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Talking Content Marketing – With Jeffrey Rohrs

Jeffrey Rohrs_interviewTalking Content Marketing welcomes another influencer to discuss a change of mindset for business.

Jeffrey K. Rohrs is VP of Marketing Insights for the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, and author of AUDIENCE: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans & Followers. In his role, he speaks around the globe about marketing strategies, best practices, and trends.

Jeffrey stands for national anthems, visiting dignitaries, and the notion that laughter is the best medicine.

Lets look at the role that our audiences play as an asset to our businesses.

With the growth of technology to have a dialogue with our audience (email, blog, podcasting etc.) is it becoming increasingly difficult to be heard?

The proliferation of channels, devices, and content producers certainly has increased competition for consumer attention; however, there are always going to be people looking for what you sell. The key is to be the best at capturing their initial interest and converting it into action. This has long been the marketer’s quest, and to excuse poor performance because of heightened competition is no excuse at all. Someone is going to win in your industry. Why not your brand?

Do we need to get out of a mindset of collecting numbers (followers on Twitter, likes on Facebook) and more of a focus of building an audience in the spaces we own ie. subscribers within our website/our blogs?

I don’t think it’s an either/or; rather, I think marketers have to think of audience growth as comprising three facets—size, engagement, and value.

Size, of course, is a relative measure—bigger is not necessarily better if no one is paying attention to you. That’s why it is increasing important for marketers to invest in creating and measuring audience engagement. Engagement is really just another word for attention—is the audience you’ve created paying attention to your content? Do they listen when you speak? If not, then you may want to rethink your content and tone.

The last facet of audience growth—value—is really where everything comes together. Is your audience delivering the returns you need for your business? If not, then you may need to invest your time in developing an audience in another channel.

Bottom line—if you really want to get the most from your marketing investments, you need an ongoing effort to increase the size, engagement, and value of your direct audiences.

To be of value to our audiences what is the biggest challenge for businesses? Is it to be continually engaged with them?

No, it’s to be relevant and useful to them.

Audiences stick around to be informed or entertained. Few, if any, stick around to be sold to nonstop. Thus, the challenge is to find the right balance of content to inform or entertain them while still getting the sale. This is why content marketing and proprietary audience development are different sides of the same coin—they depend on each other to generate maximum returns for the business.

 Your ‘One Coin: Content Marketing & Proprietary Audience Development‘ article, before we think that content is the answer, do we need to understand how we are going to make our audiences lives better/more entertained/enlightened, first?

I think content marketers need to understand that their job is to generate direct, on-demand audiences for their business—not just temporary ones. It’s great that your video got 100,000 views, but how many subscribers did you gain? Subscribers, fans, and followers are what you really want—direct audiences who give you permission to communicate with them on an ongoing basis through email, Facebook, SMS, Twitter, YouTube, and other channels. With this permission, your content turns into a snowball rolling downhill—gaining critical audience mass with each new publication. Absent that approach, you’re having to generate audience attention from scratch each and every time to you produce something new. And that leaves you far more dependent on paid media to increase your reach—something Content Marketing seeks to avoid.

Do we need to be more honest with the ways we wish to connect to our audience and for them to engage on their terms, rather than placing a ‘leave your email for our free guide’ and then use as a wholly selling tactic?

I think there will always be a place for that type of effort because it seeks to attract a specific consumer who is smack dab in the purchase consideration phase. However, the larger opportunity is further up the funnel—to use content to build audiences of consumers who may currently not be on the market for your products and services, but soon will be.

Really creative content marketing lets you gain the attention of those consumers so you can begin to build brand awareness—and even loyalty—before your competitors ever reach them. This type of early stage content marketing doesn’t seek to sell; it seeks to inform or entertain in ways that we used to leave to the mass media. But with the instantaneous, worldwide distribution afforded to us by the web, mobile apps, YouTube, and other digital direct channels—our brands can now be the media, producing content that generates audiences once beyond our reach.

 Which organisation or person would you not press the unsubscribe button?

Jay Baer of Convince & Convert. I have the good fortune of co-hosting The Social Pros Podcast with Jay, and I’ve known him for years. He’s a wellspring of no-nonsense marketing advice, and once of the finest folks you’ll ever meet.

Thanks to Jeffrey for his time and insights into the importance of considering audience within our businesses, they are the lifeblood after-all. To connect and find more about Jeffrey:

Jeffrey on Twitter: click here

ExactTarget: click here

Audience book: click here

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