Now a successful freelance copywriter, content marketer, and strategist for SaaS brands - including WoodWing - Libby considers herself a professional evangelist for transformative tech for marketers.
Libby, thank you for joining us. Demand for content - and content writers - is huge right now. The rise of content marketing shows no signs of slowing. Why do you think marketers are so committed to investing in content?
To me, the first benefit of content marketing is that it’s pull, not push. It’s intentional, not intrusive. Instead of pushing out ads that might not be relevant, you pull them to you when they’re actively looking for something you can provide. So they’re more receptive to you. That’s a big plus.
It’s a key part of the evolution from a transactional to a relationship approach to marketing.
Content is about moving from a mindset that asks ‘What can we get from prospects?’ to one that says ‘What can we give to prospects?’.
I think of it as strategic altruism. The more generously you give, the more likely you’ll receive in the long run. It can potentially increase brand awareness, brand loyalty, sales, LTV… it can be very powerful.
So it’s not just about search engine optimization, it’s about customer engagement too…
Yes, it’s about engaging customers and building your brand reputation as a real expert in your field. But content is also really beneficial if one of your goals is SEO and increasing your visibility in organic search.
The more content you have, the more opportunities you have to rank. That’s a big oversimplification - obviously - but that’s the crux of it. It needs to be quality content that’s relevant to your audience though.
Otherwise, you’ll get irrelevant traffic that doesn’t convert. Or you’ll get a horrible bounce rate that means Google will look harshly on you.
You mention content being a long-term investment, not a quick fix. Do businesses see content marketing as a long-term strategy or do companies still seek effects from it in the short run?
Sometimes CEOs or budget holders want to see a quicker fix or more directly attributable gains. So poor marketers can face an uphill battle in proving the ROI of content. If you give your marketer 6 months to prove content marketing works, you’re setting them up to fail, in my opinion.
You need time to build up a body of good quality, highly relevant content. You need to create a structure for that content - and links between pieces - so that the search algorithms start to recognize your brand expertise.
You need time for the algorithms to crawl new content. You need time for your content promotion to increase engagement. You need to build external partnerships to gain backlinks to your website.
It isn’t easy. And it isn’t fast. But slowly and steadily - with consistent effort - you should see gains.
Which types of content do you believe resonate most? Is there a specific format content marketers should prioritize?
The stats point to video content being the most engaging format. But people need different types of content at different stages of their journey.
When you’re first looking into a software solution, for example, you might not know what it does. So a two-minute explainer video might be perfect. But when you’re actually comparing shortlisted products and thinking about a six- or seven-figure spend, you’re going to want more to go on. At this point, an in-depth report into features, benefits, use cases, and ROI is more valuable.
Plus, we’re all different. We absorb information in different ways. We use different platforms and devices to do our research. So there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. I’d always recommend that brands experiment with lots of different formats to see which performs best for their particular audience. Look at your analytics.
You mentioned the customer journey in your last answer. Can you expand on that?
Of course. Content marketing isn’t just about publishing content and hoping it will convert people. It’s about guiding people through a funnel to maximize the likelihood that they’ll convert.
That means having lots of relevant content for customers to explore. And content that’s right for different stages of their relationship with your product or brand.
Generally speaking, there are three stages - awareness, consideration, and decision. Sometimes called ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu. There’s so much I could go into, and we don’t have much time, so people can always read about this on my blog where I have a post called The Buyer’s Journey Explained.
The awareness stage is when they’re aware they have a problem, but they’re not aware of a specific solution or provider.
So - taking DAM as an example - at the awareness stage an ideal DAM customer might know they can’t carry on storing photos and videos and artwork in random places across their organization. But at this point, they’re not Googling ‘Digital Asset Management solutions’.
They are more likely to use search terms like ‘how to manage digital photos’. Or searching around their current solution like ‘how to manage files in Teams’. So you need content that’s addressing these questions and gets eyes on your brand.
Ok, so that’s content for the awareness stage at the top of the funnel. What’s next?
The next stage is the consideration stage. This is when they’re actively researching solutions.
In the example above, they now know they need a DAM system but aren’t sure which one. At this stage, they might Google ‘what’s the best DAM solution’ or ‘essential features in a DAM system’ to help them identify and shortlist solutions.
So your opportunity is to answer those questions and start setting out your stall as the best brand for them. This could be with articles, webinars, videos, downloads, checklists, etc. Look out for search terms that indicate buying intent - like ‘best’, ‘cheapest’, ‘near me’ etc.
And what about the decision stage?
The decision stage is where prospects show the strongest buying intent.
They’ve shortlisted three DAM solutions and need to make a decision. At this stage, they might Google reviews or comparison articles that mention your brand (like WoodWing Assets vs Bynder, for example).
But equally, they’ll be looking at your sales information, the product features on your website, your case studies, etc. They might be committing a large sum of money - and need to convince a wide range of stakeholders too - so need in-depth content that answers every possible question and consideration.
You mentioned a fourth stage?
Yes, there is a fourth stage. It’s sometimes disputed - and people call it lots of different things - but I think it’s essential when you consider how important customer retention and advocacy are.
That stage is about customer satisfaction. Providing content that helps customers use your product, love it, and tell others about it. This might include online training videos, self-service help guides, an online customer community, a referral scheme, etc.
There’s no point getting people to buy your product if they can’t work out how to use it, cancel their subscription, and tell everyone how much they hate it!
Is there a difference between B2B and B2C content marketing?
The concept is the same - you’ll need content for different stages - but the B2C timeframe can be much shorter. Instead of a funnel, it’s more like a zipline!
B2C purchases tend to be lower value and only involve one or two decision-makers. So they can be more impulsive, although not always.
If you’re marketing a B2C product that’s low cost and fairly straightforward - say kitchen utensils - people might just need one or two pieces of content that raise their brand awareness before they make a purchase.
But a more considered B2C product - like a luxury car - is unlikely to be so impulsively purchased. We can assume your buyer is brand or product aware. But they might need more consideration and decision content to tip them toward a purchase.
That’s a lot of content for brands to create. Copy, photos, video, audio. Do you have any tips for managing this in practice?
The first thing I want to say is to be targeted. Don’t try to do everything all at once. Start with a strategy and make sure it’s manageable for your team. Because if they’re overworked, your content won’t work. Strategic, targeted, successful content needs time and attention. So focus on doing a few things really well rather than doing lots of things badly.
And then there’s actually managing your content. All those images you’ve commissioned, the video you’ve shot, the graphics you’ve created, the InDesign artwork for different outputs. These COST you money. These can MAKE you money. So look after them!
Using a Digital Asset Management platform presumably…?
Exactly! I’m still so surprised at how many brands don’t look after their digital assets properly. They have them squirreled away as email attachments and on people’s desktops where they’re completely inaccessible to other staff. Or they have them in DropBox or SharePoint, where it’s really hard to find what you need unless you know the exact file name or path.
And that slows everything down as you search for photos, or video, or artwork you want to reuse. Or ends up costing more because you never find them and need to recreate them. So much time and money wasted. And slower time to market too.
This is why I’m such a fan of Digital Asset Management. Because all of these amazing assets are centralized, more searchable, more sharable, more reusable. And that’s just wall-to-wall benefits to marketers.
Lots of people aren’t aware of DAM, or they think it’s just for storing photos. But that really underestimates the applications of the technology, doesn’t it?
Absolutely. DAM is about so much more than just filing photos. Modern DAM is the engine of content creation.
Yes, all of your digital assets are in there - with meaningful metadata and keywords attached - for easy access. You can visually see what files contain. You can search the content of videos and isolate the right snippet in seconds…
But you can also deploy them directly in other software like your CMS or your CRM. You can automate editing, cropping, and resizing for different platforms and tech specs.
In e-commerce, you can receive and process thousands of images from suppliers and automatically approve or reject them - for the hands-off population of your e-commerce site. You can sync with other systems to pull in data, like product SKUs, to create up-to-date catalogs in just a few clicks.
In publishing, you can sync with editorial workflow and title management software to reduce production time.
The applications and integrations are huge.
You mentioned that the success of your content depends on a lot of factors and one of those is content promotion. Can you expand on that?
One of the biggest mistakes I see is creating a piece of content, publishing it, promoting it once in one place, and then moving on to the next thing. This isn’t going to get the engagement or ROI you want. Whenever you create a piece of content, have a plan to promote and amplify its impact.
Say you’ve created a white paper and you promote it via a post in your company's LinkedIn feed. You’re relying on your target reader being in exactly the right place, at the right time, and in the right mindset to download it. It’s pretty unlikely when you think about it.
So keep posting about it. Post in different places. Post at different times of the day. Mix up your visuals. Experiment with different copy. Just keep promoting it.
And don’t just think of it in terms of the original piece of content you’ve commissioned, either. Think about how else you can use that content.
Like turning a webinar into blog posts, short videos for your website, graphics for social media, or a thought leadership download.
This isn’t just a way to get more ROI from your content. It’s a way to get that content out in different ways for different people.
Any final tips?
My final tip would be to have a content strategy. The scattergun approach won’t move the needle for your business.
Know who you want to target, map out what they need to know to move them down the funnel, think about the best formats to engage them, research the keywords they’re using in Google to research solutions and plan accordingly.
And make sure you update your content regularly too! It doesn’t always have to be about creating something new - it can be about improving what you already have.