion and a trusted,
quality, valuable content for build go-to source for information
influence and create awareness. within your field. You must be able
That is where a specialized content Expertise: to inspire others with innovative
agency comes in as an integral part ideas and proven processes to
of your content strategy and budget. Thought leadership has quickly replicate your own success, all while
In fact, more than 64% of B2B become it’s own, living and breathing highlighting the human experience
marketers outsource writing and force within the world of content that everyone can relate to. And in
86% of the most effective marketers marketing and popular media. order to do that, you have to leave
Finding the Right Content Cadence Formula

room within your content strategy your blog creation, aim to allocate
for a thought leadership article, each a portion of your content budget
month (ideally released halfway to the outsourcing of this PR
through the month, or towards segment, if you do not have
the end). Consider the unrelenting someone in-house who is familiar
popularity of TED talks; that with the creation and strategic
organization has built a platform for distribution of a Press Release.
diverse thought leaders across every
industry, and the world is invested in Milestones:
what they have to say.
Milestones and benchmarked
News: content actually play an integral
role in the quality of your content
Within this content recipe, it is ever- cadence. As referenced here
important to keep your audience (https://www.skyword.com/
in the loop, in regards to any major contentstandard/marketing/how-
company updates and/or highlights creating-cadence-in-your-editorial-
from the previous month. This is calendar-can-benchmark-your-
where traditional PR comes into content-and-build-excitement/),
play, requiring you to release a Magazine publishers have been
monthly Press Release or company doing this for over a century in the
announcement to distribute form of dedicated issues that mark
any news-worthy information the passage of time and celebrate
surrounding your brand. As with milestones, events, people, and
Finding the Right Content Cadence Formula

companies (Time’s People of the Building awareness, credibility,

Year, Forbes 400 etc.). engagement, and retention are
continuous processes. At the end of
In the case of the B2B landscape, the day, it’s tough to come up with
these milestones can be achieved in the magic number of content pieces
the form of quarterly white papers, you should produce and there’s
ebooks, guides, infographics and no cookie cutter solution. Every
webinars. Not only will this help you organization is different,
to identify new leads (in the case of so determining publishing frequency
downloadable content that captures and timing will depend on your unique
information upon download), but goals, budget and brand story.
this provides your consumer with a
content piece to actively anticipate
and engage with, each quarter.

Thought Leader. Market Leader.
How to Revamp Your 201 8 Content Marketing
to Build Trust, Influence & Sales

2018 Guide

About Puzzle Partner:

Puzzle Partner Ltd. is a boutique marketing agency focused exclusively on
complex B2B initiatives for the travel and hospitality technology industry.
We are experts at combining strategy and tactical execution in a way that
doesn’t just maximize a company’s potential; it redefines it. By delivering
influential content, marketing services, and public relations rooted in the
skills of our team and tested through real-world experience, we help our
clients gain visibility, raise their profile and ultimately increase their sales
revenues. To learn more visit puzzlepartner.co.