Content is where so much begins these days.
The tough part is, as communicators, we’ve been thrown headlong into planning, creating and disseminating it for our employers, clients and other stakeholders. Let’s face it, our record as content marketers is mixed at best.
It’s understandable. Though it doesn’t always feel like it, in the grand scheme, the profound transformation of Corporate Comms to a centre of content creation is still relatively recent, and is made more difficult by incessant hype around whatever the platform du jour happens to be.
Bring it back to basics. The bottom line is that your content’s consumers (and prospective consumers) wish you knew a few simple things:
- Their preferred media for receiving YOUR content. Just because people like video from her, or audio from him, doesn’t mean they won’t LOVE reading words on a screen from you. Measurement is thus the ticket to success.
- They like games. Smart parents have long understood the power of gamifying life’s more mundane moments to get their children to take certain actions. Though marketers grasped this awhile ago too, “gamification” has become the hot word in content marketing today. Confused? Check this post by Joe Pulizzi for some examples.
- That voice matters.The importance of voice in content cannot be overstated. Here’s the rub: effective content marketing necessitates you (the firm) giving a little on voice. Yes, you determine voice, brand persona, etc. But if it ain’t what “they” want, what’s the point?
- That your habit of automatically pumping the same piece of content across every platform annoys them. Forget, for a minute, that Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest have different user bases, interfaces, strengths and weaknesses. The fact is, we humans have divergent needs and wants from platforms, and behave differently on them. This is content marketing 101, but still firms screw it up! Why?
- How much they can take. It’s great for Seth Godin to blog every day. In all likelihood, you don’t need to. The hoopla around content creation has engendered pressure to feed the beast. We are all media today, and must indeed regularly produce content, but there’s such a thing as too much. Play around with various frequencies of content sharing and creation and see what works.
- In terms of publishing, predictable schedules matter. This one is easy to grasp. While you need to be varied in terms of what you create, the frequency and schedule of publishing should not be.
- That they ‘ll reward you for being a valuable source at the top of the funnel. Everybody talks about how firms need to “talk less about themselves,” or “be less salesy with their content.” These propositions remain somewhat counter intuitive for most companies, who rightly understand that the point is to sell stuff! Still, though the process of tracking a sale is often an inexact science, there’s ample evidence to suggest that being a reliable voice about an industry/vertical pays lots of dividends. Getting there means that you have to be ready to share other people’s work, find the right balance of stock and flow, and talk about macro factors bigger than your organization.
I am sure you have points to add. Please do so in the comments.