Microsoft Partner Taps Team Knowledge for Marketing Success
Every marketer in the channel has experienced the frustration of knowing that they are sitting on a gold mine of rich content, but simply can't bring it to the surface. They know their consulting team holds the real-world knowledge that makes superstar blog posts and downloadable whitepapers. By offering multiple paths to bring that knowledge to the surface, one partner is striking it rich with content marketing.
Ramping up their content marketing over the past 18 months, 10th Magnitude, a gold Microsoft cloud platform partner, provides multiple paths for its consultants to share their deep Azure knowledge.
"We've found success by allowing people to contribute in the way they are most comfortable," said Dorinne Hoss, director of marketing at 10th Magnitude. "Not everyone is a writer, especially technical folks, so we give consultants the option of an interview. We will either write it up as a blog post or we can record it for one of our video series."
A Variety of Video
One of two series, the Manhattans Project videos are informal interviews with consultants on current topics. Consultants don't have to spend a lot of time preparing, but get to share their knowledge on a familiar topic. A second series, Epicenter, repurposes presentations that 10th Magnitude consultants do for the community, like meet-ups and webinars.
The prospect of video may seem expensive to most partners, but 10th Magnitude is fortunate to have the talents of Marketing Manager Michael Gibson. Gibson serves as moderator for the videos and then turns raw video into the finished product. As Gibson demonstrates, professional-looking videos can be created in-house.
One particularly well-received video is a review from Microsoft's Build conference. "We recorded an internal briefing meeting where the consultants who attended Build shared what they learned," said Hoss. "We polished it up and put the video on YouTube. It has gotten thousands of hits."
The Secret to Superstars
Why some videos and blog posts take off and some don't remains a mystery. Like the Build video, Hoss says that sometimes a blog post becomes a superstar, getting high numbers of views for months on end. "We regularly review our content marketing to look at what's working and what's not," said Hoss. "Unfortunately, there's no secret formula and we are a little leery of trying to direct too much. We trust our consultants' instincts. Those topics that they really get excited about are often the ones that turn into superstars."
Unless they have a need for specific content to support a topical campaign, consultants drive the subject matter for content. "Naturally, the consultants want to talk about the projects they are working on," said Hoss, "This year, for example, there has been an explosion of interest in the Internet of Things. We have found that the topics our consultants want to address generally mirror what our clients are thinking about."
Content Promotion Is the Final Piece
Half of the equation for successful content marketing is promotion. 10th Magnitude promotes content through a variety of channels, both organically and paid. "We've spent a lot of time building our social media followers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook," said Hoss. "We've had some good results with our investments in search advertising on YouTube, Google and Bing."
With bigger pieces of content, like an Azure e-book it created, 10th Magnitude has syndicated on sites like CIO.com with success. "That type of content syndication is not cheap, but it's a good way to get leads from people interested enough to give their information up. Downloading those bigger pieces of content can deliver high-quality leads," said Hoss. "The challenge is finding the right mix of channel and content. It requires making some investments and testing."
At the moment, videos are delivering the best rewards for 10th Magnitude on multiple levels. "While it's not a direct correlation, we know that the videos have done a lot to influence sales," said Hoss. "The videos are good for Microsoft sales reps, as well as our own team. We make sure our Microsoft contacts are aware of the content we are producing so that they can use it, too."
Drawing the knowledge out of your consulting team to build great marketing content is probably the most common challenge for marketers in the channel. They are a direct connection to the topics that are timely and relevant to your prospects and customers. There is no secret to mining those riches other than offering more ways to make it easy and comfortable for your consulting team to share.
How are you building great content? Add a comment below or send me a note and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on July 06, 2016