Searching for the Best Content Marketing Examples Online: Eloqua
The Search for the Best Content Marketing Examples Online Continues
Last week, I kicked off a series devoted to finding the best content marketing examples online, examining several companies that have each developed prolific and innovative content strategies that have, in turn, placed them at the forefront of the content marketing revolution.
The thinking behind this series is that by examining the best content strategies in action, startup and expansion-stage companies can pick up on successful models and tactics they can implement when building/developing their own content strategies.
My search began with a look inside GE’s highly touted ecomagination.com, the corporation’s microsite and brand concept devoted to imagining, discussing, and building innovative clean tech solutions. Some of the best practices I highlighted that help make ecomagination stand out include:
- A heavy emphasis on making content visually compelling
- A well-structured layout that invites user segmentation
- Interactive features that encourage user participation
- Top-quality content from professionals and experts
- A focus on building conversations around the larger issues/concerns customers are passionate about, rather than individual products
Eloqua: Delivering the Right Content to the Right Audience at the Right Time
This week, I’ll be profiling marketing automation SaaS company Eloqua, widely heralded for its award-winning content marketing and an emphasis on design that helps set it apart from its B2B rivals. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Joe Chernov, the company’s VP of Content Marketing, and Jess3, the creative agency specializing in data visualization that Eloqua has partnered with to produce many of its infographics and videos, Eloqua has become nearly as synonymous with high-quality innovative and visual content as it has with marketing automation.
That’s fitting considering the priority the company puts on its content, and the success of the results. “If we launch a new product, we can expect a handful of articles to cover the news. But a compelling piece of content can generate hundreds of articles and blog posts,” Chernov told Esteban Contreras in an interview for Social Nerdia.
Content Strategy Best Practices: Emphasis on High Quality Design
A good case in point is Eloqua’s infographic, “The Blog Tree,” which depicts the individual popularity and subject areas — as well as overall interconnectivity — of today’s most successful marketing blogs. According to a post by Ambal Balakrishnan for the ClickDocuments Connect the Docs blog, “The Blog Tree” boosted Eloqua’s “average blog views by a factor of 40, collected 175 inbound links, inspired more than 700 tweets and 2,500 Facebook page impressions, and turned at least 49 viewers into sales opportunities or closed deals.”
The beautiful design doesn’t stop at infographics — Eloqua has partnered with Jess3 on videos, presentations, “Grande Guides” (designed to be read in ~15 minutes, or the time it takes to drink a grande cup of coffee), eBooks, and, more recently, interactive data visualizations such as it’s virtual enterprise tool which allows users to tour a virtual office, focus in on their particular role, and access content and solutions relevant to them.
Content Strategy Best Practices: Managing Content Like a Product
To produce that level of content you need a well-managed content strategy running at full steam, and in some ways at Eloqua content creation and publication follows a production process that’s similar to the process used to develop and launch the software.
“I think of each piece of content as a product,” Chernov told Social Nerdia. “And we run a PR campaign around every single one, much as we would run a PR campaign around a product launch. I also believe that co-creation is a key to distribution. The more people that feel “ownership” of a piece of content, the bigger the distribution channel is on day one.”
Co-creation played a major role in the creation of Eloqua’s Social Media Pro Book, which won a DemandGen Report “Killer Content” Award thanks to an innovative creation process that included collaboration between 20 social media experts and resulted in an authoritative resource addressing the biggest topics in social media. “We were able to assemble a supergroup of contributors by making the project rewarding (each contributor received his or her own avatar), social (everyone was free to share their avatars ahead of time), and collaborative (contributors could be interviewed, contribute a column, or submit other content assets),” Chernov explains. The numbers speak for themselves: the Pro Book has received over 82,000 views on SlideShare.
Content Strategy Best Practices: Effective Content Organization & Navigation
With all this great content on the site, there’s the potential for it to get lost, but Eloqua does a fantastic job of organizing content into different categories in its “Eloqua Library,” and presenting it in clear and informative ways. Each category has a short overview, and each piece of content that appears underneath it is given a corresponding icon that indicates what type of content it is — video, article, quick guide, etc. — and its length (in pages or minutes) is listed, as well. The is great for visitors who are looking for particular types of content, or who simply have a short amount of time on their hands and need to get to the most basic information fast.
Throughout visitors’ navigation of the site, they are constantly provided with opportunities to move deeper into Eloqua’s sales funnel, from initial awareness to consideration to close. And content is the vehicle (see below). Articles point visitors to Grande Guides, which they can download by registering. Infographics guide them to more in-depth eBooks. Videos to evaluation tools.
Content Strategy Best Practices: Eyes on the Prize: Generating and Nurturing Leads
In addition to getting shared and increasing Eloqua’s brand awareness, these top-of-the-funnel initiatives also serve to fuel funnel progression. In other words, while Chernov is busy churning out beautiful content, he never loses sight of the larger goal of generating and nurturing leads. But by engaging with prospects in this much more authentic way — by appealing to their desire for compelling, informative, useful, and, yes, fun, content (in other words, making it about what they want and need rather than making it all about Eloqua) — the company is building a community, differentiating itself from its competition, and experiencing success.
“We try to create content that is designed to help our audience stay current with their changing world, and we do so without any hidden agenda,” writes Chernov. “We hope the person will later come back to us when they are ready to buy, but we don’t obligate them to fill out a form to learn from us.”
Factors that Make Eloqua One of the Best Content Marketing Examples Online
- Incredibly visual: creative and high-quality design is a differentiator
- Organization: the company’s website provides multiple navigation schemes to guide visitors to content appropriate to them
- Engagement: emphasis on interaction, community, and getting content shared
- Next Steps: content consistently encourages sales funnel progression
- All about the user