Pawan Deshpande of Curata on Effective Content Marketing Strategies
Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a Boston-based company offering content marketing software used by thousands of marketers around the world. Pawan is also a blogger for The Huffington Post, the Content Marketing Institute, CMO.com, Forbes, Marketing Profs, and other technology and marketing publications.
We recently checked in with Pawan to get his advice on smart content marketing strategies. Here’s what he shared:
Can you tell us about your background and interest in content marketing?
Content marketing is interesting because it brings together people from very diverse backgrounds, such as marketing, journalism and technology. I come from a technology background myself. I did my undergraduate and graduate degrees at MIT in the area of natural language processing (using machine learning on text content), which is the basis for my interest in content marketing. I’ve also worked at Microsoft, Google and a few startups in the past as well.
What is your approach to content marketing? How do you help companies create effective content marketing strategies?
I run a content marketing software company which offers a comprehensive analytics platform (Curata CMP), so I’m very data-driven in my approach. At Curata we use, and advise others to use, a documented content marketing strategy we call the Content Marketing Pyramid. The pyramid approach focuses on creating a heavily researched core piece of content such as an eBook, white paper or webinar, and then atomizing that into smaller pieces of content such as blog posts and infographics, right on down to social media posts. It allows us create, reuse and repurpose content, and to track its effectiveness throughout the sales cycle.
How has content marketing evolved since you started your career? What has made the biggest impact in recent years?
I organized the first panel on content marketing at SxSW back in 2011. The name of the panel was “Brand Journalism: A Brave New World.” Back then content marketing was a much more controversial practice, with many questioning the journalistic ethics of corporations producing content with a commercial intent. The biggest change I have seen is that it is no longer controversial, but a mainstream method that almost every company employs, and that the world as a whole has benefited from.
What are the dos and don’ts for content marketing today? What best practices are critical to the success of a campaign?
Content marketing dos include:
- Know your audience. You can’t talk authentically or relevantly if you don’t.
- Measure, analyze and adjust accordingly. If you don’t measure, you have no idea what works and what doesn’t, and no idea what your ROI is.
- Have a documented strategy. Things don’t happen unless you write them down, and the process of doing so greatly clarifies your thought.
- Communicate clearly and treat your audience and all relevant stakeholders with respect. This means responding to emails promptly, not having 30 pop-ups on a page, not keyword stuffing, not using misleading clickbait headlines – basically treating the end user experience as paramount.
Content marketing don’ts include:
- Don’t expect to be able to measure the entire sales funnel using only marketing automation programs such as Eloqua, Marketo or Pardot. They can’t measure the 70 percent of the sales cycle that happens before someone consumes gated content and becomes a lead.
- Don’t reach out to influencers without doing your homework on them and having something to offer in return. They don’t owe you anything.
- Don’t shower your audience in rushed content just for the sake of quantity. Longer, higher-quality content is exponentially better at generating more and better leads.
What role should SMS play in content marketing?
In contrast to outbound marketing techniques such as advertising, content marketing is most effective as an inbound, non-interruptive form of marketing where prospects come to the brand. As SMS is an outbound distribution medium, it should probably be used sparingly for content marketing – more as a means of opt-in notification of new content.
What trends or innovations are you following in the world of content marketing today? Why do they excite you?
What’s most exciting to me right now is how advances in big data and artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling “content intelligence.” This refers to technology that can automate many content marketing functions, and deliver analytics that are predictive – such as estimating how much revenue a particular blog post could generate. It’s exciting because Curata CMP is right at the forefront of this wave, which will start to revolutionize a new wave of content marketing before the end of this year.
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