Just because someone can write well, purchase a stock photo, or create a ‘viral’ video does by no means equal content marketing, says Amy Broadfoot from marketing firm Columbus Australia.
One of my small business owner friends shyly mentioned she had attended a business coaching seminar which hinged on cult-like Tony Robbins hysteria. It scared her. The thought of it scared me. The odd thing was it actually had some good advice.
She paraphrased a message from the seminar: ‘Apparently consumers need to spend eight hours of ‘face time’ with a brand before making a major purchase’. And this is, more or less, right. Think wedding venues, cars, even yoga retreats – would you buy any of them from a brand you hadn’t heard of before?
At the core of good content marketing lies exactly this. Content isn’t a standalone social media post, blog entry for SEO rankings or an eDM – it is a whole spectrum of search, retargeting, UX, data research, media buying and creative coming together to inform and entertain our audience. But we knew that already. So why then are so many brands seeing very little off the back of their content?
It’s a process, not an execution
Firstly, just because someone can write well, purchase a stock photo (ugh), or even create a ‘viral’ video does by no means equal content marketing. It may be producing content, but we could be missing the entire marketing part there. If we just want to produce x number of blog posts, we’ve got it wrong. It is essential we understand the online behaviour of an audience first and then decide what content and off-site platforms we need to utilise. Gather key search trends, device preferences, websites and topics which the target markets are over indexing. We’re using a process, and this is just the first step.
Great creatives often don’t understand digital
We’ve got an idea of what we want now so we’ve outsourced our content creation to an esteemed creative agency and now have stunningly beautiful content. However, it may not have been created with the understanding of how an online audience is going to consume it. Video is a great example. Some of Australia’s best filmmakers, who’s work regularly reaches mass audiences, don’t understand digital best practices. For example, it might be best to create several edits and repurpose content for YouTube pre-roll, or to even ‘front load’ the content (attention grabbing event at the start) to help gain the desired engagement. Creatives are great at creating, but it’s unfair to expect them to do the job of a digital marketer and understand the multiple digital touch points. It’s worth planning this out during the initial research; these insights are critical to a well-structured creative brief.
Nurture the audience with an ongoing relationship
Do you think our industry as a whole could use remarketing better? Could we put more useful information into these formats other than pure sales messaging? Let’s take a wedding venue who has posted some great photos on Pinterest, the bride-to-be has seen these images and has come to the site to learn more about the facilities – then bounces. If we had retargeted her with content which catered to her other needs, such as a ‘wedding planning checklist’, we’re likely to gain her attention again. It is a very simple way for a brand to begin to build trust and form an ongoing relationship. Again, it’s worth having a think about a content eco-system and creating a distribution plan so we can re-engage our audience with ‘face time’.
It is through utilising a process of research, structured creative and distribution planning of earned, owned and bought media that we’re likely to get what we need; higher levels of engagement, increased brand reach and acquisitions with no naff business seminar in sight.
Amy Broadfoot is the national content manager at Columbus Australia.