Creating great content is only part of the content marketer’s challenge. Once you’ve become a frequent publisher of content, you still need people to find it and read it (and ideally share and link to it). Without an effective distribution and promotion strategy, your otherwise brilliant content will sit idle, unread and gathering dust. (And nobody wants that for their beloved content, right?)
That’s why a thoughtful strategy for distributing and promoting your content is essential. This can include email promotions, paid advertising, social outreach, and so on. But your website is the single most important tool for promoting your content.
Why You Need a Content Resource Center
The problem is: where do you put all your content? In the “old days” before the content marketing explosion, this was much easier – you could simply list a few whitepapers on a webpage and be done. But today, if you’re not careful you’ll end up with various kinds of content scattered all over your website. What should you do with all those recorded webinars, ebooks, guides, slideshares, infographics, third party content such as analyst reports, and so on?
This is exactly where a content resource center comes in. A content resource center is a section of your website where you can organize and publish your content in a way that makes it easy to find and share the content they need.
As Manya Chylinski wrote in the Content Marketing Institute, this can really make a difference for your customers and business, because:
- It enables customers and prospects to easily find the information they seek.
- It encourages serendipitous discovery of content. When prospects look on your resource page for one product line or in a particular market segment, they may also notice content that addresses other questions they have.
- It increases “stickiness” of your website. Customers are more likely to stay and browse when visiting a resource center because they know where to return to find updated content.
- It helps spread your influence. When content is easy to find and interconnected, people are more likely to share your links and recommend your content to their colleagues and clients.
I would add that a good resource center should serve as the hub of all your inbound marketing efforts. Done well it can support your search engine optimization and social media efforts, as well as your lead generation / website conversion efforts.
Here are a few examples of companies with resource centers that I admire–not surprisingly, they’re all companies that excel at content marketing.
SEOmoz provides SEO software, hosts a vibrant SEO community, and provides amazing content.
Velocity is a B2B marketing agency, with a specialty in content marketing.
OpenView Venture Partners is a venture capital firm that has truly embraced content marketing.
Like many companies (including Marketo), they don’t include their excellent blog in the resource center. One interesting thing is that OpenView Labs, the operational consulting arm of the VC firm, also has a blog which they use as a Resource Center.
KISSMetrics is a customer web analytics solution.
Announcing Marketo’s All New Resource Center
My last example is one that I’m particularly fond of: Marketo’s all new marketing content resource center. We’ve long had an online destination to host all our thought leadership assets, and it has served us well for many years. In fact, our old resource center was even featured in Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman’s book Content Rules (page 179)!
Today, we released a major upgrade to the resource center. Here are some of the features we built into it, and why.
Focused on Search and Discovery
At the same time, we wanted to give new visitors some guidance about the best topics, so we also included a set of links to the most popular types of content and categories of information.
Visual Merchandising of Featured Content
Category Pages Organized by Topic
This helps our customers, since typically a visitor is searching for information about a topic, not a type of information. Visitors don’t say “I want to download a whitepaper”, they say “I want information about marketing automation”. And it helps our SEO, since we get content-rich pages that can attract links and shares. New in this redesign is the ability to place rich, long-form content about the topic on the page, so a visitor can learn about their topic of interest right up top; this makes the page even more authoritative as well.
Note that we also have pages for each asset type (e.g. here’s the one for all our marketing ebooks). But the category-based organization is primary. Also note that we focus our resource center on early- and mid-stage content, so our resource center doesn’t have late-stage content such as customer case studies (yet).
Optimized Page for Each Resource
Extra-Intelligent Forms for Premium Content
On the other hand, sometimes we have Premium content that we want to use to convert leads. Typically, this is either mid-stage content, like an analyst report or buyer’s guide, or one of our flagship Definitive Guides. On our site, they are always marked with a lock icon.
However, even in those cases we don’t want to put a registration form in front of visitors that we already know are in our database. So, we’ve built intelligent forms that make a call to the Marketo API to determine whether we have contact information for a visitor. If we do not, they see a form (shown on the left above) and need to fill it out to get the premium asset; if we do have contact information, we simply say hello and let them download the asset with a single click. Pretty cool, huh?
Distinct Social Sharing and Company Follow
I’d like to say thank you to everyone who helped design and build this site, including Davis Lee, Lynn-Kai Chao, Glen Lipka, and Carina Boo from Marketo for design and user experience (plus some feedback from Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg); Nathan Brauer and Mikel Ward from Marketo and everyone from Adair Creative for development; Jeff Cowan for project management; and Dayna Rothman for managing all the content.
Please Share Your Thoughts
What do you think? Do you love the new resource center? Hate it? It’s still new, so let us know how else we can make it even more awesome.