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Time for a Content Reboot? Here’s How To Tell [Rose-Colored Glasses]

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Time for a Content Reboot? Here’s How To Tell [Rose-Colored Glasses]

A great content strategy doesn’t apply only to what you’re going to say. It also should shape and change what you’ve said in the past.

In The 4 C’s Formula: Your Building Blocks of Growth, entrepreneur coach Dan Sullivan talks about acquiring new capabilities (one of the titular 4 C’s). He wrote that a “new capability creates confidence ahead of it, but it also rearranges everything behind it,” and any jump in capability “automatically transforms both the past and the future.”

I love his idea that new capabilities give us new insights into how we acquired our existing capabilities. Essentially, he’s saying these new perspectives let us change the past.

They let us reboot our origin story – and all the other stories we tell.

New capabilities give you a new perspective on existing #Content. Use it to reboot your brand’s origin story, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For example, I’ve worked to refine my ability to take visionary yet esoteric ideas and help people break them down into workable, pragmatic plans. As I’ve improved at that capability, I’ve developed a new understanding of my past self. And that lets me reevaluate (and rewrite the stories of) the good and bad decisions I’ve made.

Applying these new perspectives to the past is easier than projecting them to the future. Research shows that people feel disassociated from who they believe they’ll become in the future.

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They even discount their existing capabilities when looking through the lens of their future selves. It’s as if we see our future selves as someone else.

You can reshape content for the future – and from the past

One of the most productive things you can do for your brand is to review the content your brand leaves in its wake. As you acquire new content capabilities, advance your story, and change your points of view, you’ll naturally evolve what your brand will say.

Take the opportunity to evolve what you’ve already said, too.

Does it sound like I’m suggesting you need a content audit? Well, you probably do.

Whenever I suggest an audit to a content or marketing team, exactly zero people volunteer to take it on. “Yay, let’s do another content audit!” said no one ever.

That’s understandable. A content audit requires a manual review of hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of assets to find ROTted (redundant, outdated, or trivial) content.

Someone must decide which assets to keep, which to change, and which to delete. Concerns over duplication, SEO, and old branding or outdated designs typically drive the decisions.

Inspiring? Not particularly.

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But reviewing past content through the lens of your new capabilities makes this tedious task much more interesting.

Reviewing past #content through the lens of your new capabilities makes content audits much more inspiring, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

That outdated white paper? How might you reimagine it knowing what you know now?

What about those amazing articles someone created years ago that were never promoted and thus never got traction? Why not reproduce them in your new template and promote them?

That series of webinars you did with a partner that later became a competitor? Feel free to delete them all.

In other words, what insight do you have now that changes how you see the content you created?

Don’t only reshape your future. Change the context of the past.

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How to decide what to reboot

I once had the privilege of talking with an extraordinary woman who handles investment strategy for consumer and entertainment media brands. She shared something the head of Marvel Studios told her about how they balance origin stories with the need to reboot popular hero arcs. (How many times have we seen the Spiderman origin story told in slightly different ways?)

Marvel sees new origin stories as a critical factor in keeping a story “alive” and relevant to new and different audiences. Audiences sometimes interpret these new stories as playing to the cultural zeitgeist (Black Panther and Ms. Marvel come to mind).

But the Marvel team doesn’t think of them or design them that way, she said.

Instead, Marvel considers rebooting origin stories as a form of co-creation with fans. They look at (and solicit, when possible) feedback from their most passionate audiences to understand when and how a reboot might be necessary or timely.

This is a great lesson.

Before you attempt that content audit, look to your fans to help you understand how to reshape your brand story.

Look to your brand’s fans to understand how to reshape your #content, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Think about who will co-create with you. Who are your passionate fans? Who knows your mythology –your journey – so well that they’d know when, how, and where a reboot would be appropriate? Who knows Rey stole the Jedi texts and put them on the Millennium Falcon? Find the people who know the equivalent of that detail from your brand stories.

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Gather with them. Listen to them. You don’t have to act on everything. They’re still your brand’s stories, after all.

But fans can help you reboot your stories at the right time.

In the past, old content wouldn’t survive. The physical space needed to store it and the time and effort required to reprint, reshoot, or otherwise recreate it meant that most old content got destroyed or became inaccessible.

Digital content changed all that. Now, it’s possible to keep everything. And it’s sometimes more expensive to address it at all. That’s why websites are bloated, blogs go back decades, and document repositories remain unorganized.

But that doesn’t mean they should stay that way.

As content practitioners, you’re creating the artifacts of your future every day. Treat them with the respect future treasures deserve.

But don’t forget to seize the opportunity to reshape past stories, too.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:

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Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just three minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries
Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.
 
Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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6 martech contract gotchas you need to be aware of

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6 martech contract gotchas you need to be aware of

Having worked at several organizations and dealt with many more vendors, I’ve seen my share of client-vendor relationships and their associated “gotchas.” 

Contracts are complex for a reason. That’s why martech practitioners are wise to lean on lawyers and buyers during the procurement process. They typically notice terms that could undoubtedly catch business stakeholders off guard.

Remember, all relationships end. It is important to look for thorny issues that can wreak havoc on future plans.

I’ve seen and heard of my share of contract gotchas. Here are some generalizations to look out for.

1. Data

So, you have a great data vendor. You use them to buy contacts and information as well as to enrich what data you’ve already got. 

When you decide to churn from the vendor, does your contract allow you to keep and use the data you’ve pulled into your CRM or other systems after the relationship ends? 

You had better check.

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2. Funds

There are many reasons why you would want to give funds in advance to a vendor. Perhaps it pays for search ads or allows your representatives to send gifts to prospective and current customers. 

When you change vendors, will they return unused funds? That may not be a big deal for small sums of money. 

Further, while annoying, processing fees aren’t unheard of. But what happens when a lot of cash is left in the system? 

You had better make sure that you can get that back.

3. Service-level agreements (SLAs)

Your business is important, and your projects are a big deal. Yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a prompt response to a question or action when something wrong happens. 

That’s where SLAs come in. 

It’s how your vendor tells you they will respond to questions and issues. A higher price point typically will get a client a better SLA that requires the vendor to respond and act more quickly — and more of the time to boot (i.e., 24/7 service vs. standard business hours). 

Make sure that an SLA meets your expectations. 

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Further, remember that most of the time, you get what you pay for. So, if you want a better SLA, you may have to pay for it.


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4. Poaching

Clients and vendors alike are always looking for quality people to employ. Sometimes they find them on the other side of the client-vendor relationship. 

Are you OK with them poaching one of your team members? 

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If not, this should be discussed and put into writing during the contract negotiation phase, a renewal, or at any time if it is that important.

 I have dealt with organizations that are against anti-poaching clauses to the point that a requirement to have one is a dealbreaker. Sometimes senior leadership or board members are adamant about an individual’s freedom to work where they please — even if one of their organization’s employees departs to work for a customer or vendor. 

5. Freebies

It is not unheard of for vendors to offer their customers freebies. Perhaps they offer a smaller line item to help justify a price increase during a renewal. 

Maybe the company is developing a new product and offers it in its nascent/immature/young stage to customers as a deal sweetener or a way to collect feedback and develop champions for it. 

Will that freemium offer carry over during the next renewal? Your account executive or customer success manager may say it will and even spell that out in an email. 

Then, time goes by. People on both sides of the relationship change or forget details. Company policies change. That said, the wording in a contract or master service agreement won’t change. 

Make sure the terms of freebies or other good deals are put into legally sound writing.

Read next: 24 questions to ask ABM vendors before signing the contract

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6. Pricing factors

There are many ways vendors can price out their offerings. For instance, a data broker could charge by the contact engaged by a customer. But what exactly does that mean? 

If a customer buys a contact’s information, that makes sense as counting as one contact. 

What happens if the customer, later on, wants to enrich that contact with updated information? Does that count as a second contact credit used? 

Reasonable minds could justify the affirmative and negative to this question. So, evaluating a pricing factor or how it is measured upfront is vital to determine if that makes sense to your organization. 

Don’t let contract gotchas catch you off-guard 

The above are just a few examples of martech contract gotchas martech practitioners encounter. There is no universal way to address them. Each organization will want to address them differently. The key is to watch for them and work with your colleagues to determine what’s best in that specific situation. Just don’t get caught off-guard.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


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About The Author

Steve Petersen is a marketing technology manager at Zuora. He spent nearly 8.5 years at Western Governors University, holding many martech related roles with the last being marketing technology manager. Prior to WGU, he worked as a strategist at the Washington, DC digital shop The Brick Factory, where he worked closely with trade associations, non-profits, major brands, and advocacy campaigns. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He’s also a Certified ScrumMaster. Petersen lives in the Salt Lake City, UT area.

Petersen represents his own views, not those of his current or former employers.

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