Drew's Marketing Minute header image 1

Entries Tagged as 'Content marketing'

Should you be a content marketer?

February 12th, 2014 · Content Marketing, Growing & Learning

Content marketing.  It seems like everyone’s talking about it. But what exactly is it and what can it do for your business? Odds are, if you’re doing any marketing at all — you’re at least accidentally dabbling in content marketing.

But, should you be a content marketer?  Let’s look.

First — it goes by many names.  Some people call it custom publishing or branded content.  Other people slap the label of social or digital marketing on.  And all of those names are accurate.

Content marketing is a broad term for any marketing technique that creates and distributes valuable, helpful and relevant information that demonstrates that you know your stuff.  These tactics draw the attention of people who are already your customers or could be your customers and they consume, share, and value the content.

The ultimate goal of content marketing is to create a sense of trust and comfort that will lead to someone making an initial purchase, making an additional purchase or referring you to someone who’s ready to make a purchase.

The way you build that trust can differ, however. Let’s look at four of the main goals of content marketing and the types of content marketing tactics you can employ to accomplish each.

If you want to entertain your audience, you might:

Make a branded video

  • Create a game
  • Give them a quiz
  • Start a competitions/contests
  • Invent a playful widget or app

If you’d like to inspire your audience, you might:

If you would like to educate your audience, you could:

  • Write an ebook
  • Publish some articles
  • Create an infographic
  • Generate media releases
  • Create guides or how to documents
  • Produce trend reports
  • Record a podcast
  • Send out an enewsletter

In you need to convince your audience, you could:

  • Host an event
  • Create some interactive demos
  • Put on a webinar
  • Create useful calculators or checklists
  • Share some case studies

This list is neither exhaustive nor is it exclusive. A speech can do more than inspire, it can also educate or entertain. A webinar can do more than convince – it can educate or inspire. The subject matter, the delivery style and the intent will dictate the outcome of your efforts. And hopefully, if you produce quality content – it will accomplish more than one of the goals.

But this isn’t something you should just jump into. Like any marketing strategy – content marketing requires forethought and planning, especially because producing a blog or podcast or even putting on a contest requires a significant amount of time and effort. You don’t want to exert that level of effort and not maximize your gain.

The effort and planning are well worth it. Content marketing allows a business to connect with a prospect long before they’re ready to buy. It gives them a sense of your product, service and expertise. It also lets them “sample” you and see if you’re a good fit. Good content marketing tools communicate not only your expertise but it also gives them a very good sense of your brand’s personality. It will attract the best customers for you and, as odd as it sounds, repel those customers who wouldn’t be a good fit long term.

There are a lot of benefits packed into this marketing strategy. Every business can find a content marketing tactic that is the perfect fit for your industry. It takes some time and effort – but the up sides are hard to ignore.

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

→ 2 CommentsTags:···

Why isn’t marketing’s version of storytelling working?

November 11th, 2012 · Branding, Content Marketing, Sales, Storytelling

Storytelling, storytelling, and more storytelling.

Seems like every marketing book, blog (including mine if you’ve been reading this week’s posts) and study is talking about how we should be using storytelling as a marketing technique.

I couldn’t agree more.  Unfortunately, I think most attempts fall short.

Earlier this week — I made the point that A) It seems that despite all the hype — we’re doing less real storytelling today and B) storytelling is hardly a new tactic.

Marketers clearly believe that storytelling is a critical component of their marketing efforts.  As you can see (click here to see a larger version of the chart above) by the chart above, according to a 2012 B2B Content Marketing Trends survey conducted for Holger Schulze for Optify, 81% of respondents listed engaging and compelling storytelling as one of the three most important aspects of content marketing.

So — no argument that marketing’s version of storytelling is critical to a business’ communications success. The question is — why are so many companies doing it badly and not experiencing the results they want?

The stories don’t evoke an emotion: There’s not a memorable story around that isn’t seeded in emotions.  For some businesses, especially those in the B2B sector, it’s hard to imagine what emotions their products or services might trigger.  That’s because the marketers are staying at the features level of sales, not delving into the benefits that lie beneath.

It might be as simple as your prospect is afraid if they make a bad decision, it will cost them their job.  Or it could be that what you sell is helping your clients fulfill their reason for existing — which to them is very emotionally motivated.  If you dig deep enough, you’ll find the emotions behind your stories.  Be sure you expose those in your storytelling so that your audience can relate to and empathize with the people in the tale.

The stories don’t use data to lend credibility: As we discussed in my post about the Revolutionary War book — what made those stories so dramatic and grabbing was he facts that were dotted throughout.

As the folks at the Content Marketing Institute points out in this blog post — data can be used in a variety of ways to tell your story.  Think visual data like an infographic or let the data suggest a new angle or insight for both you and your audience.

The story doesn’t take us on a journey: In marketing’s version of storytelling, we often take shortcuts to get to the big reveal.  But in doing that, we rob the audience of the arc of the story. Every story is, in essence, a journey that chronicles the the problem, the fight to solve the problem and how things are better once the challenge is resolved.

But a great story lets the journey also help the audience see the motivations, frustrations and worries of the characters while they try to face the problem. The outcomes are also wrapped in more than just the tangible results.  When the story is rich with details – we also learn more about the intangible results and ultimate value of delivering the right solution.

The story doesn’t include a next step/call to action: Here’s where most marketers really miss the boat.  A well crafted story draws the audience in, helps them connect with the main character and feel their common pain.  As the story evolves, the prospect is pulling for the character — because in reality, the character bears a striking resemblance to them.  They experience the ups and downs within the story and as the story delivers the happy ending — the prospective customer is thinking and feeling relief and a desire to share in that sort of outcome.

So marketing’s version of storytelling is all too often, a big tease.  You led them right to the edge — get them hungry for what you’re selling but don’t give them a clear and defined next step.  Ask yourself — what do I want them to do next and be sure you make it easy and quick to take that next action.

If you don’t include this as a part of your storytelling — the whole point of telling the story in the first place is wasted.  You aren’t a court jester earning your supper.  You’re trying to help someone decide whether or not you hold the answer to their problem. Once you demonstrate that you are the right choice — be sure you give them a chance to tell you so.

What do you think? Can you tweak the way you’re telling your company’s story so that it drives leads and sales?

Enhanced by Zemanta

→ 13 CommentsTags:······

Social Sharing – what and when works

October 28th, 2012 · SEO, Social Media · 1 Comment

Figuring out what is best for your company’s social sharing accounts can be tough. Not only do you have to figure out what to share, but you also need to know how and when to say it. The folks at Compendium crunched the data of over 300 companies’ social sharing statistics, to identify some social [Read more...]

They’ll buy when they trust

September 27th, 2012 · Business owner/leader stuff, Content Marketing, Psychology, Sales, Social Media · 5 Comments

Here’s an equation that every business owner needs to understand. Know + Like + Trust = Buy. Whether you sell toothbrushes or multi-million dollar medical equipment and everything in between — until a customer: Knows who you are Likes who you are Trusts you there is no purchase.  The depth of the trust required varies [Read more...]

Content that your audience loves

September 8th, 2012 · Content Marketing, Copywriting · 5 Comments

I saw this on Scott Monty’s Facebook status…and loved it.  I couldn’t track down the creator but if I do, I’ll update the post. Just wanted to give you something to chew on over the weekend. McLellan Marketing Group is an advertising | marketing agency based in Des Moines, IA, and serving clients all over [Read more...]

Are you making one of these 7 content marketing mistakes?

May 29th, 2012 · Love affair with customers, Storytelling, Trends, Web/Tech · 3 Comments

It seems like everyone is talking content marketing these days, like it’s it hottest thing since sliced bread. Of course, for many businesses — this is just a new name for something they’ve been practicing for eons.  They’ve been creating valuable newsletters or writing white papers for years. Which does not mean that you’re doing it as [Read more...]

What can content marketing do for your business?

May 22nd, 2012 · Branding, Love affair with customers, Storytelling, Strategy · 7 Comments

Content marketing.  It seems like everyone’s talking about it. But what exactly is it and what can it do for your business? Odds are, if you’re doing any marketing at all — you’re at least accidentally dabbling in content marketing. First — it goes by many names.  Some people call it custom publishing or branded [Read more...]

Content marketing is important but not free!

May 21st, 2012 · Love affair with customers, Strategy, Trends · 3 Comments

One of the things that irks me is when I hear a marketing “expert” extoll the virtues of content (or social or digital) marketing and to close the sale — they remind their audience — “and best of all, it’s free.” Poppycock. (I know…such language!) At MMG, we believe there’s not really an organization in existence that can’t benefit [Read more...]

But where do you find all the content?

October 17th, 2011 · Marketing, Storytelling, Strategy · 2 Comments

  Challenges related to a content marketing strategy In August of this year, HiveFire surveyed marketing professionals to better understand the state of the B2B marketing landscape including what was really creating the biggest challenges, how they were choosing to market and what they saw on the horizon.  (get a copy of the survey results [Read more...]

Content marketing playbook

August 22nd, 2011 · Marketing, Media, Strategy, Trends · 7 Comments

…get a playbook to help you create content that matters The idea of creating content to establish your expertise, influence the search engines and create a community has been an evolution of one of the oldest marketing tactics out there — sampling. If I share with you what I know and you learn from it, [Read more...]