This week saw the WOMMA Summit take place in Las Vegas. Word-of-mouth is a particularly hot area at the moment, and it’s always interesting to see how brands plan around it – how do they set up their marketing and PR with word-of-mouth in mind, how do they work with content?

One session that struck me as particularly interesting came from Jonathan Byerly, Chief Content Strategist at Dell. His session has been nicely summarised by writer Steven Van Belleghem. Thanks to Steven for allowing us to share his summary (see his blog for further coverage), and thanks to Asit Gupta of Chinese WOM company Advocacy Asia for highlighting it.

"In the past, so Byerly said, Dell’s marketing approach was mainly aimed at talking about product characteristics and prices. In order to implement content marketing well, one needs to dissociate from this traditional marketing approach. Originally Dell based its content strategy on the customer’s purchase cycles. Which information are they looking for in which stage and how can we act upon that with good, converting content?

"Dell’s next and far bigger challenge was to develop content which influences people before the purchase stage; so they listed all possible problems and questions customers have. Based on this overview they came up with a ‘content journey’. Dell looks for the appropriate content for each possible question. This content is made available via various online channels, ensuring that Dell surfaces quicker in Google searches by potential customers. That is how they help people in a pre-purchase stage. If they proceed to a purchase, the chance increases that they will buy at Dell.

"At Dell, they create 30% of the content themselves and the other 70% originates from other sources. You needn’t create all content yourself to make your brand position stronger, Byerly stated. Dell hires copywriters who write the ‘owned content’ messages. These writers do not have any technical knowledge, which is intentional: there are technical experts for every type of content at Dell available. At the end of his session Byerly handed out some very specific tips about content marketing:

  • Make sure the content process is well organized; this is the basis of being successful at working with content.
  • This is not just about your own website; it’s about mapping an entire online eco system. Understand how people search and what your best chances are at getting your content to your target group.
  • Be an advisor, train people and build confidence. This confidence is at the origin of your future turnover.
  • Invest in ‘personal brands’ of collaborators who are working with content. The stronger the collaborators’ personal brand, the better this is for Dell. Collaborators make the company more human and more accessible.
  • The content design must be excellent. Without a good design the content will not be spread by the target group."