Photo Courtesy: Movie Pilot
The mobil-social invasion has morphed every marketing campaign (every attempt to grow market share) into a toothy, dangerous, hard-to-contain beast!
Even without the sinister organ music, full moon and wolf howl, most businesses are cautious – if not downright scared – about trying new approaches to grow brands and attract leads. And for good reason. The modern media & marketing landscape is a challenge. ROI is elusive. The audience continues to migrate from traditional old-school platforms, to demand online engagement and often starts original, digital campaigns to attack brands that stumble. A powerful, well-known company can be brought to its knees by one inappropriate tweet, or drop off the edge of the world if consumers don’t find it real or relevant. To quote Jack Sparrow, “There’ll be danger in them waters!”
But have no fear, friends, there is one UNDENIABLE, RESEARCH-BASED CERTAINTY in marketing today: The Future is Built Around Original Content. Have something to say that is smart, clear, concise and relevant. Be helpful or be considered an obnoxious advertiser. Be fresh and friendly, or be forgotten.
According to Demand Metric, 78% of all CMO’s see Content as the Future of Marketing, 80% of them believe custom content should be central to all marketing, and 68% of people spend time reading about brands that interest them.
So, the only real danger is to try building a brand without some custom content at the center. In addition, the content play is more economical than any other at producing leads. Educate yourself. Some of the most recent research comes from Smartbug Media, but it’s backed up by almost every prominent school of business, research firm and business publication.
Statistic Source: Smartbug Media
In fact, a recent report in the Harvard Business Review compares content marketing with native advertising (paid placement in a single publication) and concludes: “…data-driven findings suggest how companies might get a better bang for their buck with content marketing — especially if they’re looking for a wide reach with different publishers and audiences.”
Still scared? Don’t be.
Beginning a content campaign can be simplified into 6 easy steps:
1) Research Your Audience: Who are They? Where are They? Do you know your prospective clients well enough to know what types of media they consume? Are they more likely to read blogs or the local paper? Can you attract them to your Facebook page, or would they be interested in a compelling email?
2) Decide on Your Unique Value: What Can We Say that Matters? DON’T BE BORING! Don’t say the same thing that everyone else in your industry says. Instead, become an advocate for the customer. Put yourself in her shoes and discuss what matters most to her!
3) Find a Talented Writer with the Right Voice. Ask for volunteers from within the company ranks. If that doesn’t work, hire a freelancer.
4) Create Content that is Timely & Topical. Don’t make it a commercial. Instead, provide honest, down-to-earth information that educates the consumer and helps her make a good decision. Try to connect your content to a storyline that is getting headlines and attracting an audience. How can you contribute to the conversation in a logical, relevant way?
Here’s an example of timely, topical content that we at BMG developed for a legal client in Dallas. The all-female firm handles family law cases, often representing the wife. With so much recent debate about work-life balance, particularly for women, we asked our writer to interview one of the firm’s attorneys who could offer tips for all working moms. It attracted plenty of attention online, and put the firm squarely in the middle of a trending topic. Score!
5) Distribute. Sure, put the new content on your website. But that’s just a start. Sprinkle it across your social media platforms. Then pitch it to trade publications or the local newsrooms. The more timely the topic, the better.
6) Analyze & Repeat. Did it work? Did anyone read it? Respond? Watch to see which stories get the most traction, and focus the campaign on those subjects. Be patient. Google Analytics is getting better about demonstrating ROI, and other tools are available. However, you won’t set sales records after one piece. Make a commitment to develop a series of new stories. Become a SOURCE of timely, topical stories. Over time, it’s likely that your company will achieve thought leader status in your industry.
Then YOUR brand will be the wild, toothy beast that your competitors will have to fear!