The Secret To Successful Content Marketing: Start Your Storytelling By Being A Good Listener

Marketo recently wrapped up its 2015 Marketing Nation Summit in San Francisco, and two of the key themes were disruption and innovation. Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez shared with the more than 6,000 marketers in attendance that one of the elements of disruption was the need to “stop spending so much time talking and spend more time listening.”

listen2The emerging role of “listening” in marketing was also addressed by Seth Lieberman, CEO of SnapApp, at the recent Content2Conversion Conference (#C2C15). Lieberman explained that marketers should be listening to hear and understand their buyers in order to deliver real value as prospects move down the funnel. “Half of any conversation is actually listening to the other person,” he said. “So if we don’t structure our demand gen programs, marketing and content so that we can listen, we’re missing 50% of the conversation.”

The reality, though, is that many marketers are missing this essential element in creating relevant conversations with their buyers. Why? Because being a good listener in content marketing means much more than simply listening with the intent to reply.

In his presentation, Lieberman offered the following five steps that will allow marketers to sharpen their “listening” skills for a more effective conversation:

  1. Identify Your Listening Targets – Marketers should start by asking themselves What technology do we already have? What can we “listen” out of it? How can we build the data into some quick and easy dashboards or reports?
  2. Get The Right Tools – Lieberman suggested taking advantage of some of the “really good, cheap tools out there,” to dig into granular data that will help you glean buyer concerns. Google Analytics can measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and interactive assessments, such as SurveyMonkey or Poll Data, can make your content more fun and interesting.
  3. Look At The Data – Make structured data sets from what you hear and turn it into an actionable, repeatable and scalable process.
  4. Test, Test – but DON’T over-test – “Keep in simple, go to market with it, try it out and keep learning from it,” he said.
  5. Scale – Make data-driven decisions and expand your influence across your organization.

At Content4Demand, we have helped many of our partners “listen” to their prospects with interactive content. The great thing about interactive content, such as quizzes, assessments, workbooks, calculators, etc., is the participatory element. By offering the ability for buyers to provide their perspective and input into a topic, you can make your material more fun and accessible, while obtaining crucial information about their current needs and pain points.

Here’s an example of an Advertising Spend Assessment we worked with Cox Media on for their community of small business clients and prospects. By inviting the user to select their industry and annual sales and annual budget, the assessment was able to quickly provide targeted and relevant benchmarks that showed how their budget compared to peers.

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the most effective new approaches to engaging buyers and developing relevant conversations around their business needs, you can also check out the upcoming DGR/C4D webinar, “Can Content Create Conversations With Buyers?” on May 7, 12 pm – 1 pm (CST).

Keep an eye and an ear out for interesting formats and please share links to any innovative models to this new approach of conversational content.