I had the opportunity to attend an excellent presentation on content marketing by Michael Brenner, vice president of marketing and content strategy at SAP. Content marketing is experiencing astronomical growth the last two to three years, with no slow down in sight. Some of the frenzy over content, however, seems to have the feel of chasing the latest shiny object for brand marketers.
Is there a decent ROI when it comes to content marketing? I believe there can be, but it’s going to take some growth and practice to really hone in on everything that well done content marketing can offer.
For instance, in order to be most effective, Brenner correctly pointed out that content needs the following:
- Simple answers to relevant questions
- Consumer-centric focus
- To be more visual consumable and “snackable”
- Emotional messages (these are twice as effective as promotional messages)
- Focus on helping on the customer
- Entertainment value as well as information
Mark Schaefer’s recent post about Content Shock had some truth to it. Content production is increasing so dramatically that it will reach a tipping point, if it hasn’t already. The vast supply of content means is will be tougher to break through the noise for most marketers and reach their audience. Those that succeed will have one of two things 1.) Really deep pockets to promote their content, or 2.) Excellence in producing the best content that breaks through the clutter.
Succeeding in content marketing is a tall order for sure, but it can be done. Points like the ones above are just the start, so much more goes into creating really great content that gets noticed and drives action. What would you add to the list?
Bigger isn’t always better. In fact, when it comes to content, shorter, bite-sized pieces are often (but not always) better. For marketers and content publishers, competition for attention and speed of information almost necessitates shorter content in many cases.
Shorter content allows more frequent publishing, which is needed when the average life of a tweet, Facebook or Google+ post is only hours.
It can also be saved and built into lengthier content pieces. Entire books have come out of a of series of blog posts. If the content is collected it can be used for any number of long-form applications.
Bite-sized content also allows fast communication. Views can be shared more immediately while news is breaking.
Passive audiences are also more likely to consume a short piece of content than a piece they fear will steal their time.
Long content pieces will always continue to have their place and importance. But with content marking, saying it as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality are becoming as important as ever.
Here are a couple excellent (but longer) posts on content brevity:
6 Reasons to Make Your Big Idea Small
What’s So New About Content Marketing?
I had the privilege of attending the Chicago American Marketing Association’s “New Social Media Marketing Tools and Rules” on Wednesday. Speakers for the program were Adam Lilly, Brand Director at Goose Island Beer Company and Nader Ali-Hassan, Associate Director, Social Media at Razorfish. It was an afternoon filled with actionable social media information, including the following key takeaways:
Adam Lilly shared:
- Make time to connect with people on social media.
- Generate new and fresh content; don’t say the same things over and over.
- Social media is a destination. Participate in the conversation.
- Enable others to talk about your brand.
- Practice timely storytelling.
- Social must be a commitment and ingrained in the culture of the brand.
- Good brand social media frontline employees are good storytellers.
- Metrics are not as important as engagement.
- Share in a creative and meaningful way.
- Weekly digital content meetings can help generate ideas.
- Encourage widespread use of social media by employees.
Nader Ali-Hassan shared:
- The story and how you tell it is important.
- Social media is about creating and connecting.
- People don’t want to connect to a brand, but the people behind it.
- Think about utility: providing value to the consumer.
- Have a consistent brand voice across platforms.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel; take advantage of the technologies that are available.
- Think about social as a paid, earned and owned proposition.
- Always plan ease and sharability into your content.
- Trust your gut: If the shiny object doesn’t feel right, don’t use it.
- Be willing to cede control of the brand to others.
- Include social media in the overall marketing mix.
What would you add?