I’ve spent the last few months working on a riddle.
How do you get people to notice your content when 2 million new blog posts will be published today.
An already difficult question mutates into an impossible one when you add in the 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.
This means that your business’ content is already buried one minute after it hits your RSS feed. It’s perverse but, your reader will think your brilliant content is old news by this afternoon.
This is what my friend Mark Schaefer calls Content Shock. I call it the Content Bubble because the supply of content has far outstripped demand. Content marketing works if you work it.
But the simple answers aren’t working. The obvious tactics have lost their punch too. I’ve resigned myself to the reality that a 60 minute webinar can’t come close to teaching you what you need to know.
The Content Bubble is about the burst and like the dot-com bubble – only businesses with a comprehensive, well-designed content marketing strategy will survive the backlash of disillusionment and finger-pointing.
We believe that a successful content marketing strategy is built on 12 key points.
Over the next 4 weeks we’ll examine all twelve and give you some pointers on how to apply them to your content marketing strategy.
Tip: You should sign-up for updates so that you won’t miss a part of the series. Sign-up for blog updates at the top of this article.
Wrap your head around this word. Relevancy makes content marketing work. You can go back to PPC and SEO voodoo tactics your content isn’t telling a relevant story to your ideal customer.
Achieving relevancy requires focusing on where your solutions and customer needs connect. Effective content marketing strategies find this connection and uses information to strengthen it.
Questions to answer:
- How will your client feel after learning about your solution?
- How is your product fit into the life of your customer?
#2. Influence the influencer
The best content strategies forge resilient bonds of relevancy with a core group of influencers.
Most strategies allocate resources to reaching a broad number of people in a loosely defined group. This is a waste of time. Consider how you make decisions to see why.
I just bought a new minivan. I didn’t review my Facebook feed. I didn’t curate and read blog posts on selecting minivans.
I called a super-influencer – my brother-in-law. He’s an automotive engineer, amazing negotiator, and expert craigslist whisperer. He assembled a short list of choices for my wife and I to consider. He found pointed us to the right information about the brands we were considering. He checked with his own network to get the truth about the Honda Odyssey we selected.
My brother-in-law influenced a major purchase. You need to influence John if you want to sell the Smith clan a vehicle. The same applies to your network. Your content marketing strategy should allocate time to identifying and building relationships with super influencers who guide the decision-making for your customers.
Use the illustration below to visualize the super influencers in your audience.
Questions to answer:
- Who influences your customers buying decision?
- Do you have a plan in place to woo these influencers?
#3. The Right Message At The Right Time
Imagine that you can shadow your future customer during a typical workday.
They wake-up, put on their running shows, slip on their earphones and go for a run. They shower, dress, get in the car and begin their 30 minute commute to work. They check email, flag anything they need to read later, and get to work.
At lunch, they eat at their desk, watching a video or revisiting an email they marked earlier for a closer read. Around 4PM they begin their transition from work to home, maybe printing out a few things to read later that evening.
The commute home is longer than usual but a podcast makes traffic jam bearable.
Back at home your customer morphs into Dad and husband for a few hours. At 9PM, the iPad comes out for watching a short taped webinar. Later that evening, a few notes are made on the printed out blog posts for follow-up the next morning at the office.
How are you inserting your content into this customer’s workflow. Are you interrupting or enhancing this customers experience? Or do you have a one-dimensional text-only strategy that only fits into 10 minutes of your customer’s schedule?
Your content strategy needs to be mobile, convenient, and multi-platform to catch your prospect’s attention.
Here’s an illustration that I use with my clients to help plan how to insert content into their customer’s day.
Use this illustration to think about your customer’s day. Customize the schedule to fit your customer.
Questions to answer:
- What types of content does your customer use during the day?
- What is your customer’s preferred way to discover new information?
- How can you put your best content in front of your customer at the time and on the device they prefer?
#4. Sizzle and Steak
Research shows that people process visual imagery 60,000x faster than text. They weren’t kidding When they say “a picture is worth a thousand words!”
Photos, videos, illustrations, and infographics continue to gain ground as bona-fide content tools. Your content team has to be equipped to use graphics design to enhance your narrative.
I’m advising my clients to set-aside budget to polish their day-to-day content and add more visual sizzle to all of their communications.
Questions to answer:
- How do you plan to use visual content like infographics, photos, and and flowcharts to enhance your story?
- Have you identified graphic designers that can help polish your presentation? Tip: I use Odesk to find excellent graphic designers at a great price. Be careful though – cheap graphic designers offer cheap looking graphics 99% of the time.
How to Make Visual Content That Doesn’t Suck – This post from Dustin Stout teaches you a few pointers that will immediately make your visual content look much better.
Canva: This is the graphic design secret weapon behind many of the cool blog post images you see. This tool is for free. It’s becoming a must have.
The Only Social Media Image Dimensions You Need: Another killer article from Dustin Stout. Read it. Bookmark it. Use it.
#5. Winning the Attention Marathon
I wish content marketing was a 1x tactic.
We hope that the equation worked out to be One post + One reader = guaranteed sale. As you know, it doesn’t work like that.
Instead content marketing resembles most real-world relationships. Trust is built daily by being relevant, consistent, and at times surprising, funny, and unexpected. The best content marketers realize that they need time to build profitable relationships. The bigger the transaction, the longer the courtship. The good news is that content marketing is proving to be a potent trust builder – if you are patient.
Question to answer:
- How are you staying top-of-mind with prospects when they are not reading your blog?
- What does your customer need to know and believe in order to trust you? How are you delivering this information?
We’ll Cover Points 6-8 Next Time
Until then work through the questions we discussed in this article. Go ahead and sign-up for updates and we’ll send the next post in this series to your inbox.
Until then head on over to Google+ to offer your insights.