No matter your social media preference, blog of choice, or marketing resource, you cannot get away from the topic of content marketing. Content marketing may seem to be the buzz-phrase that never dies, but there is good reason. It is, quite literally, at the heart of everything we do. As marketers, especially digital marketers, our lifeblood is quality, engaging content. Without it, nothing else matters.
According to a recent report generated by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, 89% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing, and over half of non-users plan to roll it out in 2017. Why? In a separate study published by the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing. These same marketers have achieved up to six times more conversions than those not focused on content.
As a marketer, these numbers likely don’t surprise you. Content marketing, done right, can have a significant impact on your marketing initiatives, lead generation, and ROI. So, why is it that so many marketers have a hard time getting started, and an even harder time maintaining ongoing content?
In the same report mentioned above, marketers cite a number of barriers when it comes to content marketing success, with one of the the biggest challenges being content creation frustrations (resources, workflows, guidelines, etc.). However, they also describe tools that can help elevate their success: analytics, buyer personas, shared calendars, social media guidelines, and email marketing to name a few. Oracle Content Marketing can provide these tools and then-some, giving you the foundation you need for a successful content marketing engine.
The purpose of this blog post is not to help you craft a content marketing strategy. There are plenty of resources already available to help you embark on that journey. Instead, in the true fashion of a technology geek, I am here to explain how content marketing tools, specifically Oracle Content Marketing, can augment your success.
Oracle Content Marketing
Oracle Content Marketing (OCM) makes it easy to plan, produce, and deliver engaging content across multiple personas and channels throughout the customer lifecycle. After implementing OCM for a number of organizations, I’ve seen first-hand how OCM can help marketers streamline their content creation, augment the quality of their content, and harness the power of integrations among various publishing platforms, including their website and Eloqua.
Oracle Content Marketing’s functionality is divided into 5 areas (the five P’s) – Plan, Produce, Publish, Promote, and Prove. As Oracle states, these five areas allow you to do the following:
- Plan: Define your strategy using tools that assist with planning and collaboration – including a universal calendar (which can show all scheduled content and Eloqua campaigns), buyer persona definitions, and idea and topic planning. Perhaps even more beneficial, this is where you define your content creation workflows, manage your content creation guidelines, and share your key projects.
- Produce: Manage and create your content using pre-defined rules, workflows, and author management. This section provides you with an easy way to ensure your content is created using personas, stages, and best practices while also being governed under your processes.
- Publish: Push content to your blog, content hub, microsystem, and cross-channel marketing platforms easily and quickly. With OCM’s intuitive interface, setting up an integration with your native platforms is simple.
- Promote: Schedule and promote content to social channels through the built-in social publishing platform or with Oracle Social Relationship Management (a native integration). OCM also integrates seamlessly with Eloqua, giving you the ability to push content directly into landing pages and emails.
- Prove: Quantify to justify with reporting on a content marketing dashboard. Powerful and robust, OCM analytics gives you insight into which authors, content, personas, etc. are performing the best and which ones need attention.
Getting Started with Oracle Content Marketing
Like any tool, it’s important to set the proper foundation before diving right in. If you’re thinking about utilizing OCM, or you’re in the midst of embarking on implementation, it can be a bit overwhelming to start. Here is my advice after configuring a number of instances for various clients. These are the areas on which you should focus — setting these up correctly in the beginning will increase your success tremendously. Frankly, even if you aren’t ready to dive into the OCM tool, undertaking these initiatives will be beneficial as you develop and move forward with your marketing content strategy.
One of the most powerful features within OCM is its workflow capability. Process is key to ensuring accuracy, timeliness, and collaboration. Within OCM, as the help center defines, “content flows through a collection of tasks grouped into customizable stages. Multiple workflows can be combined on each content asset to create a list of tasks for that asset. The combination of stages, workflows, and tasks can handle almost any scenario.”
In preparation for your implementation, whiteboard all of the processes you require for various types of content, business units, etc. Think about the different stages, tasks, and rules required for each type of content. You’ll also need to decide which users will be responsible for which tasks. Once you have this defined on paper, it can easily be built within OCM.
Like any marketing technology platform, you’ll need to define your users and their roles up front. We’ll get into roles next, but for users, think about which individuals will need access to OCM and at what levels. Define what their role should be within the platform — will they be designing buyer personas, managing content, writing content, approving content, etc.? You’ll also want to list any default categories (will describe later) that you want to set for this user. At the very least, you’ll need their email address and desired login name to set them up in OCM.
Rights and Roles
You’ll want to spend time defining the rights and roles for your users up front. OCM comes with three standard roles out of the box – administrator, author, and designer – but you have limitless ability in creating your own rights and roles. You can create as many custom roles as you need, fine tuning what users can view, edit, delete, manage, and publish across all areas of the platform. When creating your users, you will have the ability to select one or more of these roles per user.
Categories allow you to tag content based on a specific theme or concept. When content is created, the user can tag the categories to which the content is related. Oracle recommends basing your categories on the following: diversity, desired focus, goals, search volume, competition level, and effectiveness. Once you establish your categories, you have the ability to assign default categories to users – any post they create will be assigned to their categories.
Custom fields are available to provide a way for you to associate metadata with your content. They can also make finding and working with content easier since you can filter by any custom field created. Think about what information would be helpful to associate with your content – perhaps related to regions, brands, keywords, products, etc. Keep in mind that custom fields may be useful for integrations or publishing as well since field values can be passed through the API.
I use the term “integrations” to loosely define any connection or integration that allows you to push/publish content from the OCM platform. Are you planning to publish your content to a blog or website? If so, which platform will you be using? Defining the requirements up front is important to ensure the right connections are made. In addition to publishing to your website, content can be pushed to your social media channels, SRM, and even Oracle Eloqua. Define which platforms require integration so that when it comes time to implement, you’ll be that much more efficient.
Buyer Personas and Buyer Stages
Although a different focus than the configuration items noted above, buyer personas and stages are equally important to define prior to moving forward with OCM. A major benefit of the OCM platform is its ability to act as a repository for buyer personas and their stages, serving as an amazing reference for your authors as they are writing content. If you don’t already have personas and stages defined, this is the time to start. If you’re unsure where to begin, I highly recommend Oracle’s customer success area on the topic.
Content Creation Planning
Within OCM, the Ideas and Topic Planning area provides a brainstorming center for teams to capture and plan for future pieces of content. As you develop topics for your content, you can also associate keywords to those topics. The benefit of keywords is that they become visible to your writers whenever a piece of content is created for that topic (awesome for SEO). Similarly, you can create best practice suggestions for writing any type of content – a great way to ensure your brand standards and content requirements are met. There’s never a bad time to start brainstorming on how you’d like to manage your topics, keywords, and best practice guidelines.
Like any platform, Oracle Content Marketing has a lot to consider before diving right in. A strong foundation is critical to your success, and the above-mentioned items will help build a strong base from which to grow. As always, if you have any questions, or need help implementing your OCM platform, please reach out to me or Relationship One.