Last month I offered a peek behind the curtain at a successful content marketing program being run by one of my clients, Personal Capital. I got some good response to that article so I thought I’d do another client profile by describing the content marketing program being run by another client of mine, Ascension Growth & Innovation Strategies.
This is hands-down the most comprehensive content marketing program I have seen in my three decades as a content creator. I asked Ascension’s Managing Partner Craig Apatov if he’d answer a few questions about their program for my newsletter and he was happy to oblige.
A Marketing Department in a Box
Ascension offers B2B clients a turnkey content marketing program called ContentCastSM. Craig calls ContentCastSM a “marketing department in a box” because it provides “everything a B2B company needs to raise its brand and company profile with decision makers in its target companies and industries.”
ContentCastSM starts with — you guessed it — original content. This consists mainly of short videos (generally two to three minutes long), slideshows and info-graphics, along with accompanying email and website landing page copy. “Our Ascension Studios team develops original short form content that tell the client’s story in provocative, educational and compelling ways,” says Craig. “Most importantly, the content avoids overt ‘selling’ — nobody wants to be sold today.”
Of course, this content needs to be distributed to the right audience and digital distribution is the key. The Ascension Studios team creates a unified email outreach database to power content distribution using targeted email, along with continuous weekly LinkedIn posts to expand social media reach.
Ascension can also add hundreds or even thousands of additional LinkedIn connections to salespeople’s LinkedIn contact lists, which boosts a campaign’s social media reach exponentially. “We use campaign management platforms to push out targeted emails bi-weekly and post content on LinkedIn and other social media platforms multiple times a day on multiple days of the week,” says Craig.
Importantly, because ContentCastSM content appears in the “free” newsfeeds of these platforms, there’s no cost for media exposure.
Finally, Ascension conducts program delivery and impact analysis to uncover which content pieces, distribution channels, days of the week, etc., drive the most response. “This supports continuous program enhancements over the course of the campaign,” says Craig.
ContentCastSM is sold on a six-, nine- or 12-month contract basis. “It takes at least six months to see any lead generation and/or awareness improvements,” says Craig.
ContentCastSM Success Metrics
I asked Craig if he could share any success metrics from ContentCastSM clients. He said that one large multinational industrial company is reaching 17,000 decision makers multiple times a week through LinkedIn content posts by 17 of its sales reps. And a $15 million Tampa-based global sourcing company realized $100 million in new business quote requests through ContentCastSM in only six months.
So what do clients like most about ContentCastSM? “First, it’s a cost-effective way for B2B organizations to leverage digital content development and delivery in order to generate valuable sales leads,” says Craig. “They love the fact that it’s totally turnkey — the Ascension Studios team does all the work and collaborates closely with the client’s sales and marketing team.”
Craig has worked in B2B marketing for 20-plus years so he has seen various content marketing programs up close and personal. He and fellow Managing Partner Jip Ingles created ContentCast℠ using many of the content marketing principles they learned working with leading B2B industrial companies, as well as seeing what kinds of things worked and what kinds didn’t.
“All of us today are time-challenged and have short attention spans,” he says. “ContentCastSM reaches B2B audiences through multi-touch, multi-channel digital communication, which increases the chance that marketing messages cut through the clutter and are seen by the target audience. It uses targeted email and social media channels to reach key influencers and decision makers repeatedly over time.”
Content Marketing Tips from Craig
So what are Craig’s top tips for creating a content marketing program that gets results? He lists three:
- Refine your brand message. “For example, think about how your organization delivers value or differentiates itself from the competition,” he says.
- Follow the 80/20 rule. “Focus 80% of your content on providing useful, educational and provocative information and just 20% on selling,” says Craig.
- Link strategically. “Be sure to link every piece of content you distribute to a response mechanism — ideally, a person — who can immediately follow up on the lead,” he says.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about ContentCastSM.