Every morning, marketers begin their day absorbing their industry’s latest and greatest updates and then spend their day executing at warp speed. The marketing industry is ripe with subjects to review and digest– from digital engagement to customer experiences to inbound strategies to outbound campaigns – the subjects go on and on. The demands on a marketer to be “in the know" are endless.
The one constant in marketing discourse is the focus on content and its impact on the customer. From what tone your content will take to the personality marketers are trying to wrap around their brand. Marketers simply can’t get enough of it and all it promises to deliver.
At PAN, we have the pleasure of working with some of the brightest marketers in the business and are regularly meeting with several others to discuss the best content marketing approaches and strategies that will work well inside their own brand framework. Some of these marketers are already highly successful, while others are still trying to find their rhythm. The truth is that content marketing requires constant work and improvement.
I have seen the benefits of good content marketing first hand; I’m a huge advocate. But, I’ve also heard time and again how content is the silver bullet that will make all marketers’ dreams come true. And with that come some dubious pronouncements about the role of content marketing in a marketers’ strategy. Yes--there are some content pitfalls marketers need to avoid. Here are just a few content myths to review to help marketers build out the right content formula for their brand.
THE MORE CONTENT YOU PRODUCE THE BETTER, RIGHT?
Wrong – the smarter content you produce the better. It’s not the pace of content being distributed that matters…it’s the quality of that content. Are you studying the behaviors of your audience? Do you have a good understanding of what types of content work and when? Are you looking for your content to drive awareness, support conversion of prospects or establish a voice that drives leadership? Marketers need to be strategic, thoughtful and smart with their content framework in 2015 or risk failing to deliver the desired impact.
PUBLISH ONCE – POST MANY
Don’t fall prey to this approach – please. You must create a content strategy that aligns to what, how and when your content will be most effective with your customers. Brands that simply publish content and hit send across the social landscape will be unsuccessful. Take the time to adjust and align content messages and the appropriate tone across all channels. What’s posted on LinkedIn should have a very different tone than what is pushed out via twitter or Facebook. Take the time to make your content appropriate for each channel or risk the dreaded fear of disengagement and content fatigue.
YOU CAN’T IMPACT CONVERSION
We’ve had some great conversations with the dual sales/marketing execs at several companies and they perk up when we start addressing conversion approaches via content. Don’t get me wrong – conversion should always be an objective within the marketing framework. Many eyes will see the content on your site, and it’s your responsibility to make them stay and engage with content that matters. Think about leveraging your knowledge (subject matter expertise), sharing best practices and highlight user experiences along the way. If you are set up as an “inbound marketing machine”, this will definitely complement all the other “conversation” strategies in place, and move them though the pipeline and to possible close. One other thing to note, take all the “earned” media effort your PR firm is working on and use this effectively in the process – prospects love to read how successful your brand has been through the eyes of the media. Share, share and share some more.
STAY FOCUSED ON LEAD GEN AND DON’T WORRY ONCE THEY ARE A CUSTOMER
In this day and age, where customer personas are so valuable and engagement with your brand essential to stability and growth – how can content take a one and done approach. Advocacy marketing and the content that supports building your most valuable assets (hello – the customer!) into the overall engagement strategy with your content must remain top of mind. How’s their experience post purchase? Are they loyal? Do they support your brand/products throughout their social networks? How are your referral/WOM conversations? Brand advocates MUST be a huge pillar in your content program moving forward – especially because third party advocates are critical in today’s highly competitive landscape.
INSIGHTS ARE GREAT, BUT MY STORY IS BETTER
There’s no question that you need a great story and working collaboratively with your teams will help create it. BUT, you absolutely must have great insight into your customer’s behaviors. Imagine being a marketer back in the 60s and 70s with the power of analytics we have today. Taking an omni-channel view of your customer’s experience will help any marketing team adjust and align for maximum brand engagement. Do you have multi-device customers that are predominantly driven through a digital experience? What time of day are they consuming your content and purchasing products? How often are they sharing their experiences across the channels? These insights are visible to marketers through the power of big data (I like to say smart data) analytics. Become brilliant with your approach and be sure to map your customers experience to the right (and smart) content strategy.
Whether you are the CMO driving brand and engagement strategy, or the head of digital, content or PR and marketing, its critical to be aware of the obstacles to becoming a customer-driven content engine. PAN can get you there. Let’s talk. Ping me @markcnardone or leave a comment below. Or better yet, take our Content Fitness Test ; when completed you will get the results and have the opportunity to learn how your marketing peers are approaching their content strategies and compare to your own.