For the umpteenth time, I read today that fewer than 30% of marketing executives polled would characterize their content marketing program as successful. Fewer than 30%. Wow! Why am I seeing this stat year after year? There are some pretty clever people working in marketing. Why haven’t they come to the realization that what they are doing just isn’t successful and something needs to change. Has this occurred to you too?
The truth is that I do not have the answer to this. If I did, I would be drinking a Romulan Ale, listening to some great music and relaxing in a hot tub with a great view. But, what I can do for you is to offer some advice for improving your existing content. Ascending to a satisfactory performance level with our content marketing is going to be a work in progress, taking time to develop and hone. Here are a few thoughts:
What Are People Looking For?
I read a lot of content every day. The one thing that there is no shortage of is content. Sometimes I feel like we are up to our collective ears in it. What do they all have in common? If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. You can fire up your Google and find hundreds of offerings on how to do virtually anything in content marketing. The air is on fire with it.
The key here is to be unique! Differentiators rule this universe. Readers are always looking for something they haven’t seen before, something totally different. Focus on storytelling and customer engagement as well as brand leadership.
So, How Can I Be Different?
Take a look at other content and ask yourself how you would present it differently. Look at each aspect of their paper and how they presented it Mentally, reconstruct it your way. After dissecting a few of these, you start to get ideas for everything from layout to content and it’s tone and how it is presented. Be sure to zoom out for a look at the layout and use of spacing. Did they have good use of colors to make it more interesting and visually appealing? Did they break up the text by including photos, drawings, charts and graphs used? Was the correct font selected or is there a better option? Was there a good use of the layout’s spacing and white space?
Test Those Findings
Prove your theory to the world, or at least to the folks in the marketing department. Put the ideas you came up with, up for scrutiny. Compare your response to the colorful layout with lots of white space to your usual content piece’s look and style. Keep a log of every piece of content’s test results Over time, you will start to see the bigger picture of what is working and what is not.
What Do Your Customers Want That They Aren’t Getting?
After “What is the meaning of life?”, this is the most asked question in Westeros. This is the infamous “$64 question”. Anyone who can answer this question can write their own ticket. This is a great time to better get to know the good folks in sales, if you don’t already. Ask them to share with you information about their customers. Whatever they know. Make sure you show the sales guy that this is designed to create more leads for them. Everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Knowing who the sports guys are amongst your customers would help to keep content interesting by using sports terminology and sports analogies with a sports themed layout and graphics. Ditto for all of the major buckets. Whenever you have a group of likeminded people, exploit it to the fullest.
Segmentation is the first step to personalization of content, so take good notes on customers, and most of all, don’t drop the ball with documentation here. Create a big at-a-glance poster or white board that you can refer to when making decisions on developing a content design strategy.
Famous Last Words
Obviously, we aren’t going to solve this problem in one get together. We will have to keep chipping at it until we at least reach “satisfactory” rating in our content marketing.
The Hank Moody School of Creative Writing
Class is back in session. Catch my next collection of coherent babbles when I ramble on about ways to improve your storytelling. Storytelling is an essential component of being different.
The Big Kumbaya in CyberSpace
When you think about It this is an interesting situation we find ourselves in. Connected through cyberspace, we share the quest of nurturing our marketing content to become more effective and memorable. We are all in this together.
Thank you for taking time out to read this piece. Your time is greatly appreciated. To hear the rantings of other voices on the same topic, try these two out:
7 Creative Content Marketing Strategies
By Neil Patel – via Forbes.com
A Simple Content Marketing Strategy for Creative Folks
By Rafal Tomal – via Copyblogger.com