Yeah, yeah, yeah… We get it. You’ve heard it. Content is king and all that. But there’s a lot of really bad content out there. There’s a lot of crap that has no obvious purpose. There’s content that is so packed with technical jargon that it’s almost impossible to read without a PHD. And then there’s a lot where the purpose is obvious – the company is really awesome and you should totally buy their crap.
I think Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners, a killer content marketing agency based in the UK, said it best…
To succeed, your content needs to be stellar (at minimum). But what are the essential ingredients that transform your content and campaigns into a noteworthy content experience? Successful content marketing campaigns share several critical traits.
Master those traits – and you’ve just put yourself on the fast track to success. Let’s take a closer look.
Teams That Believe in Themselves and the Mission
Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi, pulling inspiration from Napoleon Hill’s landmark book, Think and Grow Rich, labels this trait “faith.” But it’s a focused faith – one that provides internal evidence of future success despite the naysayers’ constant braying.
When the team has that kind of single-mindedness, any content campaign they create will be clear, coherent, and inspire prospects to act. In other words, it’s the purest form of employee activation.
We would extend that activation beyond the marketing silo to other teams in your enterprise. For instance, wouldn’t your content be more trustworthy if your chief of engineering weighed in on how your new equipment can save energy, time, and money?
The rewards are myriad should you empower your other teams to create content. First, you’ll activate those teams’ own faith in your corporate mission.
Even more importantly, you’ll increase audience reach, profitability, and more.
Image Source: Smarp
Teams that set fear aside and put every mind to work to achieve their goals can experience unbridled success.
If only they believe it’s achievable.
Stay in your lane. No matter how your imagination tempts you to write blog posts about the latest trends in fashion, politics, or whatever, stay true to your company’s purpose.
We’re not advising you to ignore current events. We’re just saying that if you post about them, be laser-focused on how they affect your customers’ needs and pain points.
One such series of campaigns, as Danka Jankovic points out, has lasted over a century. No matter which way the trendy winds blow, tractor company John Deere has focused its news magazine on the needs of its customers, farmers, and other rural dwellers who need what they sell.
Campaigns that capture how world events and technological developments affect your niche inform your target audience. Those campaigns that teach their audiences how to leverage those happenings can endure over time.
This “specialized knowledge,” as Hill puts it, will position you as a thought leader in your field. That is, if your campaigns consistently focus on using that knowledge to solve your customers’ problems.
Anyone can say they’re ambitious. However, to create a successful content marketing campaign, that ambition must bear some real-world fruit.
Namely, the kind of customer research, content planning, content analytics, and constant tweaking that can help your campaign achieve its goals, as Neil Patel points out.
If you’re just going to work every day to tick off your content to-dos, your content output is likely going to reflect that lack of ambition.
And it’s a lot more than a one-off campaign that happens to go viral. It’s digging deep into the numbers that made it so, making improvements where you need them, and making your next campaign perform even better.
Content That Sees Things Through Your Customers’ Eyes
As Patel puts it, successful campaigns aren’t “just listening to identify the pain points” of their audiences. They step into their audience’s shoes and walk around a bit.
Empathy. It’s the secret sauce to a content campaign’s success.
It’s doing the kind of intense research that evokes the same kind of anxiety in your team that your customers feel at three o’clock in the morning. When you feel what they feel, you can better discover what will soothe their souls.
And then you can create a content campaign that does just that.
Imagination and Innovation
One trait that content marketing leaders consistently cite as an essential for successful campaigns is creativity. A blend of imagination (original ideas) and innovation (turning those ideas into real-life solutions), creativity is a must for content marketing.
Looking at old challenges from an original perspective and then solving them is the essence of content done right. So is finding new challenges as technology and ideas change.
That’s only half the battle. Cloaking the solutions to those challenges in a way that catches the attention of those who need help, too, is a part of a successful campaign.
I mean, if your content reads like a keyword-stuffed blog post out of the last decade, your target audience will click away as soon as they see the first “If you’re looking for the best electrician in Ellwood City.” It won’t matter that you’ve come up with a brand-new way for your target customers to solve their problems.
There are just too many great brand stories out there for your audience to tolerate badly written copy.
If your SEO company’s idea of SEO is to avoid the word “you” because she thinks Google will think it’s a keyword because it appears so often, fire them (a true story, believe it or not).
Great content that uses keywords strategically, not way-outdated ideas, is what Google – and other search companies – use as their gold standard.
Stories that Sell
Which is why stories sell.
- We’re not talking about how your CEO came up from poverty to head your company.
- We’re not talking about how you earned your industry’s top award.
- We’re not talking about how many food baskets you donate at Thanksgiving.
We’re talking about stories that take audiences along on a hero’s journey. Stories in which the customer, not you, is the hero.
Stories that address the audience in such a personal way that they’ll think you’ve created the content specifically for them. If you mention your product, make it the sword they used to take down the dragon – not the hero.
Remember MacGyver from the 80s? Think of your audience member as MacGyver, your product as the materials he cobbles together to save his life, and your brand as the survival instructor that helped him learn how to use those materials to solve whatever problem he faced.
That’s the kind of hero’s journey they’ll remember.
It’s no wonder that the world’s largest brands use that formula time after time. Whether it’s:
- A thoughtful stranger sharing a Coke with a thirsty woman
- A couple of parents who care enough to buy their teen a Subaru to save his life in a crash
- Or a blog post that tells how the West End Widget Company used your accounting software to bring their business back from the brink of bankruptcy.
Tell the story.
But make it easier for yourself to tell it. With a comprehensive content marketing platform, you can plan, schedule, collaborate, create, and automate your content on all the channels you want it to appear.
DivvyHQ allows you to do just that. Manage not only your owned content but also your social media and other channels, all in a single place. Start executing successful content marketing campaigns today with a FREE, 14-day DivvyHQ test drive!