Content Marketing is the process of creating relevant, timely and engaging content for your audience. It’s about making stuff they want to read or watch. Not a sales pitch or promotion.
I popped along to the Digital Marketing Show 2014 at ExCel in London, to see what the agency types and content masters had to say on this hot topic.
Breaking through the Crap Barrier
Content Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated, but there is a lot of poor content out there. Why? Simply because businesses are creating content without understanding why.
To get it right and make sure your content hits the spot, you need to know your audience and aim straight for the very heart of what makes them tick.
- What do they care about?
- What do they need to know?
- What do they want to have a conversation about?
If you don’t know your target audience well enough, then why not do a spot of research with them? Understanding a bit about them as people will help you pick out the sweet spots where your business can be at its most helpful, most believable and most relevant. Knowing Me, Knowing You. Ah Ha!
Hero and Hygiene Content
Consider creating two types of content. Louise Hodges, Head of Communications for Travelzoo, describes them as Hero and Hygiene.
Hero Content is the stuff that addresses REAL issues and attempts to solve them. It strikes at the heart of your audiences emotions and hooks on to the things they’re really passionate about. It’s about being a thought leader or an influencer in your area of industry.
- Why not think about creating interesting stories that go beyond your business and its products or services.
- Can you find a way of encouraging a debate that your audience will be keen to get involved in?
- What does your company stand for?
- What does it believe in?
Hygiene Content is your everyday, useful content such as ‘How to’ guides and lists such as ‘Top 10 widgets’ or ‘7 Easy Ways to do stuff’. It’s a way of demonstrating that your business is knowledgeable, helpful and relevant with the small things as well as the big issues. Think about ways in which your business can make life easier for its customers – not just through products and services it offers, but the knowledge it has to share.
Trust me, I’m a marketer
As consumers, we’re all getting rather savvy. With unbridled access to information, we are much more questioning of the brands and businesses that we see. We want them to be trustworthy and we want to believe what they say.
Switching your audience on to what you’re all about as a business, is a helpful way of ensuring content success. Get people involved and invested in what you’re doing and they’re much more likely to trust you, recommend you and buy your products/services.
Collaboration – Why not welcome and invite your customers to create content for you? Or at the very least ask them to suggest the ideas or creative? We trust each other more than we trust companies, so ‘user-generated’ content will hold more sway. It is considerably more credible than corporate spiel.
Get real – Why not tell your story as it unfolds, right there and then? Live or Real Time Content Marketing is a great way of being open and honest. Let your audience see for themselves and give them the opportunity to step in to the story. Creating content on the fly is a great idea for live events, product launches, conferences and the like. It can also be applied to live online chat, blogging and FAQs.
Rest assured, Content Marketing is not rocket science. Much of what I heard at the Digital Marketing Show was just good marketing practice. Try and understand your audience and create content that they’ll like. Simple as that. Use words, video, graphics, print, live events, whatever. Just make it relevant.
Some content quickies….
- The ‘MAD, SAD, GLAD’ test – if your content won’t make your audience feel any of these (or something similar) then it’s poor content
- Lists are still a great content tool e.g Top 10……, 7 reasons to…., 5 ways of….
- Make it personal
- Don’t forget your database – it contains all sorts of information that can help you get to know your customers and create compelling content for them
- Be interesting and have personality in your content
- Creating content can be a two-way process – involve your audience to build trust, make them the hero of your story
- Have a plan for how you will distribute your content (it’s no good if you don’t shout about it)
Need some help with developing your Content Marketing activity? Want to get hold of some cracking copy? Give me a shout.