They Say "Content is King" But We Believe It's More a Combination of Content & Context
Content Marketing is a hot topic for professional marketers. In fact, the rapid growth of social media platforms Tik Tok and Twitch are probably the best proof that content is king. But they also reinforce the idea that context — where and how you experience the content — especially as sunami of content is added to the Internet every day — which we refer to as context, is more and more important. As we speak, YouTube is the 2nd-largest search engine on the planet, and undoubtedly the largest content trove that exists today.
There is a lot than can be learned from this daily flood of new content. And like everything else, there are great examples out there as well as colossal failures.
Common examples of content any business can create include:
- White Papers
- Q&A Articles
- How-To Guides
- Podcasts (Audio, Video)
- Original Artwork
Clearly Understanding Your Customer Personas Helps Drive More Meaningful Decisions About the Types of Content You Should Create
Any successful content marketing strategy puts itself in the shoes of the prospective customer and answers some important questions:
Q: What type of information does this person want to consume?
Q: How, where, and when does this person want to consumer that content?
Q: What is the brand story we want this person to absorb from the content?
Often, companies create content that’s easy to create (for obvious reasons), without considering these questions. You may be creating a lot of content that no one is consuming and wondering why?
Like all of our strategies at Source Local Media, we follow a pretty simple formula at the heart of it:
TARGETING + MESSAGING + REACH = RESULTS
Translating that into a content marketing strategy, we start with the customer persona. In other words, WHO are we talking to?
Then we consider WHAT we want to say to that person. Our litmus test around that is to consider these 3 major criteria:
There is no point investing your time, money, and expertise in non-original content. For example, platforms like Google and Facebook conduct assessments of everything new added to the Internet within seconds of its existence and place an originality score on it. If it’s not materially different from something they’ve already seen before, getting your content seen will be like trying to get a mortgage with a sub-500 credit score.
The most common failure of content marketing is a lack of originality.
We’re not all born interesting. If that were true, there’d be no celebrities. Fact is, not everyone should be creating content. It often requires passion for the topic, unique expertise and/or perspective, and sometimes you have to be pretty opinionated/controversial to be interesting. If making interesting content were easy, we’d all be doing it. And interesting should be viewed from the perspective of your target customer, not you.
There are a lot of things in which you may be very interested that most other people find boring. And vice versa.
Just to complicate things, not everything that interesting yields the kind of engagement we want. The ultimate goal of all content marketing is to engage potential customers so you can ultimately grow the business. Without engagement, you’ve just got entertainment.
The second most common failure of content marketing is going viral and missing the point. Some of the best advertising in the world is highly-memorable as content, but doesn’t translate into sales for the brand. See “Where’s the Beef” lady.
And only after we know the WHO and WHAT, do we consider the best answers to HOW, WHEN, & WHERE? That’s where we apply our unique Bullseye Marketing Method.
Where to Publish & Promote Your Content (the Context You Create) Should Carefully Consider the Customer Persona You're Trying to Reach
Once we know WHO we’re talking to and WHAT we have to say, then — and only then — is it time to worry about HOW, WHEN, & WHERE.
As we answer HOW, that’s where we’re choosing the types of content we will create. According to our Bullseye Marketing Method, we begin with the types of content that seem most plausible. We never assume we’re right; we simply pick the best 3-5 ideas and develop simple tests of plausibility. As we answer WHEN and WHERE, we’re choosing the platforms where we will publish our content as well as the platforms we will use to reach potential customers.
During the first 30 days, we test those ideas — and then throw out what clearly didn’t work, even if it’s our favorite idea. There can be no pride in authorship…
During the second 30 days, we hone in on what worked the best and iterate it to determine which variables have the greatest impact on success or failure. Since we can track the behavior, we can determine how changes (no matter how subtle or large) affect the overall success. We often create different context in this phase and look for improvements. The data often bears out best practices like days of the week and times of day when engagement and conversion are stronger or weaker.
Finally, in the next 30 days, we optimize the funnel using the tactics that have stood the test of time and shown the ability to reach our lead generation and conversion goals.