I am launching Dade Paper’s content marketing hub this week and I’m pretty darn excited about it. I became interested in content marketing a while back, finding myself reading blogs, articles, and white papers as well as enjoying the trend of infographics, how-to videos, and other solution-oriented material. I became convinced that this style of communication was going to be increasingly important for B2B sales organizations and it was time to join in the conversation.
At the time, Dade Paper had a great deal of traditional customer-facing sales content. We had dozens of quality sales-collateral pieces, a catalog, a website, a even a few segment-specific micro-sites. An audit of these assets cataloged 50 unique items. But what was missing was a well-thought out solution-oriented content marketing plan. How could our organization provide more value to our customers by providing helpful information?
Not being one to jump into the deep end of anything, yet excited by the prospect of expanding our marketing reach, I created a timeline mapping out the steps to take in preparation for adding this style of communication to our portfolio.
One important step was to learn more about what makes content marketing useful, discoverable, sharable and therefore successful. I found myself reading and viewing a lot of content about, well, content. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. I followed content marketing experts, like Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute. I read lots of books and articles on the subject and thought carefully about how best to develop, curate and share content for Dade Paper’s stakeholders. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there on this topic. Google it and you’ll see what I mean.
I spoke, quite enthusiastically, with my colleagues in sales management about the plan. I explained what content marketing is, and what its not, and how it would supplement our traditional features and benefits marketing. I talked about how we could assemble content from within our own organization by tapping into the knowledge base we have within our own experienced team members. Then we could curate and share that information with our customers, employees, and beyond. They were supportive! Let’s hope they are still supportive when I tap them to contribute to the editorial calendar for this coming year.
One of the first new pieces of content I worked on was an infographic about our company, designed to introduce our capabilities to potential customers. Just the basic information presented in a one-page visual. I worked with the folks at InfoNewt and came up with the Dade Paper At-A-Glance Infographic. This was a completely different way of telling the Dade Paper story. It resonated well with some of my colleagues but some were unsure of this new icon-based representation of our story. I believe in the infographic format and look forward to working on more data visualizations in the coming year and proving the value of visual.
My next target for content acquisition was our supplier partners. As a distributor, we partner with world-class, global manufacturing organizations to sell their products to end-users. They all have libraries of well-researched and professionally-designed content. We sell their products, why not share their content? So far, this has revealed a treasure trove of valuable material.
The foodservice and janitorial industries also have professional associations and niche publishers that serve the industry members with thoughtfully written pieces. More great sources! What was becoming quite clear was that Dade Paper could become an aggregator of high-quality content and that we could act as editor and curator in addition to a producer.
My next challenge was how to present the meaningful content I had started to assemble to our, hopefully, hungry-for-information audience. I wanted everything to present well on both a desk-top monitor as well as a mobile device. I wanted the content to be discoverable, shareable and most of all, helpful. There are a few options such as LinkedIn and WordPress that would meet some of our needs, but not all. Then I came across the hub platform. A content hub is a website that connects various inputs such as blog posts, tweets, PDFs, white papers, videos, infographics, RSS feeds, etc. in one dashboard.
That takes us up to the present. I have assembled Phase 1 of Dade Paper’s hub and posted it online. There is more work to be done, more content to develop and curate, and adjustments to be made based on user engagement and feedback. I hope you will visit Dade Paper’s hub at www.dadepaperhub.com and take a look around. Check out the material, share the content you like with your network, comment and ask questions. One of our goals for this project is to start conversations that are relevant to our stakeholders. Your feedback is welcome and encouraged!
Thanks for reading my first blog post. Over and out for now from The Paper Trail.
-Laura Craven, Director of Communications for Dade Paper