Content Syndication Can Be A Great Teacher, If You’re Willing to Listen
Content Syndication is a great way to extend your current content marketing programs to new audiences. I emphasize “new” here, because I’ve found that B2B sellers often tend to overlook this critical point – the prospects you reach though Content Syndication may well have never heard of your brand, much less interacted with your business.
So why assume that you already know everything about them?
Believing they know exactly who their customer is continues to be the biggest mistake I see B2B marketers make as they embark on Content Syndication programs. And time and time again, when we help our ContentLEADS customers here at True Influence analyze their campaigns, we find unexpected results in the mix that drive higher ROI and produce great results.
You Must Watch for New, Promising Behaviors in Content Syndication
First off, let me be clear that I’m not suggesting marketers simply pitch their carefully researched user personas and purchase journey models when they launch Content Syndication programs. Obviously, there’s an enormous amount of value in the well-established parameters of who you want to engage in a new relationship.
We’re not going to tell you that suddenly you should start targeting entry-level operational staff or set up shop in Iowa because that is where the opportunity is.
As our CMO Kay Kienast wrote recently, the most effective Content Syndication programs are extensions of in-house content marketing programs that have already proven to be winners with your top customer personas.
But – and this is essential — the broader you go with campaign targeting, while sticking with your core audience parameters, the greater the opportunities you’ll find with Content Syndication. Micro-targeting and highly detailed assumptions about purchase journey phase, based on your current in-house data, will likely cause you to miss potential customers.
With somewhat broader targeting, you’ll find unexpected results that can help Marketing and Sales close more business, more quickly, and optimize your investment in Content Syndication.
Assumptions Make An… Well, You Know
Marketers are smart, but sometimes we get ahead of ourselves.
The behavioral models we build for our in-house campaigns (if we’re doing our jobs, at least) are based on a lot of trial and error and data modeling of the results.
But these results are generated by prospects from your targeted ABM and named account lists, who have already engaged with your messaging. Content Syndication targets may well be very much like the names already in your list, but they aren’t exactly the same.
So, you can’t assume these prospects — in other databases, built by others – will behave in an identical fashion.
This issue is exacerbated by the fact that so many B2B sellers don’t have a real handle on the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for their product or services.
A recent survey by InsideView revealed that 53 percent of businesses don’t regularly research their possible audience. And 25 percent of respondents said their Sales and Marketing teams don’t even agree on a market definition.
Clearly, there are substantial gaps in B2B seller’s assumptions and the reality of who’s out there. But marketers still want to believe they know exactly which behaviors indicate intent to buy, based a limited data set. And I find this self-selected blindness tends to be more pernicious in larger businesses, who spend more time crunching numbers.
Content Syndication is among the best ways to probe new sources for potential customers, whose behavior you’ve never observed in detail. You must be willing to cast a little broader net, and then stare carefully at what you catch to find new patterns in this pool of new respondents. And you must follow the responses you see.
Intent + Content Syndication = Powerful New Insights
A little earlier I mentioned intent to buy, one of the key indicators for success in any B2B content marketing program, including Content Syndication. One of the biggest leaps forward for B2B marketers in the last few years is the emergence of Intent Signal Monitoring, which identifies spiking intent via content consumption behaviors at ten of thousands of businesses.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this chance to note that True Influence is a category-defining provider of Intent Signal Monitoring. And we can employ our InsightBASE intent monitoring platform in ContentLEADS programs to find contacts across our content syndication network at businesses with spiking interest in your product or service — regardless if they are on your named account list or not.
Intent is another tool to broaden the net of new prospects you target via Content Syndication. Like many providers, we here at True Influence can certainly include your named lists as a targeting criterion in our ContentLEADS programs. But I strongly advise against constraining Content Syndication programs to the “sweet spot” of the companies you already know. That’s a limited view of the market, and it undercuts a key value of Content Syndication. And as our partners at SiriusDecisions have identified in their Demand Unit Waterfall, Intent is an essential component in defining Active Demand for your product or service.
By employing Intent, you’re going to see a lot of activity out there in the market that your named list is simply not going to reach. I think of it as the “tip of the spear” of Content Syndication, to be followed by a mix of marketing tactics to identify behaviors, some of them new, that translate into revenue.
Use a Mix of Outreach Tactics in Content Syndication Programs
As I have written before, I am a big believer in the power of using multiple tactics to reach prospects, and that includes telephone-based programs. (I helped build out much of our TeleLEADS program, so this is in my wheelhouse, so to speak.)
And, even if you aren’t employing telephone calling in your in-house campaigns, a Content Syndication program is a great opportunity to incorporate this tool in your mix to identify new behaviors that can point to new business. It could be that a contact is not in your database because they actually prefer phone calls to emails.
Offering your best content assets via a tele-campaign helps you more clearly identify the exact purchase stage of a prospect, based on their responses to qualifying questions. This can accelerate moving these leads on to Sales, winning new business and quickly proving the value of your Content Syndication investment.
Callers also can effectively test the attractiveness of assets to prospects who aren’t exactly the same as ones who have responded to your in-house mail campaigns. Come prepared with a range of high-quality assets that speak to prospects at various points in their journey, and don’t be too restrictive in whom you offer them to. You may find that a piece you thought was too technical for anyone other than an IT audience is interesting to a marketer who has a lot of influence in the eventual buy decision.
The objective of a program should be to have the right content, regardless of where somebody is in the purchase journey. You must let the market speak to you, and tele-campaigns are a great, high-touch tactic to initiate that conversation.
Coupled with Intent and other market intelligence, expanding your outreach strategy can greatly improve the odds that Content Syndication will find previously unidentified prospects who are ready to talk. And If you are not marketing to prospects when they are ready to buy, you’ll find that you have missed the opportunity.
Learn More About Your Market with Content Syndication
Content Syndication should be part of any long-term content marketing strategy. Getting your company’s message to prospects who aren’t already on your in-house or named account lists is a powerful way of tapping into segments of your Total Addressable Market that you may currently be overlooking. To get the most from an investment in Content Syndication, you should broaden your programs, both in terms of targeting and tactics, and be willing to learn from the new audiences you engage.