The 7 'Secrets' of Award-Winning B2B and B2C Content Marketing Programs

Have you ever looked at an organization's content and thought, "How do they do it?"

Here too. So we asked a panel of admired content leaders – 2021 Content Marketer of the Year Finalist – for a peek at the veil on what makes award-winning projects. their activities. (Each of this year's nominees worked on a winning post in at least one category in Content Marketing Award .)

You've probably heard variations of their advice before (hence the quotes around "secret" in the title). But their input reinforces that the fundamentals of content marketing work.

Here's what they told us about why their content programs resonate with audiences and retain the support of the business leaders who invest in them. Stay tuned for more details on their award-winning projects in the coming weeks.

1. Build teams (internal and external) that reflect your audience

Jackie Gagne, senior vice president, cross-cultural marketing, HBO Max and HBO, speak:

Our team reflects the audience we speak to every day, and our partners reflect the audience as well. Both are passionate about cross-cultural audiences and create moments that benefit underrepresented groups.

Our focus is on Black, AAPI, LGBTQ+ and Latinx audiences. In every industry, we have audience experts, and that's on purpose. We are experts at reaching these audiences.

If you have a cross-cultural or emerging market marketing team in your organization, I encourage you to work closely with them to develop your strategy. If such expertise does not exist within the organization, then absolutely find an agency partner know and have experience with the audience you want to engage with.

In the Black, AAPI, LGBTQ+ and Latinx verticals, we intentionally have audience experts, @jackiegagne says 10 by @HBOMax and @HBO via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

2. But don't assume you know the audience, even if you are the audience

Julie Shapiro, editor-in-chief, The Well by Northwell, Northwell Health, said:

The key to The Well's success is its data-driven approach ours to create content. We know what our readers are interested in because we research them. We learn about their needs and curiosity at different stages of life and form concepts for content around those findings. And we don't do it in a stuffy, formal way.

When we started, we were “intuitively driven”, meaning that the group (including all women/head health worker of the household) would get together and analyze what matters. important to us. We think we know what people want because of us to be target.

Now we're data-driven and dedicate a huge amount of resources to researching trends really knowing what our demo is doing. searching I want to say that we were not wrong, but we do not understand how much more people are interested in – topics we haven't even thought of. So my advice is to get to know your audience and give them what they want.

Data-driven research tells you even better what your audience really wants, says #JulieShapiro of @NorthwellHealth via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click to Tweet

3. Continue to listen and adapt

Claire McIntosh, editor-in-chief, Sisters From AARP; senior editor, AARP Journal and AARP Bulletin, AARP, speak:

I'll meet a writer for lunch or virtual coffee. She would tell me how she dealt with the principal when her daughter was being bullied, and I would ask her to write about it. From the outset, I shared with AARP Media senior vice president and editorial director, Myrna Blyth, that I see my role as “listener.” Reader feedback always shapes what we deliver. One example is a recently added advice column by a therapist they know from reality TV.

# B2C Content Marketer of the Year @ClaireRMcIntosh met her at @AARP as a listener via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click to Tweet

4. Promote your content inside to connect with the outside

Carl Germann, senior marketing manager – brand communications, Monster, said:

We use Bambu of Sprout Social to share content internally so that it is shared externally. It is a great tool for us. We had great success leveraging that for our sales team during the early months of the pandemic, which allowed them to stay in touch with their customers and stay relevant.

We just keep content sharing and data points through the platform internally, and then they can put it right into their own LinkedIn. They can put it on Twitter. Now we do it two to three times a week and it's an ongoing process.

At @Monster, we use @BambuBySprout so employees can easily share our #content on Twitter or LinkedIn, said @crlgrmnn via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click to Tweet

5. Understand what's important to your business

Richard McGill Murphy, editor-in-chief and director, ServiceNow, speak:

One of the main things we're interested in as a content marketing organization is seeing how many Workflow readers engage with the ServiceNow brand in a way that increases their chances of becoming a customer. Things like the percentage of people reading the Content Click-to-Get Workflow on directly or indirectly. Do they read an article and then go to ServiceNow and read About us page or give up email address (marker of trust)?

That's something we watch very closely. I think the opportunity is interesting in content (at least the editorial thought leadership aspect) is about showing how you are contributing not only to brand awareness but ultimately to the channel of business. We are not product marketers. But it's important to be able to show that we're taking people from the editorial experience to the top of the marketing funnel, where they can be captured as leads.

It will be interesting to see how #content contributes not only to brand awareness but ultimately to the business channel,” said @RichardMMurphy1 of @servicenow via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click to Tweet

RELATED CONTENT TO BE HAND-VIEWED: How to create successful sales support content

6. Get a seat at the table

Jessica Bergmann, vice president, customer and content marketing, Salesforce, speak:

We have worked hard to make content marketing a strategic function and an integral part of marketing. If you look at the aggregate planning teams, the content marketing team is sometimes referred to as blogs and social networks. We made the transition where each team had an embedded content strategy lead.

Now we talk about the “four Cs” at the brand level: content, advertising, campaigns and Customer 360 (our product marketing team). No plan would happen without those four Cs linked and involved.

2021 B2B Content Marketer of the Year @jbergmann of @salesforce says that no project happens at the brand level without #content, creativity, campaigns and product marketing via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click to Tweet

RELATED CONTENT TO BE CLICKED: Think strategically about your content Model

7. Bringing executives on board

Julia Gaynor, Senior Marketing Strategist – B2B, Monster, speak:

It is important to have some kind champion at the executive level, who will allow you to have the tools you need to get these things done. That's it. We couldn't have done it without my boss at the time.

There's an executive-level champion who will let you get the job done, @juliagaynor of @Monster said via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click to Tweet

No one goes alone

When talking to this world -class marketers, a theme comes up again and again. Content marketing is not a single sport. All great content programs are based on collaborate – within groups, between groups and even with audiences.

As 2021 B2C Content Marketer of the Year Claire McIntosh says: “When you collaborate with innovators from across the enterprise, you gain access to a breadth and caliber of talent that a dedicated team wouldn't. have been. You can punch higher than your weight class. ”

Do you have any tips for getting your content program to hit its weight class punch? Please share in the comments section.

The tools mentioned in the article have been cited by sources. If you have a tool to recommend, please add it in the comments.

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Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute