Marketers typically understand how to break the ice with prospects using content. Many however fall into a trap; myopically focusing on the first big offer; a webcast, event, or promotion. They fail to focus on longer term cultivation content that offers a fair exchange of value.
Close your eyes and visualize the origin of the term Icebreaker; a large sturdy ship breaking through the ice to create a clear waterway stretching for miles. Following this icebreaking ship, comes a multitude of other vessels that can now travel the waterway; cargo ships, passenger ships, and even military vessels. For marketers, a content strategy needs to be planned around a high volume of content, in other words the volume of ships, not just the icebreaker.
So how can you design your next campaign to take advantage of a successful ice breaking effort?
First, don’t get caught-up in creating short term performance expectations. Sounds simple, right? It quickly becomes more difficult than most are prepared for. Designing a complex instrumentation and performance plan around “relationships” is difficult. Customers and prospects do not travel in the linear purchase continuum from the last decade. Staff your campaign with a proven business intelligence or analytics professional. You will want someone that can work across multiple applications and integrations. I am still amazed at how few companies have really connected their applications in a manner that provides them accurate and useful data.
Second, be prepared from the very beginning to create hundreds of pieces of content. In order to fill these shipping lanes behind your icebreaker, you are going to need lots of content. The need for so much content results from people having varied preferences in what they like to consume. The story can be the same, but higher consumption rates will occur with multiple formats: Worksheets, videos, blog posts, webcasts, events, trend-maps, infographics, solution briefs, ebooks and podcasts.
You should strive for an 80/20 rule when it comes to derivative content versus original content. 20% should be original source content, and 80% derivative content, or content created from the original pieces. It is easier than you think to take that awesome video you just created, and break it into three smaller videos. Take statistics and illustrations from the same video, and create infographics, worksheets and other informational downloads. Suddenly your marketing dollar has just gone further, and you can offer different prospects different formats.
Don’t be afraid to spend on breaking the ice with you next marketing campaign. Build a content strategy that has goals tied to long term relationships, and build a diverse range of content types. Doing so will help you track towards your goals and ultimately a return on investment for the upfront expenditures with breaking the ice.