“Never create content just to create content.”
Chances are you’ve seen this simple piece of advice echoed in countless articles, webinars, and conferences by many well-meaning content marketing experts. But for an experienced marketer, this tip is pure common sense. Who in their right mind, with an overstuffed budget and a boardroom full of impatient senior executives demanding results, would create content just for fun?
You know better. You would never post content without a clear goal and strategy.
Plus, you know that your content marketing mix should not only reflect current trends, but also consistently address your business challenges and help you achieve your goals. But with content marketing such a mysterious and wild beast, always morphing and changing – just when you think you’ve mastered it, something new demands your attention and demands your resources – how are you getting your perfect mix?
Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you overcome industry pain points while making the best use of your resources.
Don’t give up proven informative content
Epic storytelling and captivating reflections help you set your brand apart from the noise and clutter of our content-saturated internet world. These types of efforts help create an emotional connection between your brand and your audience, and if you’re really lucky, that content will go viral and attract loads of new paying customers.
But you can’t force that kind of magic, nor should you spend all your time and effort trying to create the next unicorn. Sometimes the best and most powerful content is also the most practical. And convenient doesn’t mean boring. You should always strive to make your content as engaging as possible. Just Calibrate: There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when your audience is craving old-fashioned quality information.
After all, whether doing it via voice commands or entering a text query, most people still turn to search engines for answers to everyday questions and problems. And when brands consistently provide helpful and valuable content, search engines reward them with more favorable rankings.
Take travelers, for example. The brand’s content hub is full of well-optimized and highly relevant informative content for its audience. In the hub, you’ll find a mix of blog posts, videos and interactive tools answering questions like “How much does it cost to close a house?” Travelers also provides step-by-step guides on topics like how to pack for a move and what methods will best protect your home from stormwater damage.
While these materials may not sound like a grandiose brand narrative, the insurance company’s dedication to solving real customer problems through its content marketing helps them establish a foundation of trust and reliability with their audience.
Don’t get distracted by every flashy new trend
Take the now infamous “pivot to video” trend, for example. In 2016, marketing soothsayers were certain that video would replace just about everything. With organic social reach in the restroom and seemingly every organization in the world blogging, videos not only seemed like a viable method of grabbing your audience’s attention, but one that could lead to your brand’s wild success. And back then, Facebook’s video metrics supported that idea — and when the social media giant says “jump,” advertisers start practicing their parkour.
Virtually overnight, huge media companies started laying off writers and hiring video production crews. Some have almost stopped creating written content and instead invested their resources in expensive and time-consuming video efforts.
The results? According to data shared by Digiday. Eventually, Facebook came clean, admitting it had inflated its video metrics by 60-80%, then facing a massive lawsuit.
Does this caveat mean that you should never explore new or different forms of content? Of course not. Innovation is key to brand sustainability. But never put all your marketing eggs in one basket and waste all your resources chasing a new fad. Video is a powerful and necessary addition to your content mix, but it shouldn’t automatically take precedence over other media resources at your disposal.
Diversify your content marketing mix
Creating a single type of content is a bit like ordering a pizza for every meal – it’s simple, easy, and it sustains you for a while. But eventually it will start to cause problems.
As a brand, creating only one form of content will cripple your brand exposure. While one segment of your audience may prefer to get their content from blog posts and articles, another segment may prefer more visual content, such as videos and slide presentations. For example, while some people will happily download and read an e-book cover to cover, others will prefer to see the information presented in a webinar.
So what’s the best way to keep everyone happy? Diversify your content marketing mix. Strive to reuse popular pieces of content in multiple formats so you can get your message in front of as many people as possible. For example, if you notice that a blog post is getting tons of traffic, think about how you could expand on that topic in a podcast or infographic to appeal to other segments of your audience.
Leverage your customer base
Although the term “social influencer” is relatively new, the concept is as old as marketing itself. Leveraging happy customers is one of the most effective ways to build interest and trust in your brand, and it’s even more effective when those customers have several thousand highly engaged followers.
Tom’s of Maine has had tremendous success with its influencer program. A few years ago, the beloved natural products brand wanted to increase its awareness and engagement on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter by leveraging micro-influencers and social media users with around 1,000 to 50,000 followers.
But they don’t work with just any influencers. To protect their brand, Tom’s proactively seeks influencers who support their core values of health and sustainability, as well as social users who genuinely use and enjoy the company’s products. Additionally, to ensure the brand’s social presence is consistent and authentic, Tom’s extends that same passion for eco-friendly products to every channel where they create content. Their “Good Matters” content hub, for example, discusses small steps their audience can take to live more sustainable lifestyles.
Tom’s recognized the need to create eye-catching content that matched its brand voice and could be shared across all channels, from Instagram to Pinterest. The drive to engage in conversations across all social spaces has allowed the brand to create a real connection with audiences that may not be achievable through ad campaigns alone.
Developing a content marketing mix that meets your business goals doesn’t have to strain your resources, or require you to spend your entire budget chasing new trends. Whether you’re looking to improve your search engine rankings, increase brand awareness, generate more demand, strengthen relationships with existing customers, or all of the above, using these four things to do’s and don’ts will help you overcome common industry pain points and meet your marketing goals.
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Featured Image Credit: Rathish Gandhi