The lead generation tower is best built with content and conversation in context

There were mixed reviews about some of the sessions last week at Onrec/Kennedy. Too much supplier demo selling and not enough best practices content for the audience.

I didn't sit in on all of the sessions, so I can only comment on the ones I did see. Most were on the money with valuable content and minimal selling. Only one started off strong and then went straight to the heart of demo selling, and the uncomfortable chair shifting and sighs were audible.

Not too bad, though. The recruiter audience is more hip to marketing and selling compared to their HR counterparts. Savvy recruiters get the pitch, the schmooze, the woo, the close.

But too many marketers and recruiters don't get content marketing - the building blocks of relationship marketing and sales. Instead, they go straight to the sell schlock and scare the prospect away.

Even on the Onrec expo floor suppliers like Tweetajob, Bond Talent, Simply Hired, Arbita and used content to spark conversation (I know there were others as well - please don't throw rocks). The heart of our business is the HR vendor phonebook - i.e., consumable and reusable content.

Peter Weddle's "Interruption Marketing" session last week was a fascinating content marketing parable. At first glance, it was counter-intuitive to hear this kind of outreach "interruption" because we've all been taking so much about starting conversations via social media and quality content.

But there is an interruption element, particularly in recruiting and direct marketing. No doubt about it. You've got to get their attention before you can have a conversation.

Peter talked about how "traditional recruitment marketing isn't working anymore" - same can be said for product/service marketing. You have to have a strategy to be "politely impolite" to capture the attention of your buyers.

We know that we only have very small windows to capture a lead's attention. To illustrate this point, Peter referenced Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink and the fact that some of our best decisions are made in 20 seconds (rapid cognition).

20 seconds. Damn.

Here are three things to consider with direct "interruption" content marketing:

Content. Of course we start with this. We can all agree that content marketing includes white papers, webcasts, podcasts, articles, tip sheets, videos, etc. You want whole-brain content marketing messages that quickly engage and entice and motivate intellectually as well as emotionally - i.e., I want to know more.

Placement. What's the context of your marketing content? Are you targeting the right audience with the right content? Remember, your long-term marketing efforts are not one size fits all. Cold marketing may start out that way, but how you use other activities like social media to spark conversation with content definitely needs to be tailored to the audience.

Structure. Are you optimizing for your buyers' experience? Is it easy to download your content? Can they easily submit feedback? Can they easily have a conversation with you if they want to know more? Ensure that your landing pages include clear call-to-actions for what you want them to do and why the content is valuable to their organizations.

Regardless of what size you are or what stage of the business you're in, the lead generation tower is best built with content and conversation in context.

And a little interruption to get their attention (wink).

Post by Kevin W. Grossman (join me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - and now joinHRmarketer on Twitter!)

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