“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.
“We tried content marketing already but it didn’t work”.
Have you ever heard a business owner say this? We have, but in saying that, being smart about any of your marketing activity means outthinking your competitors. Content marketing is just a way of pulling it together.
When Aidan and I started up O’C&K, one year ago, we planned our company’s online presence using a content marketing strategy. Our thought process was that content marketing is a way of thinking as much as an activity. So if we were to help businesses to be smarter about their marketing, we wanted to create or curate relevant content to share with them. Furthermore, by example, we wanted to encourage customers to use content marketing as a relatively inexpensive way to communicate in general. Then, when added to traditional methods of marketing, as a strategy it would serve to develop their brand and grow the business.
As we reflect on our first year, it seems that in general, more and more businesses are creating content. Some efforts are effective and some of it is, just drivel, and a complete waste of time. Perhaps now with a hint of an economic recovery in this Country, it is opportune for businesses to review their communication. This should be done because quite a few are not joining the dots when it comes to their marketing activity. Let’s face it, most businesses appreciate that the use of video, social and mobile is changing the business landscape. They also acknowledge that content matters in this new environment, but they just can’t seem to pull it all together.
Content can comprise many elements.
Let’s look at some of the main ones and their pitfalls. Then, we will look at what we consider to be good content drivers.
Social Media: It is great that more and more businesses use social media, but unfortunately some do so with a broadcast mentality. They are stuck in a traditional marketing mindset and what they do online and offline is disjointed. I have written about this previously, but it is worth repeating here. I believe that if you are not focused on nurturing relationships, both online (by sharing relevant and engaging content) and offline (by networking), your business will not survive, in the long term. It has never been easier for people to ignore you and your communication, and they will, unless you are useful to them somehow.
Blogs: It is an excellent idea for businesses to own a blog. Unfortunately though, some use it as a sales tool, a product manual or perhaps worse still – don’t maintain it. To be successful a blog must be a relevant source that educates, inspires or entertains your customers, in the first instance.
Blogs and social media go hand-in-hand in building your relevancy so you should take advantage of that fact. Together they are ideal content marketing tools, but take care to ensure that you write them in a non technical, interesting and engaging manner.
Video: You knew that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet – right? Did you also know that it handles more than 20% of all traffic on the web? There is much research in existence that shows the internet is turning visual. I mean, just look at the popularity of Vine, Instagram and Pinterest, (here’s a great board to follow if you’re on Pinterest). Videos are becoming part of our personal daily online lives. It should be no surprise that businesses are learning that videos can be an integral part of their marketing activity. Video production isn’t the daunting and expensive option that it used to be, a twitter colleague of ours @thadykav is a good example of this.
We’ll be the first to admit that O’C&K don’t optimise the potential of our YouTube account much at the moment. This is because initially, we are concentrating on other channels to build a presence. It is our intention to embrace video, in the future. When we do it will fit in with our content marketing strategy and be creative, consistent and of quality.
Others: The danger of press releases and case studies is that irrelevant ones are ignored by everyone and thus, so can be a time-suck. Unless you are up to date on search engine and content optimisation, you can attract penalties from Google online. Many people don’t realise that websites should fit into the content marketing strategy rather than lead it. Free offers of white papers and e-books must be relevant to your target audience, because if not, they can just become an irritant.
As alluded to in a previous post, ( here ), the expectations of the general public, towards business, are changing. In relation to purchasing habits they want their needs satisfied in an easy, quick, transparent way. They definitely do not want to be sold to. So, providing your audience with something they want, will build an authentic and beneficial relationship with customers and prospects.
If a content marketing strategy is to work for you, your activities should reinforce how your business puts the customer first. If you can align the content of your marketing activity with your behaviour, you will be leveraging it in a profitable way for your business.
Tips and timesavers.
Whatever the number of elements you include, there are 5 content drivers that you must adhere to.
- It should be relevant (for your customers, their context and your business).
- It should be useful (after reading it your reader will do or think something in a different way).
- It should not focus on your business (your brand must be part of your customer’s story).
- It should be clear and consistent (the style of writing or presentation should not distract the reader).
- It should be compact and renewable (nobody watches or reads long and / or stale content).
Nobody said this was easy, by the way. We know that some businesses get nervous just thinking about using social media, not to mention having a content marketing strategy. There is no need to panic. Outsourcing is a common and acceptable method of handing this element of branding over to people that can ‘ease your pain’. Just a word of warning though, shop around and agree what exactly they will do for you. The marketplace is swarming with gurus, scammers and poor performers.
If you decide to keep content marketing in-house, the worst thing that you could do is to give the job to an already overworked assistant / HR person / marketing intern. Especially if they don’t have it in their job description. In such scenarios, you will end up using the inevitable excuse for dropping a pro-active marketing approach; “we tried that already, but it didn’t work”.
If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page. Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers. Jim – O’C&K