In October 2012, Jeff Rohrs and I started the content marketing team at the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud with two people, a research series and a small blog. Under Jeff’s leadership over the course of the next year, we spent time investing heavily in content creation, working with the extremely talented interactive team on blog design, and transitioning into a global content publisher. We have since been added to the digital marketing team under Daniel Incandela and have grown exponentially under his leadership.  We’ve been lucky because the majority of ideas have worked and our people are the best at what they do. Here’s our hit list for 2012-2014 >

  • We now publish unique content on blogs in six countries.
  • Our research series spans multiple countries and languages.
  • We will hit 1,000,000 visits on the US blog in 2014 (up over 70% yoy).
  • Video is published for six countries (four languages) on our YouTube site. We manage relationships in each geo with subscriber counts growing 300% over the past year.
  • We have over 80 unique authors on the blog network.
  • Smart CTAs that deliver specific deliverables to readers based on content tagging and geography.
  • 200% increase in lead growth from the blog over the past year.
  • Influencing and contributing directly to millions of dollars in business for the company.

I honestly don’t know if there are any secrets to the success over the past year. I have definitely made plenty mistakes and my only redeeming factor is that I have a team that is more intelligent than I ever will be and a company that is comprised of the smartest people in the industry. Here’s the team – Bo DietrickTom CoreyHeike YoungTony MulinaroDrew BeechlerJen RibbleChad WhiteAndrea SmithJulie Easton, and Devon McGinnis.

So how did (do) we do it ?

  1. Understand and speak to industry trends. We spend hours upon hours reading and analyzing content that deals directly with industry trends. From snapchat to Amazon Cart, we are constantly developing content around technology shifts that may effect the marketer of tomorrow. It also keeps us informed and helps with our professional careers. 
  2. People are paramount. Like I said above, people are everything. I have definitely made plenty of mistakes and without a patient and extremely intelligent team we wouldn’t be as successful as we are today. Hire the right people and invest constantly.
  3. The translation process is extremely important to any global success. One thing we learned early on was the right translation partner is extremely important to scaling content globally. Errors within the translation process will screw up any timeline and will be extremely tiresome for any team to deal with… especially with non-english speaking locations.
  4. Content should be personalized. The personalization of content is a trend that we have been moving toward ever since the inception of the team in 2012. Right now, we personalize CTAs based on what an individual is reading on the blog and their location. In the near future, we will be using Predictive Intelligence to personalize much more than just the CTA content on each individual page. As content marketers, we should use data to deliver a more personalized experience to any reader.
  5. Analytics should be worshipped. We could always be better at this but the digital team at ExactTarget Marketing Cloud spends constant hours analyzing and testing content on all web properties. I believe that the success of our content is mostly due to our ability to analyze data and create great content. They go hand in hand.
  6. Spend money on your content. My good friend Jay Baer puts it best, “Your marketing should be so good… people would pay for it.” Create content that drives consumption to the point where people would be willing to pay for it. Is your content that good? If it is, you should be spending money advertising your content. It should be read and shared… most of the time you need to market your marketing.

Ultimately, a great content marketing team is focused on delivering the best content for their customers and readers. If the content is not helping the individual move forward in life… you better move other because someone is about to take your place.