Smart Content Strategist Goes Way Beyond ‘Dummies’ for Salesforce

Editor’s observe: We’re sharing insights from Content Marketer of the Year finalists within the weblog earlier than we announce the winner at Content Marketing World in September. This is the primary yr we are going to title a Content Marketer of the Year in two classes – B2B and B2C. 

All content material, on a regular basis. If that’s not Heike Young’s private slogan, it most likely needs to be. Print. Digital. Audio. Video. Research. Blogs. Podcasts. Webinars. In-person occasions.

Every piece she creates displays a research-driven give attention to the client and suits right into a cross-platform plan supported by her homegrown toolkit for worker engagement. Her work at Salesforce, the place she’s senior supervisor of technique and insights, landed her on our checklist of B2B Content Marketer of the Year finalists this yr. 

Why she caught our eye: Heike’s one in all Salesforce’s prime bloggers, creator of the award-winning Marketing Cloudcast podcast, and co-author of the corporate’s first State of Marketing report. Not solely is she an impressive and prolific content material producer, she’s the brains behind a brawny content material advertising and marketing technique within the retail vertical that earns high-profile press protection and produces months of content material from a small set of blockbuster authentic analysis reviews.

Here’s a take a look at what goes into making a profitable B2B content material advertising and marketing technique.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Road Map to Success: Content Marketing Strategy Essentials

Start with a love of content material

This one isn’t a required ingredient for content material advertising and marketing technique, however it definitely helps.

You know the previous adage: Do what you like, and also you’ll by no means work a day in your life. If that’s true, Heike hasn’t ever labored. Instead, she’s spent years following what she says is her true calling.

From the time she studied literature at Anderson University, she got down to hone her abilities in quite a lot of media: A nightly information internship at a TV station and school radio reveals gave her the audio and broadcasting chops she’d later put to good use in her profession.

As an editor for the buyer division of the “For Dummies” books, Heike gained expertise synthesizing complicated subjects, capturing massive concepts, and remodeling data into one thing recent that resonated with the market. 

When print started to really feel like a sluggish trade, she moved to a social media company, the place she managed social and content material for a large raft of purchasers, together with the rapper 50 Cent’s headphone line, SMS Audio. Here, too, she gained new abilities and an understanding of the retail market that may show helpful.

Once she landed at Salesforce (as a part of its acquisition of ExactTarget), she put all this expertise to make use of on the company content material group, the place she launched the corporate’s first advertising and marketing podcast, the Marketing Cloudcast. The podcast gained the 2016 Content Marketing Award for greatest podcast/audio sequence and the 2017 Content Marketing Award for greatest content material advertising and marketing multi-year program. Listen to one in all her favourite episodes.

On that group, she utilized the analysis and content material distribution abilities she developed at ExactTarget, the place she’d co-authored Salesforce’s first State of Marketing report (which continues to be one of many firm’s most profitable thought management items) to content material throughout many product strains.

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Add a dedication to authentic analysis and content material “upcycling”

Today, Heike applies all her content material advertising and marketing information to Salesforce’s retail and client items vertical, the place she creates data-driven content material that helps retailers perceive the conduct, wishes, and wishes of their shoppers.

One instance of a big-rock asset she created for this group in 2018 was the Shopper-First Retailing analysis report. This detailed research gathered perception from three types of authentic analysis, in partnership with Publicis Sapient:

  • A behavioral research of 1.6 billion e-commerce visits and 500 million customers.
  • Survey responses from 6,000 shoppers.
  • In-person thriller customers at 70 brick-and-mortar retail websites.

Heike led the multipronged Shopper-First program, together with:

  • A weblog and infographic sequence.
  • A four-part webinar sequence.
  • Influencer outreach.
  • Podcast appearances, together with the Jason & Scot present and MarketingProfs.
  • Executive instructional occasions nationwide.

As a results of her group’s efforts, Shopper-First garnered front-page protection in USA Today and hundreds of thousands of media impressions. 

Heike says collaboration and open communication between completely different groups made all of it attainable. For Shopper-First and different reviews, she persistently works with information analysts, the weblog group, public relations, trade advertising and marketing, trade content material advertising and marketing, social media, gross sales, and past to make sure that analysis isn’t created in a vacuum. She credit her supervisor and fellow group members for being keen to tackle each massive and small analysis initiatives to handle related viewers issues with information.

Research ought to by no means be created in a vacuum, says @YoungHeike. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

A second Salesforce survey-based report that Heike led, Consumer Experience within the Retail Renaissance, earned protection in Adweek and different media shops.

The report as soon as once more fashioned the inspiration of a sturdy content material advertising and marketing technique all through 2018. The content material was activated throughout quite a lot of channels:

  • A digital hub with a launch video.
  • A weblog sequence throughout Deloitte Digital and Salesforce properties.
  • Presentations at Salesforce Connections and Dreamforce (the place it was a top-rated session within the retail observe).
  • Slides utilized in buyer conferences.

A core tenet of Heike’s content material technique: taking her content material on the street. Her analysis is pushed by the understanding that content material solely works if it resonates with the audience – and to resonate, you want shared experiences, connection, and firsthand information of what your viewers really needs to listen to from you.

#Content that resonates comes from shared experiences, connection, and engagement. @YoungHeike @carlajohnson Click To Tweet

So as a part of her position as a content material creator, she goes straight to the audience, assembly in individual with entrepreneurs and e-commerce executives at prime manufacturers and at trade occasions, together with Shoptalk and NRF, to ask what they give thought to present analysis and future plans.

These firsthand conversations give her invaluable perception to discover which content material belongings are essentially the most highly effective and related, and the way they will help or encourage audiences to resolve enterprise challenges. 

Heike and group proceed to create distinctive, authentic, and beneficial content material that will get shared and upcycled throughout many channels, together with LinkedIn video. A 30-second LinkedIn video Heike posted with traits and predictions concerning the new yr – which then drove to an organization weblog put up – was seen greater than 10,000 occasions.

Firsthand conversations assist @YoungHeike & group create authentic & beneficial #content material that will get shared. @carlajohnson Click To Tweet

Her group’s analysis isn’t restricted to long-form, both. For Amazon Prime Day 2019, Heike spearheaded the creation and rollout of quick-hitting retail predictions and a data-driven recap. This “flash report” content material burst included:

The real-time report earned Garf a spot on Yahoo Finance, amongst different top-tier protection.


Enable worker engagement

As with most profitable campaigns at massive B2B corporations, inner enablement performs an enormous position. Heike explains that the problem of inner enablement isn’t discovering extra sources to create content material – it’s ensuring the 35,000 Salesforce staff know concerning the content material, and may use, share, and advertise simply.

To put issues into perspective, she says, if each worker at Salesforce subscribed to the Salesforce advertising and marketing podcast she created, that podcast would possible be the No. 1 enterprise present on iTunes.

But if staff don’t know concerning the content material, or aren’t included in conversations about what future content material might be helpful, how can they be anticipated to share and assist it?

If staff don’t know concerning the #content material, how can they be anticipated to share it, asks @YoungHeike. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

To ensure they will, Heike piloted a brand new inner enablement technique for reviews in late 2017 by means of one thing referred to as insights toolkits, which have since change into a greatest follow throughout the group. The toolkits (hosted in an inner Quip doc) comprise all related hyperlinks to details about the content material items. This easy, but highly effective asset makes reviews and supporting content material simply accessible. The toolkits allow Salesforce staff to make use of, reuse, and share beneficial content material with only a couple clicks. Toolkits are getting used all through the Insights group for all new launches, with one other group already following its lead and implementing the same tactic.

Make it straightforward for your staff to make use of, reuse, & share beneficial #content material simply, says @YoungHeike. Read extra Click To Tweet

New options within the toolkits embody copy-and-paste statistics, entry to electronic mail templates for the gross sales division, and even movies created completely for inner use. By connecting employees to the content material’s imaginative and prescient and messages, staff change into empowered model ambassadors and thought leaders in their very own proper. A robust content material tradition unites staff, drives change, influences stakeholders, and builds delight.


Engaging content material outcomes from engaged strategists

Heike considers herself lucky to have been part of the expansion and evolution of content material advertising and marketing. She remembers having to elucidate what content material advertising and marketing was six or seven years in the past at any time when describing her job to others. Now she thinks the operate is extra extensively understood, as she is concentrated on creating and distributing content material as a software to teach, join, and encourage audiences.

Heike is aware of content material is extra highly effective when it could possibly reside on a number of platforms and inside completely different automobiles, and her cross-functional methods assist each inner and exterior audiences discover, interact, and join with the content material and the Salesforce model behind it.

Be there in individual to study who will win B2B and B2C Content Marketer of the Year. And when you’re at Content Marketing World Sept. Three-6, study abilities and instruments to broaden your personal content material advertising and marketing success. Register right this moment utilizing code CMIBLOG100 to save lots of $100. 

Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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