The Simple Black Dress of Content Marketing

When I was 17, a wonderful mentor who had traveled the globe for the fashion industry gave me two important pieces of advice. First she said that I’ll never go wrong wearing the color black. Then she said, before I leave for any event, I should look in the mirror and remove one or two pieces of jewelry that were the most obvious in order to keep the look simple. Huh? But why?  I loved that necklace AND those fab earrings AND the coordinating bracelet and I wanted to wear them all together. Her answer was simple…

“Don’t wear anything that could take attention away from the important conversations you want to have. It’s distracting to you and to the person you’re talking to.”

Oh My…

Lady Gaga in Hello Kitty

This rule of thumb has followed me ever since and it has always been the best advice. My wardrobe is nearly entirely black and I’ve invested in several high-quality pieces that I can add to as I go. Also, before leaving the house each day or before any event I remove one or two pieces of jewelry that could take away from important conversations I want to have. After all, I don’t want to waste time discussing where I got my cute earrings, I would rather make the other person the focus so that I can learn a thing or two!

How does this apply to Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is the foundation of modern and important “conversations” that we, as marketers, want to have. By focusing on who we want to have conversations with, and engaging them in a myriad of places, we need to be constantly creating and re-purposing enticing and meaningful content that is pushed where we need it to be with good timing. But how do we do all of this? How do we cultivate these meaningful, well-timed conversations when our desired audiences are distracted by the blinding crystals emblazoned on our theoretical tiaras?

We can’t.

Because Content Marketing isn’t about us, it’s about them. They are in control. They have needs, and questions, and want answers now. The best we can do is be there to offer help where it’s needed (and we can all agree that meaningful help is wanted and is only given by listening to what people need help with and offering it in a timely fashion).

This is where the polyester hits the road. A thoughtful content marketing strategy, executed by a well-informed creative team (equipped with the right tools), can become that force that attracts meaningful conversations. The right strategy and technology allows us to focus and create quality content for an attentive audience who want to be part of a conversation with us.

But we must have a plan that is visible and executable by our team. We need to know who we’re trying to speak to, and why they would be attracted to us. We need to devise our own best practices by listening to the feedback we receive from those audiences, in the places we are speaking to them. And we need to be consistent in our presentation so as to not distract or confuse those we reach.

Keep it Simple

In my experience, the only way this gets done effectively is by keeping things simple and efficient. Complex strategies and processes are like an elaborate outfit that took way too long to assemble, and made you late for the party. And extensive, enterprise software suites with too many accessories often get in the way of the simple conversations that we want to have.

I think it’s safe to say that we can’t ever have enough meaningful conversations with those who impact our business. Don’t get caught up with complexities that may distract you from doing what is most important…creating meaningful content that starts conversations. That is the ‘simple black dress’ we all truly crave.

Breakfast at Tiffany's