Over the years content marketing has progressed and evolved into different content formats such as blogging, infographics, videos, influencer posts, user-generated content, live videos, etc. Somewhere along the way, it has developed to become an integral part of the customer journey and today, it is at the core of all marketing plans/strategies. Organisations should no longer try to sell or market their content but instead strategise a way for it to be woven through all their marketing efforts. In other words, place content at all the right touch points for an enhanced customer engagement.
The way I look at it, there are 6 key aspects to content strategy:
- WHAT is being said - the unique selling proposition
- WHERE is it being said - platforms that are being used for communications such as Facebook, Instagram, Blog pages etc
- WHO is saying it - bearer of the message i.e. owner generated vs user-generated content
- WHY is it being said - the intent behind the messaging
- WHEN is it being said - are you targeting the user at the right moment
- HOW is it being said - the method of communication i.e. the content format
The most common “How” i.e. the content format, is in the form of blogs and articles but lately we have seen a shift from long content forms to short content forms.
And the “Who” i.e. the bearer of the message is usually the marketing team within the organization itself. In this case, the trend is to produce more user-generated content in comparison to owner generated content.
Given this shift, organisations need to acknowledge that now is the time to make changes to the way marketing teams function and strategise their content.
The “Who” & “How”
- Content generation is not restricted to just content creators or social media people. Content generated by a product/development team is far more valuable and engaging because they are able to highlight how a new launch can improve/change the industry or simply even address certain customer pain points.
- Companies like Trivago, a price comparison website for hotels, get their country managers (who in some instances have built a well-known personality in the travel space) to endorse the benefits of comparing hotels to locate the best deals available. And companies like Happy Marketer, a data-driven agency, allow teams to express their individual perspectives about digital that helps the clients engage and gain trust in the teams they are working with for their respective projects and the organization as a whole too.
- An even better way to get a potential customer’s attention is to get an existing customer to endorse the benefits they saw in the product/service. People love to hear from the horse’s mouth and are more willing to trust and associate with a brand that is endorsed by the customers itself.
- Brands like Dove, Harpic and many others have been doing it in a video format for a while now and most brands today, include quotes from their existing clients/customers at various customer touch points.
It is one thing to know what kind of content should be put out and another altogether to understand the what, where, when, and why of socialising content - to realise the value. It is important to have a core team within the organization who helps decide this by looking for the following:
The “What” & “Where”
- People no longer have the same attention span as they previously did which means that you should put across your message in an impactful and short format such as generating content that fits into Instagram stories, sponsored posts on Facebook, 6 second bumper ads and etc.
- Nike’s message is 3 words “Just do it”, it refers to the transformation that every individual wishes to undergo but is lazy to do so. It’s so brief and impactful. Airbnb has interesting captions along with beautiful images (sometimes shared by customers) that help keep their insta stories short and eye catching
- There are a lot of places where people can share their own reviews (good or bad), so scour the Internet regularly to ensure that your products and/or services provided have made your customers satisfied and they have left a positive trail, which helps to add authenticity and transparency. Reputation management should be at the core of your content strategy, interacting with people on all relevant platforms, such that your customers are perpetually engaged.
- JetBlue is a very good example for good online reputation management. In an environment where flights get delayed or cancelled, frustrated customers is a given. It’s how you respond to this as an organisation that makes you difference. JetBlue makes sure they proactively communicate with the customer along with a substantial response and this sets them apart from the others
- Given the crazy number of blogs that already exist, people don’t want to hear about generic things anymore.They want to hear something new & fresh, so pick a niche topic and talk about it from a fresh perspective, drawing from your own experiences is a must. Writing from their own point of views, teams should be able to give the right examples which will personalise the content.
- The owner of an experiential travel firm called Offbeat Tracks, travels through various locales herself and then plans out the trips for her tour groups, including local walking tours through exciting locales in the city. She also generates content out of the same (photos, articles, Instagram stories etc) and promotes it.
- Make sure content is kept at the heart of your overall marketing strategy. It is no longer just an awareness building tool, so make sure that every touch point reeks of impactful messaging to the right audience. Instead of looking at blogs and articles, teams can look at generating content (infographics, short videos, Instagram stories etc) with which they are able to target the right audience based on their previous interactions with the brand. It is essential for you to know where your target audience is and choose an appropriate format to get through to them.
- Every time HubSpot’s customers search on Google for a solution they see a catchy headline that takes them to a potential solution. At the bottom of the content the customers are given an option to sign up and each customer sees a specific type of offer based on their behaviour on the site, thereby keeping their customer engaged at all touch points
In conclusion, content must be kept at the heart of a marketing strategy and used across the appropriate channels for desired results.