If you’re not doing THIS with your content marketing strategy, you’ve got it all wrong…

Image courtesy of Google
Image courtesy of Google

Content, content, content… That’s all we hear these days. We know we need a strategy around it. We know we need to produce it. But do we know the fundamental pieces of the puzzle to ensure the strategy works? Are we getting it right, or are we just pumping out noise? Are we creating content fatigue?

I was interested to hear what some of the local content experts had to say at the recent ad:tech Australia conference about this topic. I walked away with reinforcement on our own view of what content marketing should and shouldn’t be. How does your brand perform according to these insights?

1.       Make the user the centre of your universe
Creating content purely to drive a commercial result, probably won’t work. You must start with the user experience FIRST – not your objective of raising awareness for X or driving sales for Y. Help your customer. Entertain them. Enlighten them. Inform then. Solve their problem. But don’t sell to them. If your content doesn’t do these things, it’s noise. If it does, then over time, it will automatically achieve your commercial goals.

2.       Think long-term
You won’t see a commercial result in the short term. The most successful content advertisers have been committed for years. They don’t dabble here and there in content. Content is not a campaign, it’s a commitment. As early as 1895, John Deere, an agricultural company, created a magazine with the pure intent to help farmers be more profitable. Today the magazine still exists and has over 1.5 million readers. Do you think it helps them sell more product too? You bet.

3.       Drive a cultural shift within your organisation
The brands that are leading the way in content have made it a part of their business, not just their marketing department. A cultural shift needs to take place within your organisation for exceptional results to occur as a result of your content. Red Bull is a great example of a content brand that gets it right – their content is part of their culture.

4.       Get buy-in from the top
Your C-level suite need to understand your strategy and support it. They need to contribute to it where possible. They have the experience, insights and knowledge to take the content from good to great. Importantly, they also steer the investment commitment.
5.       Be authentic
Don’t trick. You’ll lose credibility in the end. Two words… ‘Strangers Kissing’.

6.       Forget your brand
Wait a minute… what? Ok, don’t completely forget about your brand. Stay consistent with your brand tone and voice but no blatant plugs –  focus on making your reader more knowledgeable. The essence of your content strategy should come from your brand story and your business strategy, however the content pieces don’t necessarily need to mention your brand if you’re doing your job of adding value to your audience. As SAP’s Ray Kloss nicely put it at ad:tech, a brand flogging their product within social media is like flogging Tupperware at your friend’s wedding.

7.       Good content has good social sharing
There’s no point in having content if your readers can’t share it. Make it easy. This is a hygiene factor these days.

8.       Listening is as important as talking
Listen to your target audience. Where are they? What are they talking about and what are they asking for? Follow a sample of them on social media and listen to what they’re saying are their problems. Create content that matches what you’re hearing. We have two ears and one mouth. We should be using them accordingly.

Thank you ad:tech content experts for helping to highlight to brands what are the necessary components of a good content strategy. So how do you stack up? Does your content strategy score an 8 out of 8?


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