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Trend: Marketing Masters: They’re Publishing Content. Are You?

If you’re not creating content, start! If you are, create more!

These days marketing success goes beyond banners, email and search engine marketing. With the proliferation of digital channels and the screens that support them, marketers need to invest more in content development that entertains, delights, educates and moves their customers to buy. In the past decade, the quants overtook marketing departments at the cost of creativity, resulting in a sea of mediocre content.

Since the demand for content is growing to a louder beat, balance is gradually being restored as companies rush to strengthen their customer bonds through videos, blogs, social media and games. Contrary to the trend, effective content development doesn’t require big budgets. In fact, small to medium sized businesses in particular can master content marketing without blowing their creative budgets and in a way that adds value to their brand.

Almost a year ago, we wrote about the value of a strong content marketing campaign in our post “Giving Content Development High Priority”. Back then we stressed its importance as a foundation for marketing automation. However, today the value of quality content goes far beyond that. Tony Quin, CEO of IQ, a full service agency said in a recent post for Marketing Daily that “compelling content is the currency that buys your customer’s attention and affection long before they reach the stage of comparing features and benefits.” Knowing this, its obvious that every business CAN and SHOULD be a publisher. There is an immense amount of marketing clutter out there for businesses to compete with. Creating content that adds value to your brand will be what separates you from the competition.

Takeaway: You’re competing with clutter: Whoever adds the most value to their brand wins.

Marketers can no longer afford to dedicate their entire budget to either direct sales or straight branding. Those who market only to sell a product are doing their customers a disservice as these efforts are solely promotional and fail to add value to their brand. Just as the days of batch and blast email campaigns are behind us, so too are the days of blaring advertisements meant to single handedly promote a brand. We’ve entered the age of relationships. According to HD Marketing 2010: Sharpening the Conversation, marketers must “listen, facilitate and create advocacy. Marketing is less about pushing messages at consumers and more about co-creating experiences with consumers.” The best part is that fulfilling that demand for co-creation by offering valuable content is 100% within every businesses reach.

Unlike certain “interruption” marketing techniques such as direct mail or TV commercials whose message is often unsolicited, targeted content helps build relationships and trust by connecting the marketer to the consumer. Quality content delivered repeatedly and frequently will keep your brand at the forefront of the consumers mind while constantly adding value to your brand. Understanding the importance of nurturing these relationships throughout the entire purchasing cycle will increases the chances of converting prospects and will encourage repeat buying. The goal is to catch your audience with informative and compelling content even if they aren’t necessarily ready to buy. Timing, frequency, and relevance of content are key to engaging your audience and keeping your name in their mind until the time is right.

How To: Pump up the value with content.

As noted earlier, effective content marketing is within every businesses reach, regardless of their size or budget. All it takes to get started is a solid understanding of your target customer and a little creativity. Begin by honing in on what current content gets the most traffic. Are some topics more popular than others? Does one channel stand out from the rest? First build off of current successes and then work on getting creative.

In researching for this post I came across a Facebook posting from the ladies of the Chic to Chic boutique that coincidentally is located just down the street from Gold Lasso’s headquarters. I knew instantly that they were an excellent example of how, when armed with just a video camera and a little pizzazz, anyone can create relevant and meaningful content that will grab their audiences’ attention. A few highlights of their campaign: As an upscale consignment boutique whose stock is constantly changing, they turned to youtube to let their customers know whenever they got a new batch of goodies or would be hosting a new sale. Also included in their over 40 video installments are bits covering their “HOT item of the week,” as well as trends in prom fashion, hair styles and handbags, just to name a few. They were even recently featured on a local news channel giving a tutorial on how to spot knock-off designer duds. These ladies have hit a home run by providing useful and entertaining videos that go beyond educating their customers. Fueled by an unmistakable passion for their Chic Girl clientele, they have given their audience an inside look at the Chic to Chic culture. This connection builds relationships with viewers even if they’re not necessarily looking to go on a shopping spree. Because after all, if you can’t buy, window shopping is the next best thing!

If amateur video isn’t your thing, don’t fret. There are many other roads to venture down including:

  • Lists: People LOVE lists. They’re easy to compile, quick to read and informative. The bonus here is that you can be a little self serving. For example: a few months back we came up with a list of the Top 5 Trends of 2011. Not only did that piece get the most hits by far over any other Trends post, it gave us the opportunity to repurpose quality content that we already had. No how’s that for cost effective? There are awesome opportunities in finding new ways to use the work you’ve already done. Like I said before, take some time to research what works and build off of that.
  • Apps/free services: A simple app that repurposes RSS feeds and creates alerts is within everyone’s reach. Providing a free product or service that anyone can use is just as effective. Allstates Digital Locker is a great example. “It guides you through the process of cataloguing your home using your phone. It’s easy, fast and when you’re done it stores everything safely in the cloud. Allstate gives its app away for free, regardless of what insurance company you use”. The key here is that it is marketed directly to their target consumer and is available to anyone but isn’t obviously trying to reel them in and sell them.
  • White papers: The research is quick and fairly basic (great work for an intern!) and the paper itself doesn’t have to be lengthy. Three pages is more than enough and for some topics a simple one-pager will do.

The most important takeaway is that no matter what you choose to do with your content marketing, it doesn’t have to break the budget. All it takes is commitment and a little creativity.


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