As many of you know, we did a content marketing campaign using SlideShare.net for our WordPress Issue. You can view our post WordPress as an Economic Development Tool for Armenia or directly on SlideShare Here. We were so successful that we were asked us to write a feature article on CommPRO.biz, a leading Public Relations and Marketing website in the United States.
Here it is republished: The essence of content marketing is creating valuable content to pull and convert customers toward a product or service – and maybe even a country. Through quality content marketing, you are able to inform, entertain, and educate through engaging and optimized web content, eBooks, white papers, infographics, video, and blog posts so that target audiences, influencers and decision-makers recognize, like, and trust your brand enough to do business with you. You already know this, but do CMOs, CFOs, and CEOs get it? They may hear whispers that “content is king,” but are not yet sold on the idea of investing in a full-scale content marketing initiative. And, they are going to expect you to demonstrate a return for that investment. Think, too, about how a country communicates with specific audiences with messages that build and strengthen an economy or an industry sector. Everyone talks “content marketing,” but few seem to have a clear direction about developing the best strategy. What tools to use? Videos, Info Graphics, Featured Articles, Whitepapers; there are so many different types of content to create in so little time and with minimal resources. At iTechnologies.am, we have written several articles on the importance of Content Marketing, but this time we decided to put our words into action and do it ourselves. Armenia is a country, not a corporation. It is small, poor, landlocked and a former Soviet country that is rich in human resources. Stimulating the development of its technology industry could open new opportunities for this emerging democracy in a region at the crossroads of Asia and Europe.
The challenge was and continues to be: how can we drive awareness of Armenia around the world and technology development within the country at the same time? The average traffic to iTechnology.am is about 400-800 readers among our three languages of Armenian, English and Russian per article. But, we wanted to multiply that by ten times what had been our normal audience reach. With such a high traffic objective, it was critical to take qualified audience-building to a new level. In the process, we learned four valuable lessons:
- Get out of your own skin Content marketing is all about “driving traffic to your website.” Well Armenia’s audience is good for a niche market, but to reach the 10-fold metric, a different media type and outlet to distribute our content was a must. We chose Slideshare.net because it would allow us to focus on graphics and interaction to tell our story, not just editorial to educate (which is still effective because you are reading this). Slideshare is easy to use and will reformat the presentation into a web object that can be embedded in other web sites. Thus, content can not only be shared, but it will “live” on multipul internet sites [see the embed below as an example].
- Think beyond your brand Understand what ecosystem your business lives in and ask yourself why anyone should care to learn more about your industry, or service/product category – or in this case, economic business development using WordPress. The brand here is the Armenian technology industry, which is highly specialized and would not interest too many people. In the process of figuring out how we could break through that barrier, I remembered something my grandfather would always say, “the only way to catch a fish is to use a worm.” That was it! We used WordPress as the worm. But we decided to use a net, not just one hook. We created a presentation that would feature WordPress and its millions of users. By thinking beyond the brand we were able to cast a much wider, deeper net. Then we sought to enhance engagement and build interest by linking the interests of the audience in a relevant way to Armenia’s so that making the pitch would resonate and lead to action.
- Conduct research Creating content requires time and research. Authenticity and concern about the greater good of promoting the technology industry in Armenia was critical. This is where hiring an experienced journalist or public relations professional can sometimes come in handy. Our research showed that the vast majority of WordPress users were not only large international brands, but most were small companies in developing countries. So our research provided actionable insights that formed the base to create a connection between our content and our goal of promoting Armenia: focus on using WordPress as an economic development tool.
- Promote As we all know, ‘write and they will come’ no longer works. If you are investing the time and resources to create real fantastic content, there needs to be a measurable ROI. A well crafted distribution plan is mandatary – niche media journalists, social media, paid placements, and guest blogging. The key is to go where the audience will benefit from your content and enlarge your fishing net. This campaign required pitching blogger and online communities that we had never contacted before and in countries all around the world.
We knew that it would be best to promote on LinkedIn because of its abundance of WordPress professionals in the LI community. Within a few hours of commencing outreach, we knew we were doing something right when we received an email from Slideshare Full Disclosure – even though we included traditional media in our campaign, like writing this article, the full package of tactics comprised the total “out of the box” strategy. We have now extended our “net” from the WordPress community to the communications industry. As you can see by the numbers below, we have created an incredibly successful content marketing campaign. Now we are recasting our net in this market so we can make our pitch and expand awareness of the Armenian tech industry to even more people - that is content marketing. Please view the presentation and campaign statistics below, and if you would like to learn more about the technology industry in Armenia.
Our Results: Over 188,000 Views It was like one of those TV commercials where people just keep coming and the numbers keep increasing. At one time, I went to get coffee, and upon my return we had received another 5000 additional views. Many of the views actually came directly from SlideShare.net. as a result, we were selected as one of the featured presentations on their home page for a day, plus the “Hot on LinkedIn” list — delivered unexpected gift of over 20,000 additional views. Google Analytics shows that we successfully cast a net around the world. Some important statistics to focus on are the average number of page views [1.64] and time spent on the site [4:40]. These numbers are telling. We were able to do what good content marketing should do: have people read the content and then explore your site to find out more. Good luck with your next Content Marketing campaign and I hope our story about how a small country was able to grab the attention of key audiences and influencers around the world inspires you.
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