Lee Odden, one of the speakers at Content Marketing World 2012, posted a series of blog posts with interviews about content marketing. The different interviews were also summarized in an eBook with content marketing lessons. Lee, who launched his book Optimize in Europe at our Fusion Marketing Experience Antwerp 2012 conference among others interviewed Michael Brenner from SAP on content marketing.

Michael Brenner, Sr. Director, Global Marketing at SAP, believes that he has spent his entire career doing content marketing. The difference now is that people are more aware of the role of effective content in marketing strategies. However, according to Brenner, good marketing has always been less about promotion and more about helping buyers, and the current push toward content marketing simply reflects this.

What other content marketing lessons does Brenner have?

Why content marketing matters: buyers are searching

Michael Brenner, (who also co-founded Business2Community and blogs on B2B Marketing Insider) named three key points from his presentation at the Content Marketing World Conference on transforming organizations so that they can be successful with content marketing. The first is that buyers don’t get their information from vendors as they once did. In other words, buyers have a number of options for finding out more about a product, and marketers must respond to that. The second point is that marketing is rarely done well. His final point is that brands must now become publishers, as content marketing guru and Content Marketing World organizer Joe Pulizzi says.

There is no real distinction between digital marketing and content, according to Brenner. He feels it is crucial for marketers to push content marketing to its rightful place as a vital part of any marketing strategy.

Content marketing lessons: 3 tips

Brenner offered content marketing suggestions as well for long term strategies.

  1. First, organizations are already staffed by people who are experts on certain aspects of the company’s products or services. Those people should be encouraged in content creation and brand building.
  2. Secondly, content must not remain static. Brenner suggests companies model themselves after news sites to keep content fresh.
  3. Finally, he points out that no organization has an endless capacity for content generation. This is where a company’s talent for curating content will serve them well.

Three important tools will aid marketers in their objective:

  1. Marketers need both a strategy and a strategist.
  2. They need effective content management systems.
  3. And they need a way to find more content and more writers to produce that content.

The effectiveness of content marketing and the shift towards inbound marketing

Brenner offers solutions as well for marketers who need to convince higher-ups of the effectiveness of content marketing. Good content is the key. With good content, people will be drawn to the sites. This can then be measured and shown to potential allies as a demonstration of how content marketing works. To determine if the content is the kind that’s needed, marketers can look at the keywords driving users to the site. This gives them the information they need about the audience to refine the search terms. Brenner cautions that it’s also important to look at percent of leads and how lead generation is stacking up against that of similar organizations.

Good marketing, Brenner feels, is neither difficult nor expensive. The challenge for marketers is to use content to draw customers in rather than pushing out to find customers. In other words, the switch is from outbound to inbound marketing techniques. Brenner strongly feels that considering the customer first and foremost results in the best situation for the company and the customer. The company increases its revenue, and the customer feels valued.

Nice content marketing insights and thoughts and a great content marketing eBook by Lee Odden and the people of Content Marketing World 2012.