Eliminate Content Discontent
Content—The Marketing Meat*
*Aka, “protein” as to include vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian and other nonmeat based marketing diets.
Are you content with your content?
We certainly hear the term, “content” frequently uttered, debated, shouted, championed and derided. What, at its basic form, is content?
As our blog title indicates, it is the meat, the mainstay and the manifestations of your marketing efforts. Those cuts of meat (or protein of choice) include your array of messaging:
– Blogs. Such as this extremely fine example you are currently reading.
– Posts. Your ongoing social conversation with your audience.
– Website. For all intents and purposes, your organization headquarters.
– Emails. Whether you use email in a marketing eblast or newsletter form or simple business communication, it’s your content.
– Industry- and market-specific messaging elements.
Content is everywhere. And not all of it is good, helpful or even necessary.
Content is Royalty
We’re not quite prepared to declare that, “Content is King,” but we fully recognize it as a powerful member of the marketing court.
Originally, it was Bill Gates who announced content is king, referring to an approaching marketplace of content, delivered by the Internet… in 1996. Bill’s content proclamation was in the context of marketing strategies. Meaning, having a firehose of content will never win versus a reliable stream of high-quality, audience-directed, properly-located content. (That just didn’t make a very catchy phrase.)
Your brand isn’t, or at least should not be, a monarchy, or realm, or kingdom run by the content whims of a king or queen.
It all comes back to the democracy of brand story—in order to form a more perfect union of you and your customer. Don’t quote us on that…
Brand Story is Boss
As we’ve blogged and podcasted in the past, and will in the future—your brand story is the North Star to your marketing, and in turn, your content.
Because, with a brand story, you have a deep well of self-awareness, you make content from a fully informed and inspired place. Having an authentic story in place that resonates with internal and external audiences makes all strategies and tactics simpler, smarter and more effective.
And now, back to content
As we look to produce well-crafted, relevant and most of all, meaningful content in all messaging forms, there are three primary avenues we travel:
1. Brand awareness. Hello, we exist and here’s we do this.
The basic key to brand awareness is being where your audience lives. Brilliant content in front of the wrong audience is like a T-bone steak served to Mahatma Gandhi, no interest whatsoever, and possibly insulting. (See: meat theme.) This is where intelligent SEO and thoughtful research is essential.
2. Establish expertise. We’re damn good at what we do and here’s why.
Give people a reason to believe you are legit and fit for their business. Facts are important, testimonials can work, organizational highlights are good, along with others. The critical element is to not go so heavy into shop talk and/or “white paper speak” to bore or overwhelm your potential customer. Corporations seem to love the “white paper.” But we feel that a white paper goes beyond content. A dense and often dry white paper’s audience should be pre-qualified, pre-warned and predisposed to take a much more complex dose of communication.
3. Motivate action. Move customers to the next level of buying, contacting, acting.
Once you’ve taken a true look at your customer’s needs, wants, and their level of understanding, you can motivate them along, what many call, the sale’s funnel.
Making content meaningfully
Creating is never easy, and content is no exception. Here are the trio of barriers we most commonly see to content creation:
A. The blank page. The scourge of all creatives. The blankness can be amplified by knowing too much, not knowing enough, a lack of time, and other invisible demons. When it’s so difficult, people tend to default to frivolity and superficial FaceBooky type content that may be too heavily slanted to company culture, or without much merit, and too easily dismissed.
B. Lack of engagement. Likes. Follows. Reads. Downloads. Site visits. Shares. Etcetera. You see other organizations’ content having far more relevance. When others actual posting less, but their content is of greater quality, making the engagement more meaningful. Engaging with a “few” truly interested readers is always preferred to engaging en masse with hordes of we-couldn’t-care-less readers. Having purpose, meaning and a point of view makes content creation simpler, more natural in tone and style whether highly serious or more lighthearted.
C. Lack of leads. Your pool of prospects is small and limited. Your content possibilities are drying up. Your own dog just bit you… wait, it’s not that bad, we can fix. This is where mapping your messaging can be extremely valuable. Within message mapping is a further breakdown:
1. Segment awareness. Making your audience aware of your offering(s), and that your solution is most relevant to them.
2. Customer journey mapping. Determine where they interact with you first. What are their needs, the ways they find you.
3. Awareness mapping. “The Unaware” is the hardest to sell. Perhaps at some point they can be converted. But not now. “The Aware” are those that are know their problem or need, but they are not aware who can fulfill or solve it.
4. Solution/Service aware. This group knows what they need and are very ready to buy.
5. Most aware, aka, Customers. You have them. You are the one. You are trusted and engaged. Sold.
Your diligence, on all fronts, makes your content truly potent and moves people through a buying journey—your buying journey.
Breaking down your content and its strategic placement, order of appearance and style of presentation takes some effort, but the payday is worth it.
So whatever marketing protein you’re serving, make sure it’s offered up to the right diners, in the proper proportions, in the appropriate location, on the ideal plate, seasoned to taste and with ample opportunities to go back for more.
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