Updated: 7 hours ago
Content marketing is no longer the new kid on the block.
Every business worth it’s salt has invested in the area, with content marketing – or the creation of valuable and relevant material that stimulates interest in a product, service or brand, rather than explicitly promoting it – so prevalent that it is at risk of becoming the new white noise.
Research suggests that more than 1.7 billion websites worldwide house more than 500 million blogs – with another two million posted every day.
To avoid fading into the background, is it time to rethink your approach to content?
Making sure your content hits the mark
For the majority of businesses, content typically comprises blog articles and social posts, and, sometimes, podcasts, videos and webinars.
All of these are perfectly good examples of content – as long as they remain true to the dual aims of providing information that is valuable and relevant.
To ensure your content is valuable and relevant to your target audience, it needs to give them more than just a rehash of what’s happening in your particular industry.
In short, it needs to give your audience something they can’t get elsewhere.
How to embed relevance and value in your content
The two easiest ways to do this are by providing your audience with access to the views and expertise of your staff, and by referencing proprietary data in your content.
Both of these add value and play into behavioural economics (BE) pillars which influence audience decision making.
Promoting your staff as experts and giving your audience access to their views taps into the BE bias of deference to authority. To achieve this, your staff need to understand the power and purpose of content marketing and buy into your content strategy, something that typically needs to be led from the top of the organisation down.
Providing access to proprietary data and statistics helps to nudge your audience down the sales funnel through the BE principle of herd behaviour – just think about the last time you were influenced by hearing that 78% of people were all doing something.
And it doesn’t necessarily involve commissioning a research firm to undertake a survey – thanks to technology all businesses have become research firms. Accessing your company’s proprietary data may involve getting the IT staff on board, but the insights it can garner and the influence it can hold – at no cost to the business – are well worth the effort.
Pushing the boundaries - innovative content trends
Beyond making your traditional content the best it can be, there are several innovations trending in the content world if you’re interested in pushing your approach to content further:
So many brands send eDMs or newsletters that audiences are beginning to automatically associate these forms of communication with marketing. The next iteration is to produce a magazine, whether physical or digital, which, thanks to its foundations in journalism, is a format audiences consider more informational and less sales-led.
To do it well, investment in photography, graphic design and quality writing will be required but the pay off in brand trust and consideration can be substantial. AMP Capital is one business which has successfully adopted this approach.
Content curation involves providing your audience with a curated selection of content produced by other brands. This might seem counter intuitive – why would a business look to promote the content of other businesses? – however doing so has several benefits.
It builds audience trust, as they are less likely to see your business as self-serving and only sending them marketing. Content curation also builds brand authority and credibility – you become known for keeping up with the latest news and trends in the industry and liked for sending information that truly has your customer’s interests at heart. Check out this example from creative agency Now We Collide.
Brand partnerships, or collaborations, are a great way of piggybacking off another brand’s credibility and tapping into their audience. This idea isn’t new – corporate sponsorships have been around for decades – but a collaboration is more of an equal meeting of two brands, rather than a business sponsoring a sports team or supporting a charity.
The new approach to collaboration involves partnering with a business or an individual with similar brand values and credibility to your own. For example, you might create a co-branded hub that shares insights from both company’s thought leaders, like Business Chicks and Xero have done, or collaborate to produce a magazine or piece of industry research.
This content approach taps into the technology trend, but can also be translated offline to serve up content in such a creative way that your audience might not even realise they’re consuming it.
NRMA have been doing some interesting things in this space, first launching a family board game that involves players collecting assets such as cars and houses, and protecting them with giant domes that represent insurance to educate and engage people with risk. More recently, they’ve launched a new world for the popular online game Minecraft to engage and educate kids – and their parents – about the importance of natural disaster preparedness.
Not just content writing
If you’d like some advice on your content strategy, or help in producing more innovative forms of content, my expertise extends beyond writing. You can contact me for a free, no-obligation, 30 minute discussion of your needs, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 0418243711 for more information.