Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute
Content marketing is the new marketing silver bullet. Everybody is talking about it.
How do we create great content that sizzles (not fizzles)? More importantly, how do we keep the pipeline full while sustaining customer relationships through content?
Thanks to an engaging podcast on Six Pixels of Separation featuring Joe Pulizzi (author of Epic Content Marketing), I managed to pick up a couple of useful tips on this new wave of marketing. Allow me to share these thoughts from the widely recognised “guru” of content marketing Joe Pulizzi, mashed-up with my own perspectives on the subject.
Who are Your Content Marketing Competitors?
In content marketing, what you consider as your competitors aren’t merely companies providing similar goods and services.
Instead, they can be practically anybody or any organisation generating user friendly content, especially online. That may include your prospect’s family members on Facebook, friends on Twitter, celebrities on Instagram, political parties, government agencies, media players themselves and so on.
With so many players muscling on your prospect’s limited attention span, what can you do?
Tap Unfilled Content Niches
Against this backdrop of digital noise, you can stand out from the competition by identifying and focusing on content niches that are unfilled.
Find an existing problem relevant to the target customer for your product. Provide helpful content that fills their unique needs.
For example, if you sell kitchen appliances, consider running a blog or YouTube channel offering tips on cooking like a chef without busting your back (and wallet).
Build an Audience for Your Content
Building an audience is critical to content marketers.
To do so, you need to write, script, and produce content in fun and engaging ways that captures their attention while generating word-of-mouth and virality.
Create content that fits what your audience would be keen to consume, rather than force-feed them with your saccharin-sweet corporate spiel.
Establish a Consistent Content Rhythm
Consistency is key. Like Rome, good content is built over many months and even years of relentless effort.
Maintain a certain cadence and regularity in how you publish content, be it daily, weekly, or monthly.
Restrain from Over Sharing
Do not communicate every little damn thing which your companies does. There is a clear difference between quality content and mindless drivel.
While some “behind-the-scenes” stories may be endearing and could help to build anticipation, sharing a photo of your shop front every day is overkill.
Curate the stuff which your customer sees, reads, and hears. Make sure that they provide value to him or her.
Get Your Customers into the Act
Look for opportunities to get your customers into the act. Content that is full of corporate puffery repels.
Rather, find ways to interview your customers on video, get a few quality soundbites, or even feature them (and their blog, Facebook page, YouTube Channel).
The simple act of reciprocation builds tonnes of goodwill. Try it.
Avoid the Urge to Sell
Resist the temptation to sell, Sell, SELL. Prospects are easily put off by a company that churns out endless promotions, offers and deals that are “exclusive”, “limited period only”, and “just for you”.
Rather, focus on being useful and cultivating relationships.
Strengthen Customer Relationships and Loyalty
This brings us to a related point of focusing on your existing customers – not just new ones.
Contrary to popular belief, content marketing isn’t an acquisition engine. In fact, it actually works better as a loyalty and retention strategy for current customers.
As such, it pays to continually delight and inspire your customers after the sale such that they may become your brand evangelists.
Build Your Content Hub
Where appropriate (especially for larger companies), consider building your own content media platform.
Embrace Brand Storytelling
It is also useful to develop sound storytelling principles before sharing your content.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How does this all fit into your overarching brand narrative?
- Does your content excite and enchant?
- Are there characters whom your audiences can connect with?
- What about elements of conflict, drama, and resolution that they can resonate with?
Read my post on brand storytelling principles to learn the basics of crafting a coherent and compelling brand story.
Appoint a Chief Content Officer
This brings us to the final point of having a Chief Content Officer for your organisation. Unlike other marketing roles, the job of this person is to integrate the different content threads of the company and ensure that there is coherence and consistency in how your overall narrative is told.
Now that you’ve heard from the content marketing guru himself, I’d love to hear if you’ve got any other thoughts on the topic. What can you do to jazz up your content marketing efforts today?