Despite there being a host of content and social media books out there ‘Welcome to the Funnel’ has been described as one of the most practical due to its playlist of everyday tricks and welcoming advice to fill the top of your sales funnel. My pages worth of notes can certainly back up this statement.
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs describes it as:
“The book that delivers the how-to-know-how you need content that will deliver results for your organization"
Here are my top five favourite takeaways from the book:
We’re reminded that in our ever-connected world marketers cannot rely on being restricted to one marketing channel. The modern marketer needs to be a jack-of-all- trades and master the art of content, email, social, SEO and analytics and bring them into one seamless strategy to remain competitive. Jason Miller defines this as being a hybrid, a ‘Renaissance Marketer’.
Jason reveals that one of his most tried and tested blogging strategy’s is to think of the blog like a well-balanced diet which consists of five different food groups. People don’t like to eat the same food groups each day so you’ve got to mix it up and keep it interesting. By putting out a mix of practical tips, thought leadership, research, bold points of view and what he describes as interesting ‘Chocolate Cake’ content you can delight your customers every day of the week. An example of this approach is shown in the book as follows:
Monday - Keep it light top tips/practical how to’s etc.
Tuesday - Slightly heavier thought-provoking content
Wednesday - Something substantial – something to chew on for a bit
Thursday - Take a strong view on a hot topic or call someone out
Friday - Inject some fun and personality into your business
From one food analogy to the next, Miller shares how like the leftovers of a turkey we can re-purpose our existing content by slicing and dicing it into new formats comparable to the sandwiches and soups post-thanksgiving. The intent here is to audit your existing content and reimagine it in a new way.
One key takeaway was a reminder to visualize our content. Our ever depleting attention spans means that visual content consumption is an all-time high leading to the popularity and success of channels such as SlideShare and Instagram. If you’re not tapping into it in some way, then you‘re missing an opportunity to connect with your audience.
“There is always a new audience waiting to re-discover old content.”
Beyond the blogging tips the book suggests that in order to see successful results from a content marketing strategy, organisations should be aiming to produce one piece of ‘Big Rock’ content per quarter to feed their lead gen machine.
These are the super relevant all-encompassing guides (quarterly steaks in the ground) that own a conversation and answer all your customer’s answers.
“It’s not enough to churn out content for contents sake”
Miller has had great success in his role at LinkedIn with this type of content. His very own ‘Big Rock’ ‘The Sophisitcated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ drove an astonishing $4.6 million worth of business within the first half of 2014.
He stresses that you don’t need to have a huge budget to produce the content. Base it on articles you already have by focussing on a key theme, back it up with some key word research and make sure you treat it like you would a product or service with buy in from the senior team(s).
As a digital marketer myself the book’s last section around the qualities of a great content marketer were particularly useful. These were the three quotes that stuck out for me…
1.“If you can take your personality and inject it into what you do and the message you share; you'll be one step ahead in the content marketing game”.
2.“If your writing sucks so will your content.”
3.“Don’t take things personally. The importance of having thick skin is only going to become more important.”
‘Welcome to the Funnel’ is not a book that sits on the book shelf to be forgotten, it’s a book to have on your desk as a go to content bible.