The most successful brands in the world—regardless of their offerings or their market—have one thing in common: great content marketing storytelling. If you’re not telling engaging stories about your product or service, your customers, or your company, you definitely should be.
In order to keep your marketing content interesting and your audience engaged, you must tap into many sources for your material. One that is sometimes overlooked but that can deliver excellent results is expert interviews. The insights provided by someone who has expertise in an area related to your offerings can be interesting and helpful to your customers and prospects, and can keep them coming back for more.
The holidays are here, and with them eggnog, fruitcake, ugly Christmas sweaters, and festive family gatherings. It’s also the time of year when pundits of all persuasions begin sharing their predictions about what’s in store for content marketing in 2019. So, I’ve poured a cup, cut a slice, donned my finest holiday fashion, and gathered my 30dps family around me as I share some thoughts on how I believe content marketing will evolve in the year ahead.
Big companies pull out all the stops when it comes to their marketing around the holiday season. Flashy TV ads, big sales promotions, aggressive email campaigns… the whole nine yards. As a result, small- to mid-sized companies tend to struggle to be heard. The content marketing strategies that have worked all year can be less effective in the calendar’s last few months.
The human attention span is shrinking rapidly. There are plenty of studies that support this conclusion—but you don’t need researchers to tell you so. You surely see it in yourself and in those around you.
For most people, that fact ranks somewhere between a little sad (as a general observation) and highly irritating (when your dinner date can’t resist the urge to check their phone every 30 seconds). For marketers, it’s downright disturbing. If you can’t keep someone’s attention for more than a few seconds, how are you going to get them to focus long enough to become interested in your offerings?
There are a number of factors that can impact the success of your content marketing efforts. For example, are you using a marketing automation platform like HubSpot? (If not, you should be!) Are you publishing interesting and helpful content on a regular basis? (You absolutely must be!) Are you collaborating with a content marketing agency on your strategy? (I would submit that that is never a bad idea!)
Content marketing is simple in theory: create compelling materials and use them to nurture relationships with people who, over time, make the gradual transition from prospects to customers. However, there is definitely an art to effective inbound marketing and some mistakes are all too common. But, knowing what the potential miscalculations are can help you steer clear of them.
Two of the most important aspects of an effective content marketing program are consistency and creativity. The former is really just a matter of will—putting out high-quality material on a regular basis to keep your target audience informed and engaged. The latter, however, is a little more tricky.
According to Pew Research Center, millennials are now the largest generation in the American workforce. Needless to say, they are a very desirable demographic for many companies. Find the key to winning them over, and you will likely find tremendous sales success.
As I write this, the action in PyeongChang is wrapping up. From my perspective, some of the best stories from the XXIII Olympic Winter Games are those in which an athlete who seemed to be out of medal contention snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat, as they say. I watched that happen on many occasions, and it occurred to me that the same can be true with your content marketing program.
Many a B2B marketer has spoken words to this effect: “Yes, emotion is helpful in B2C marketing, but it just doesn’t work in B2B.” And many a B2B marketer has been mistaken! It seems that we’ve convinced ourselves that business decision makers only focus on purchasing products and services that “drive business value” or that have the right technical specs and “differentiators.” In short, we think that behind the fleshy exterior lives a cold, heartless, analytical robot.
Infographics are a proven tool for communicating data quickly, clearly, and in a way that engages the viewer. And they can be a key component of a content marketing program. That said, all infographics are not created equal. As you would expect, some are better at grabbing and keeping the attention of a target market. But, what’s the right “recipe” for an infographic? You can certainly start to zero in on what works through trial and error. However, a better approach is to use data to drive your decision making.
There was a time when nonprofit entities tended to believe that content marketing was meant for businesses only. Today, however, nonprofits understand that they can leverage engaging materials to attract and inform their target audience, thereby increasing support for their cause. However, just like with any organization, it requires a solid strategy that incorporates some proven tips of the trade.
In a previous post, I talked about “content fatigue” as a condition we’re all experiencing as more companies come to understand the power of content marketing and begin creating bushels of content. But, I expressed my opinion (which is shared by some of the wisest marketing gurus out there) that the idea that inbound marketing has run its course is nonsense. No marketer worth their salt is going to turn back the clock and start bombarding their target audience with old school flyers full of nothing more than product features and benefits.
If you want confirmation that content marketing works, just do a search online for any product or service, no matter how obscure. I guarantee you’ll find content… lots and lots of content. Marketers have invested time and money in creating those materials because they know that their audience is hungry for them. That said, the sheer volume of content that has been created in recent years has led to what many are referring to as “content fatigue.”
Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the holiday season. And whether your product or service is one that gets gobbled up between now and the end of the year or not, there are some great content marketing lessons to be learned from that time-honored tradition, the family Thanksgiving dinner.
Right now or later this week… in a conference room across town or across the country… a team is or will be meeting not to focus on their product and service offerings, but on yours. In today’s increasingly competitive business climate, companies that have an understanding of what others in their industry are doing are much more successful than those that don’t. As part of your content marketing efforts, it’s critical that you commit some resources to competitive research.
Ignore the humorously ominous title of this post. Content intelligence isn’t something to fear. In fact, it’s something to embrace. “Content intelligence” is a term that’s been around for a decade or so, but it has been used much more frequently in the last few years. It refers to the knowledge gained from systems that use information on content consumers and content consumption to produce actionable insights for driving a content marketing strategy. Yes, that’s a mouthful!
Oh, how time flies! I can’t believe I’m saying that fall has officially arrived, but it has. And before you know it, we’ll be handing out candy, eating turkey, wrapping presents, and ringing in a new year! I suppose as marketers we're especially sensitive to the passage of time, as we’re constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve.
When it comes to distributing, promoting, tracking, and optimizing marketing content for an inbound marketing program, HubSpot is head and shoulders above other platforms, in my estimation. That’s why we are a HubSpot Certified Agency Partner, and one of the top HubSpot agencies in Colorado. But the company is about more than just managing content—they have some great strategies for creating it. Their Content Marketing Hacks guide includes insights from content experts within and outside the company. I share some of the ones that we have found most useful at 30dps below. If your team isn’t using these hacks, and others in the guide, you should be!