Content marketing is over.
Or at least content marketing as we know it. Worn out. Used up. Over.
So what went wrong?
Content overload. Too much content full stop. There are only so many hours in the day, no matter how engaging something might be, you need time to consume it.
Content fatigue. Not only do we not have the time to consume everything, our patience is wearing thin.
Pay to play. Social networks are moving to favour paid over organic content.
The list goes on. It’s a tough world for a content marketer. So what can you do to ensure yours is the content that cuts through the noise and reaches your target audience?
1. Write a good content strategy – and use it
Before you can create good content, you need a good content strategy. A *really*good content strategy doesn’t need to be complicated either –why not take the elevator pitch approach and write your strategy on a single slide? Ask yourself if you’re following it before you create every piece of content.
2. Understand your target audience – and target them relentlessly
There’s no sense in creating content without giving a thought to those you hope will engage with it. Think hard about your target audiences and what they need from you in order to be able to better do their job – think about the assets you can produce in order to facilitate this and close that gap.
Digital, more than ever, presents the perfect opportunity to reach and engage niche target audiences, so make sure you know who you’re talking to, what kinds of content they want to see, and where they hang out. Great creative means nothing if it doesn’t speak to your target audience.
3. It’s all about what you say, not how you say it
Yes, it is obvious. It’s also the single most important thing a content marketer should recognise – it’s the message that matters. You need a clear, concise message that speaks to your target audience(s) before you produce a single piece of content. Spend time researching your audience, speak to them, study the analytics and look at what’s worked before. Don’t just create a video about your new big thing – think about the video people want to see.
4. Invest in your content
The best things in life aren’t free. I’m not saying you should take a Superbowl spot next year, but the brands doing the most exciting content marketing are starting to spend online, where the impact can be so much higher than TV advertising. Why not think of YouTube as your opportunity to play with the big boys?
5. Invest in the visibility of your content
Organic and paid are converging, each becoming more dependent upon the other in the on-going struggle to be noticed. Naturally you still need great organic content, otherwise your audience are never going to care and the end result will be more of the same. So while we’re not suggesting you throw money at everything, dedicate a portion of your budget to paid content, spend wisely and learn from your experiences.
Aim high and let paid tip you over the edge. Pick the assets that are performing best and spend reactively to give them a boost – you could find views, shares and likes snowballing.
6. Get your user journeys in order – before you start
Getting the user journey right is as important as getting the message and content right. Why let yourself fall at the last hurdle? Consider the campaign entry points to your website, how people will find them and what you want them to do on the site, and make damn sure the site helps make it happen.
7. Understand the channels you’re using (and recognise the ones you don’t need to use!)
It’s all too easy to read about Snapchat and/or any number of other ‘niche’ platforms, and panic –“Why aren’t we on ?!”
If you’ve ever seen how a teenager actually uses Snapchat, for example, you’ll realise that you probably not only don’t want your brand to engage so intensively, but also that you’d be hard-pushed to sustain and resource such activity unless it was really paying off.
Make sure you really understand a platform and not just why you should use it, but also how to use it, before you start/continue. Don’t simply assume that if you build it, they will come.
8. Measure the right things
The most valuable things to measure have always been the hardest (or most expensive) to get right. But that shouldn’t be an excuse to not measure –nor should it be an excuse to just follow the simple metrics. Think about what you need to know, what will truly indicate your content is cutting through and delivering on your business goals. Think about what combination of simple metrics will help you understand what you need to know, or what the missing link is in finding out and work to understand that, not just how many clicks you get on your emails and tweets.
9. Make great content (because crap content got us into this mess)
This is easier said than done, I suppose, but instead of plucking creative out of thin air, think about what you’ve learned from every campaign you’ve ever run. Think about your target audiences and the messaging and content you know works to reach them. Hell, hire an agency (*ahem*) – but whatever you do, don’t launch into content creation without putting the foundations in place to succeed.
Still losing the battle for attention?
If you’re still struggling to cut through the noise, don’t make another asset until you’ve spoken to Omobono. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01223 307000.
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