craigCraig Rosenberg is a sharp dude, wicked smart B2B marketer, and he very well may be the king of curated and crowd-sourced content. His “Madlibs” series is worth perusing for starters, and he’s been great at bringing together the sharpest minds in a variety of B2B sales & marketing categories to share ideas & best practices with his wide audience of readers and followers.

Next week, he’s hosting a series of panels & speakers in a free, four-hour content marketing summit. I highly encourage you to check out the speakers, agenda and register here.

I had a chance this week to talk more with Craig about content marketing in general, why it’s important, and how to get started.

What are the primary reasons why so many companies still aren’t focused on content marketing?

Actually, if you believe the stats, companies are focused on content marketing. For example:

  • Spending on content marketing, video marketing, and social media will increase by 15.1% in 2013 to a total of $118.4 billion
  • Nine in 10 organizations market with content. (Content Marketing Institute)

I think most companies are aware of the content marketing movement, it’s literally in their face every day if they spend any amount of time on the internet looking at sales, marketing, or general business information. The problem is that content marketing is hard to do well. Most companies don’t realize that when they decide to “content market” and are not setting up their content marketing program for success. Content marketing requires the same business rigor as other parts of the organization: Strategy, people, process, and technology.

Most companies aren’t thinking of content marketing in the right way. This data from eConsultancy and Outbrain highlights the point: “Lack of human resources (42%) and lack of budget (35%) are key barriers to content marketing.” That is one problem.

The other reason it may seem people aren’t doing content marketing is because they don’t do it well. For example, many companies cannot delineate between product marketing and content marketing or use the blog primarily for case studies and press releases. To them, they are content marketing. To everyone else, they are product marketing.

The other problem for content marketing is that it may seem very “arts and crafts”-like to the guys with the budgets. Ardath Albee was telling me about a client of hers who said: “Look I get content marketing and why I need to do it. What I need is to understand how to sell it the CEO/CFO and the rest of the organization.”

What are the three most common mistakes companies make with content marketing?

  1. They talk about themselves
  2. They think they can word their content so we don’t know they are talking about themselves
  3. They don’t make content marketing a platform that supports the entire revenue machine.

I’ll expand the third point. Content marketing is not only about writing blog posts or writing ebooks. Content marketing is a discipline where organizations provide their target buyers the content they want when they want it to help them advance through the buying process.

Content supports web traffic, lead generation, lead nurturing, social, sales, customer service and so on. It is a core, strategic function that helps drive the entire revenue machine from the top of the funnel to close to post-sales.

There are a ton of content marketing events, webinars, etc. these days.  Why yours?  What will people take away?

I know there are…there is some much content on content out there that it’s overwhelming. First let me say one thing, I believe in content marketing and content selling. I have seen first hand the positive effects it has on demand.  Just because there is a lot of noise out there, I am not going to back down because I believe in it and it’s ability to positively affect the sales and marketing process.

We focused the Keys to Content Marketing Success Virtual Summit on the key areas of designing, building, and scaling content marketing. I wanted to avoid the more common forms of “content on content” that typically talk about what content marketing is and why it’s important. We wanted to focus on people who know it’s important and are ready to build a content marketing program. We set the summit up so that we cover the essentials to a successful program:

We believe that it is a great program that follow a logical progression from the buyer to execution. I personally look forward to the education I will get from our speakers.

Talk a little (brag a little actually) about the people you have speaking.  It’s a pretty impressive lineup.

Thanks for asking. The lineup is awesome. Here are our speakers, broken down by each webinar session:

Develop a Winning Content Strategy with the Power of Buyer Personas

  • Speaker: Tony Zambito — the original creator of the buyer persona framework. I am not sure if there is a more perfect person to talk about buyer personas.
  • Moderator: Lori Janjigian is a VP of Marketing at Kognito. Before that, she spent years building content for b2b clients while working with me at Focus.com. We chose Lori because lots of real-world experience doing content marketing for a variety of different verticals. I am sure it will be nice for her to just talk about it for a change!

You’ve Got Buyer Personas, Now What?

  • Speaker: Ardath Albee, my content marketing hero. She is literally my favorite content marketing thought leader in the business. If you want to be great at content marketing – you should listen to or read Ardath’s work. The great thing about Ardath is she is also a great teacher.
  • Moderator: We chose Don Perkins because I have literally watched him come out of nowhere and build an incredible brand for himself via social and content. I love guys like Don who are living, breathing examples of content marketing success.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Executing your Content Strategy

  • Speaker: Justin Gray – the perfect guy to talk about execution. We really wanted someone who could talk about leveraging content to drive demand that could use real examples and real ROI numbers to make the point. Justin is that guy.
  • Moderator: Kevin Baldacci is a Content Marketing Analyst at Desk.com, a Salesforce.com company. He is a rising star in the business who we think deserves to be recognized in the marketing community. His content at Desk.com is awesome and has what I like – a touch of fun.

10 Steps to a Unified Content Marketing Process

  • Speaker: Toby Murdock who is the founder and CEO of Kapost. We really wanted someone who has seen successful enterprise-class content marketing programs in action to talk about the content marketing process which is often the missing link for many organizations. They understand they need to do content, but creating a scalable, efficient process is the challenge. Toby will help people build that platform.
  • Moderator: Jason Miller from Linkedin formerly of Marketo. Jason is the best social marketer I know. We had to have him for this event and teaming him with Toby is a great one-two punch: Both of them know what it takes to get content marketing done right.

There you have it! Great lineup as you can see.

What are some of your favorite content marketing tools, apps, shortcuts, etc.?

There are so many which makes it hard to choose but here’s one: Flashissue. We use it to deliver our newsletter. It’s a cool little app that allows you to create your email newsletter in less than five minutes – full drag and drop. Newsletters are hot again and when we decided to roll ours out, I sighed because I just didn’t have time. FlashIssue saves me the pain.