Sean Hargrave
Sean Hargrave 31 March 2020

Coping With Coronavirus Part 3: Content Syndication, Email and LinkedIn

In part three of our “Coping with Coronavirus” series, we look at how senior marketers are using content syndication to boost email and social content discovery.

The feedback from the martech and adtech industries is very clear. With events cancelled, businesses are having to be far more creative in how they make up for hundreds, or even thousands, of leads that attending conferences would have earned.

The focus now is on webinars and content marketing to populate the top end of their sales funnel funnels. We saw in part two of this series that vendors are feeding the middle of the funnel with more granular content to show they understand the issues felt in a particular industry or job role. At the end of the funnel, it’s still a case of moving to a more personal conversation over email and one-to-one demonstrations (albeit via video conferences or mini webinars).

The question remains then, when seeking to populate the top of the funnel, which channels work? Speaking to leading industry experts, there appears to be a consensus that email and social, most notably LinkedIn, are the best combination alongside amplifying content to reach new audiences via a content aggregator.

Email and LinkedIn  

For Anthony Botibol, VP of Marketing at BlueVenn, SEO is far and away the best channel for inbound lead generation because a visitor is actively looking for information about the company’s platform. Of course, for SEO to lead potential buyers to your site, rather than a rival’s, you need to have engaging content.

For getting this great content out to people who are not actively searching for it, he believes many companies may not always be fully exploiting their own email database. His experience is that email and social work particularly well together, although brands will normally need to put money behind posts to amplify their reach to the correct audience.

“We use LinkedIn to put out white papers, thought leadership, blogs and ebooks,” he says.

“I’ve never seen any real commercial return from Twitter. I think we could quite happily turn it off and never notice. LinkedIn’s far better for leads, although they’re not always the best quality.

“Email and LinkedIn are also a good way to promote webinars which are a good source of leads. We work on a general presentation initially which then leads to one-to-one demonstrations.”

Awareness through syndication

Botibol believes there is little point in investing in creating quality content if it is not amplified by a content syndicator which can help a company reach people they are not connected to on social or through email.

“We’re big fans of content syndication, although you have to make sure you work with a reputable company because there are some cowboys out there,” he says.

“We do a lot of work with [Digital Doughnut sister brand] Demand Exchange which works really well for us. It allows us to put our content out to a wide variety of its partner publishers. We turned it off for a couple of weeks to see if there was a difference and, to be blunt, leads went down significantly so we turned it back on again.

“Content syndication is a great way of not just getting your name out there but also building up an email database to whom you can carry on a conversation with and send content to directly. It’s more about awareness to get people into the top of the funnel, rather than driving up sales in the short-term.”

For John Horsley, Founder of Demand Exchange, there are several benefits of amplifying content but the most obvious is technology vendors reaching people beyond their own sites.

“There’s been a trend for tech companies to put their details about their technology and thought leadership in a ‘resources’ section of their website,” he says.

“The problem with that is it obviously only reaches people that already know enough about the brand to be on its website and it’s unlikely they will hand over contact details. With a content aggregator, such as Demand Exchange, your content can be added to resource centres placed across multiple B2B marketing and advertising industry sites.”

This not only opens up substantial new audiences, beyond a brand’s own website, it can also help bring in useful contact data for follow-up emails or calls.

“When a lead downloads content they pass over their contact details so you don’t just get added reach and awareness, you get good-quality lead data,” he says.

“We find we can get far better-quality data because we background check telephone numbers and email addresses. So, unlike most brands’ sites or other publishers, you don’t get a bunch of downloads from Mickey Mouse at a personal email address.”

At a time when marketers were expecting the top of their sales funnels to be filled by now-postponed conferences, the channels of choice for generating new leads are clearly email, LinkedIn and content syndication.

Sadly, one probably has to accept there are going to be fewer Holy Grail customers who are in-market and actively searching for relevant keywords for an imminent investment in their next martech platform.

This makes it all the more important to get engaging content in front of a new audience to enrich email databases, reach more contacts on LinkedIn and generate awareness with new leads through content syndication.  

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