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|Renato||I am Renato Beninatto.|
|Michael||And I’m Michael Stevens. And today we have an interesting conversation, Renato, don’t we?|
|Renato||Yes, it’s a topic that is very close to us; it’s the whole concept of taking content to global markets.|
|Michael||So, we’ve got a great guest. She’s the author of the book Global Content Marketing. And let’s let Pam introduce herself.|
|Pam||This is Pam Didner, and Michael and Renato thank you for inviting me to your podcast, much appreciate it. So, a little about myself. I worked at Intel which is a major corporation for about 20 years, and I left Intel and wrote a book about global content marketing, and I know that Michael said that he read the book, thank you so much. And for this podcast I would like to talk about global content marketing. After Intel, wrote a book, and decided to become a poor author, and here I am. I’ve been doing a lot of workshops and speaking, and I also take on independent consulting projects.
By the way, I can speak Chinese [untranslated Chinese example]
|Renato||Very good. One of the things that many of our listeners don’t know is about 40% of the listeners to Globally Speaking come from China. This is why this is very relevant to our guests in China, our listeners in China.|
|Michael||Pam has your book been translated into Chinese yet?|
|Pam||Yes, it has been translated to Chinese. It was translated by University Press, actually. It’s very interested they translated the title from Global Content Marketing to Chief Content Officer. That’s really the name of the book. Because it was translated by Dōngnán dàxué chūbǎn shè, which is Dōngnán University Press, so I don’t think it’s widely displayed in the Chinese book stores, and I think it’s actually online, unfortunately.|
|Renato||Why unfortunately? We can put a link in the page about this podcast afterwards.|
|Michael||Yes, so people will know where to find you and get in touch with you if they’re looking for it and having trouble. Probably, most of your other work stemmed from the research and the work you did related to your book. Let’s start at the beginning. You make the statement as a marketer or business owner, creating content for multiple markets, the first step to globalizing your content is a mindset change. What do you mean by that?|
|Pam||Good question. What I have noticed working at a corporation, and I’m speaking from probably on the client side, if you will, for this specific question, is that when a lot of marketers, especially if they reside in the headquarters, and they are working closely, say, with a local team on the ground, they have the tendency – I’m not saying all of them – to tell the locals what to do. Or, they will give the information and finished content to the local team and expect them to do something about it.
When I say a mindset change is before you even create a piece of content, you need to solicit feedback, actually, from the local team and understand their needs and incorporate that if possible or, if it makes sense, sometimes it doesn’t. And incorporate that into your content creation. So, rather than sharing a finished piece of content to them and expect them to localize and translate, take their needs up front and incorporate that, proactively incorporating that, and that will help the local team tremendously.
So, that’s what I meant by mindset change. We all have a tendency – including myself – when I need to get something done, I want to get it done as quickly as possible, so I can check it off .and that’s very true a lot of time on content creation and on top of it we are all under a very pressed deadline in terms of getting things done. So, you need to allow a little bit of lead time and to gather that information from the local team. I think it’s very critical to do that.
|Renato||We hear stories, we like to hear stories, and what you have described seems to be a very common problem. It’s part of our day-to-day lives. Give me an example of something that was done right and how different it was from something that was done in the traditional way without regard to the local markets. Can you think of any situations where everything was done right and you avoided spending more money or you avoided making stupid mistakes or just doing unnecessary work?|
|Pam||The case I can think of is when I was working at Intel and, like I said, I like to get things done, so I have a tendency to create something and share that with the local team - boom, boom, boom, boom. And what I have noticed is a lot of the time I share the information or content with them, they tend to ignore and they will say “okay, but that really doesn’t apply” and they will allocate their own local budget and try to create something totally different. So, all of a sudden I create a content that is only being used, say, in the US, or North America but, really, nobody was adapting it. And the, they have to create something totally different. All of a sudden, you are spending money on two ends, right?
Then, of course, the drawback of gathering the feedback from the local team is the lead time. You tend to be a lot longer. All of a sudden, I cannot really churn out the content [clicks fingers] or more content, if you will, on a quarterly basis, I end up slowing down and then use the money and use the time to gather their feedback. I create less content but that’s something that local teams can actually use.
In the end, the total cost is less and also the content usage was actually more at the local level. So, I end up creating less but the drawback is taking a longer time to actually create content that the local team can use.
|Pam||In this situation it works well if it’s long form-content; for example, a white paper, or any content that the local team can leverage. So, long-form content you can do that, but in terms of short-form content there is some content from my perspective is not necessary. I need to create. I will make sure that local team have a say and are autonomous to make a decision what that would be.|
|Renato||That’s a very good differentiation. The long form content is more expensive, also, to create and to generate and that’s where you want to focus the effort and get input from everybody. So, today you don’t want to be having a meeting to generate a tweet, but you might have a meeting to create a white paper.|
|Pam||That’s right. The tweet is kind of interesting too. The tweet will come into play when you have a long-form content created. Here’s the thing about long-form content. In the past you can create a long-form content and you can pass that to a local team, and you can consider your job done because they will take that localize it, translate it, whatever is necessary and they also work on the promotion side of things.
But, now, when you create long-form content, it’s not just long-form content that you create. If you are very, very good, and you are very considerate as a headquarters team member, you will do a couple of things. You actually create a kit for that long-form content. What I mean by that is for that long-form content which is a PDF – let’s assume it’s a PDF – you give it to them. You also can create proposed tweets, create four or five proposed tweets and attach to this long-form content as a part of the tool kit. You can also create a couple of the proposed tweets if you use Facebook or LinkedIn. So, you create some sort of copy that a local team can actually leverage.
On the top of it you can also make a suggestion. Like, for this long-form content, what are the couple of things that a local team can do to repurpose and make them a short-form content? Can they take a couple of paragraphs that they can write a blog post? Can they take a couple of key points that they can do a quick three-minute white-board drawing video? So you can actually come up with a couple of recommendations to share with the local team. The local team, they don’t necessarily have to adapt it but give them some ideas what they can do better from syndication and communication and promotions perspective.
So, moving forward, what I see for the headquarters team is not just creating content anymore, it’s how to create a kit and tell them how they can use this long form content a little bit more effectively for different channels. Is that helpful?
|Michael||Absolutely. You are helping guide the process, rather than simply dictating it and throwing it over the fence.|
|Michael||That’s what it sounds like to me. The meat of your book really focuses on the four principles to help guide that process, if I’m connecting the dots here appropriately. You talk about the four Ps and one of the results of that four Ps may be this long-form content kit for people, is that correct?|
|Pam||Yes, it is. It is more focused on long- form content and also the collaboration between the headquarters and the local team.|
|Renato||What are the four Ps?|
|Pam||Actually, the four Ps is very simple and is not complicated. If you think about the whole content marketing process, and a lot of the folks who are listening, some of them are on the client side, some of you on the agency side, but a lot of you are actually creating content. So, if you have some sort of road map, you know what kind of content you need to create and, obviously, you create the content and those content that have been created cannot just sit there. You need to promote and you need to syndicate the content out to the target audience, and then you have to somehow measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
So, that’s pretty much the whole cycle of content marketing. So, I put a structure to it, and I call it the four Ps, which is plan, produce, promote and perfect. That’s four Ps. Plan is to set up a strategy before execution. Earlier I was talking about you need to have some sort of roadmap; you need to have some sort of editorial or some sort of topics or some sort of content plan. So, that’s a plan. Set of strategy before execution.
Produce. Obviously, a lot of you understand; it’s creating content that matters. And promote is to syndicate and distribute content, obviously, in a digital format, especially if you are doing massive digital marketing and everybody is aligned. Perfect is measure and optimize and, hopefully, TO drive the impact for your marketing efforts. So, that’s pretty much your four Ps, plan, produce promote, and perfect. See, not too hard is it!
|Michael||It’s pretty straightforward. One thing I heard this week related to perfect from an author was “if the tweet does not repeat you must delete”. So, if you put content out there that doesn’t get shared, get it out of there, it’s no good anymore.|
|Pam||Yes. But the problem is we cannot, we don’t necessarily hit a home run every single time when we tweet, and it’s kind of like playing baseball, that’s a bad analog, but you know what I’m talking about. It’s just a matter of getting the stuff out there and then you have to monitor it, you have to understand what kind of copy or what kind of language tends to get shared. If it doesn’t get shared you try to change it or refine and optimize it as you go.
The marketing effort is really a continuous journey, if you will, of optimizing and refining and optimizing and refining. You don’t necessarily get a home run or massive hit or instant viral from the get-go. It’s just a matter of doing it but be able to track it and monitor it and see what you need to change on a regular basis.
|Michael||The difference between what we receive now and what may have happened in the past is oftentimes you get instantaneous feedback, you’re not even looking at how many times something is downloaded from your site…|
|Pam||True. I 100% agree.|
|Michael||Yes, you sort of have an audience for a company; people either respond or don’t, and then you have some data to refine and work on your marketing strategy to go back to that first step that you mention which is plan.|
|Renato||You talk about a content management cycle. What do you mean by the content management cycle? Is this the four Ps, or is there something more to that?|
|Pam||Yes, it is.|
|Michael||So, it ties back to the ability of the marketer to hit their goals, especially globally. You have this quote that I loved. “Content design and experiences all have something in common. All of them are hard to translate into sales figures, even though we all know they are important investments.” Can you talk a little bit about that challenge because I know a lot of companies, that’s how they choose to budget, how they choose to invest is based upon what has ROI. So, how does global content marketing push that conversation forward and be able to say “hey, we were responsible for this”?|
|Pam||Okay. That’s actually a very good question. It’s very hard to measure the effectiveness of the content. I’m just going to put that out there. It’s hard to do it. From my perspective, a piece of content, it’s kind of like a piece of furniture – and I say that in my book – if you buy a $5,000 leather hand-made customized sectional sofa, if you put that piece of furniture which is $5,000 in a warehouse, that’s not going to show the impact or the value of that sofa. However, if you put that in a very nice living room, you decorate it with beautiful lamps and nice accessories and a piece of painting, even though it’s a very cheap painting, and you put the nice things around it, all of a sudden that piece of furniture shows its value. So, I always say content is like a piece of furniture. You need something around it to showcase that effectiveness or the value of the content.
So, how does that translate? The way to actually showcase the value of content is that content only shines if they are part of something, just like that piece of furniture. It will only show its value when it’s a part of, say, a room that makes sense and is appropriate for that furniture.
Content only makes sense or it can shine if they are a part of a marketing channel. So, the blog post really doesn’t mean anything if it’s just a blog post. It has to be situated in a fairly nice well done website or when you promote that blog post with a nice image, with a little short copy, needs to be a very nice email template. If you want to post it on Facebook, and you want to drive traffic for people to actually view that blog post you need to have nice short copy with an image on the Facebook post.
So, the content only means something when they’re a part of the marketing channels. Because of that you have to negotiate with whoever is working on the email marketing, whoever is doing the social media, whoever is doing the pay media using your content. You need to understand how they track their effectiveness, social media managers, probably they have certain kinds of metrics that they are responsible for. The email marketing percent that is a certain metrics, they are responsible. You need to be part of the metrics, you need to co-own the metrics.
So, for the content marketer, your job is obviously to support them. Then, you need to make that very clear to them that you need to co-own that. Then, all of a sudden, it becomes a discussion, a negotiation in terms of what is the percentage of your contribution to that effort. Does that make sense? So, from my perspective, the only way and you can tell me and I welcome anybody sending me an email and tell me there are other ways to measure the effectiveness of content.
|Renato||Here’s a question that I have. There is a value chain associated with content; there is content, there is pre-sales content, and there is after-sales content. Pre-sales content is easy, it has all the money, and it’s marketing; it’s attracting the clients, it needs to be beautiful, it’s that couch in the living room. But, you have a lot of stuff in the warehouse, how do you handle that, how do you make that after-sales support instructions, how-tos and things like that, global? Because, that’s where you have to be more efficient in your localization dollars, it’s in the after-sales because there’s very little budget, more content but very little budget there.|
|Pam||Yes, I understand where you’re coming from. The post-sales part is actually pretty hard, you are totally right. Including sales people, they’re all focused on before-sales, right? Once the sale is closed you don’t hear from anybody; you don’t hear from marketers, you don’t hear from the sales team, and it’s the customer service people that tend to get a hit with all that follow-up they have to do. I don’t have a solid answer for you, to be honest. I don’t want to just give you an answer and pretend I know the answer; I don’t. For this, I think every company is struggling. They tend to more focus on the pre-sales and try to get sales closed in any way possible, and a post-sale is not something that a lot of companies focus on. That’s why they allocate very little budget and nobody really pays attention to it.
The way I would see, there are two things, or at least I can see to actually help, maybe minimize this issue a little bit, that the trend is there, that people are not paying attention to it. And the challenge is how do you get the management to pay attention to it.
For the post-sales any kind of content that you create, I would try to understand the customer service side which, in a lot of companies, they have customer services or the call centers. What are they doing to actually support that post-sales? We need to understand what kind of metrics they actually create and share with the management and understand how they get their budget to actually support the post-sales, especially customer services.
I always tell the people that come to my sessions, you need to understand how the budget flows in your companies because budgets dictate behavior. So, can you try to understand when the budget is allocated for post-sales, especially for customer services, how that budget flows and how the metrics are reported back to the management. If you understand that you can somehow see that for your budget or whatever you are doing and how you can support that better and see if you can pitch to them, or as a part of that organization, to actually elevate your concern.
|Renato||This is the very key point there. I liked what you said because I’d like to summarize that and say follow the content and follow the money. If you know who creates the content, you know who pays for it, then you can exert influence in that process.|
End of conversation
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