How To Use Content To Build An 'Influencer Architecture'

How do you effectively distribute your content to your target market?

This was the topic of discussion at a stimulating lunch I had recently with Sally Maw, Regional Marketing Manager - APAC for Clearswift.

Sally and I realised early on that because buyers are changing the way they research their problems, they face and get educated on the issues they need to consider, let alone start evaluating specific vendor solutions; our current tried and trusted methods of distribution for our valuable, educational content would have to change as well.

Buyers spend a high proportion of their time researching online. We need to get our content in front of them, we need to "get found" where these buyers hang out. For example, this would include the evolving professional networks on which buyers rely for advice and guidance from their peers (LinkedIn is the predominant online professional network in Australia having just topped 3 million account holders in March 2012, roughly 60% of Australia's professional population). Social media does play an important role in lead generation.

But we also recognised that good old-fashioned email communication works very well once you are engaged with a prospect and you are nurturing them down the funnel. In discussing the various companies at which we had worked and the clients we had, we also figured out that one size doesn't fit all and that different industries worked differently and preferred different styles and types of communication.

We concluded that we needed a new term to influencerdescribe this environment. We decided that each organisation must build an "Influencer Architecture." We must map the buyer problems we solve to our core messages, to different content types buyers want to consume and different content distribution tools across each of the stages of the buyer's journey.

Buyer's Problem x Message x Content x Channel x Buyer's Stage.

So for example, to influence a new target market that are unaware of g2m Solutions' offerings we would be operating at the top of the funnel or the buyer's journey. Our content would be delivered via comments and questions posted to 5 targeted LinekdIn groups from which our research has told us our targets are members. Our comments and questions highlight a free educational piece of thought leadership available on a landing page on our site. New members of our target audience are (hopefully) sufficiently impressed to visit our site and download the paper. We now have an early stage lead.

Compare that to an exisiting client with whom we work on their strategic marketing plan. We have identfied them as a target for our outsourced marketing services. We have opted them into an email nurture campaign. Our message, built around the problems businesses face with consistent marketing execution, is delivered via 4 emails over a 12 week period and culminates in an invitation to a webinar. At that webinar we present case studies and take questions. This content is aimed at proving our capabilities and removing any barriers to engaging with our sales team.

Clearly these are just two pillars of our influencer architecture but illustrate how influence can be exerted differently over buyers by using content at different stages of their buying journey. Add to this, other important influencers who exert sway over your buyers and you have a complex picture to paint. Communications should also be targeted at:

  • Partners
  • Journalists
  • Analysts (industry and financial)
  • Trade associations, professional associations
  • Industry lobby groups

If you're interested in learning more about building an influencer architecture as part of developing a sustainable lead "engine" for your business we have written this complmentary eBook.

Race for quality leads ebook

What do you think about the idea of an Influencer architecture? Have we developed a useful "formula?" What would you add?

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Topics: content marketing b2b marketing lead nurturing buyer behaviour