One of my favorite things about my job is sitting in on sales calls and getting a look behind the marketing curtain of some of today’s most popular brands. Why is it one of my favorite things?
Because it’s a regular reminder that even top brands don’t have it all figured out. I’m not naming names, but many of those brands are a mess behind the scenes. But hey… trying to keep up with the pace of marketing is next to impossible. And content, a major component of the marketing game, is a messy business.
All that said, as the digital marketing environment has evolved and matured, multiple approaches have taken shape. I think most companies will always deploy various forms of traditional marketing and advertising. Others have shifted to incorporate more of a publisher-like approach (a.k.a. content marketing), leveraging owned content properties to engage audiences with valuable content, and tickling Google’s algorithms. Many companies do both.
It is here, on those sales calls, where I have to tread lightly when I hear how many brands still approach their marketing execution. They’re still stuck in a traditional MINDSET. Sure, they may be using or have deployed various content-centric properties and channels. But they only use them sporadically to promote their latest product or service campaign. And there could be weeks between campaigns.
Literally everything they produce, every content asset, is tied to some sort of product launch, product promotion, upcoming event, etc. When I say I have to tread lightly, it’s because I have to stop myself from publicly poking holes in their current approach and mindset. And there are several holes. One of the big ones revolves around publishing consistency.
Nearly 24% of blogs that perform very well have new content daily. Daily posts aren’t necessarily required, but consistency is. So ask yourself… Does your content marketing strategy reflect a consistent, customer-focused approach? Or are you stuck in a pattern of periodic campaign execution that only focuses on your brand or products?
Let’s take a closer look at your marketing playbook. Is your game plan consistently moving you farther down the field with your target audience? Or are you just trying to throw long bombs (i.e. big campaigns) that only occasionally hit your target?
You might need to shift to a new strategy. And obviously, you’d want to make the shift without creating utter chaos for your team.
- There are critical differences between traditional and content marketing.
- Approaching content marketing with a campaign-centric mindset isn’t effective.
- If your team doesn’t have a documented content strategy, publishes sporadically, or only creates brand-focused content, you probably have a campaign-centric mindset.
- Changing your team’s mindset and approach is necessary if you want your content to produce the best results.
- Seven actions will help you shift from a campaign-centric approach to a content marketing mindset.
In This Article:
- You Don’t Have a Documented Strategy
- You Publish Content Only When Running a Campaign
- Your Content Is Too Self-Serving
- Consumers Want Answers and Information
- Content Channels Are Always On
- Consumers Desire Relationships With Brands
- Content Builds Trust
- Content Keeps Your Audience Coming Back
- Content Marketing Requires Consistency
- Create and Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
- Research Your Audience
- Prioritize Owned Channels
- Utilize a Content Calendar for Planning
- Establish a Style Guide
- Put Your Audience First
- Use Campaigns Strategically
Traditional marketing and content marketing employ very different approaches. However, if you — like so many others — approach content marketing with a traditional marketing mindset, you will miss out on the powerful results content can deliver.
For decades, traditional marketing tactics (print, ads, direct mail, billboards, etc.) have been used to hit audiences over the head with targeted promotions over predetermined periods. Whether promoting a new product or broadening a brand’s reach, a traditional marketing/ad campaign has always had a clear, short-term objective.
It’s about how you win a single game. Marketing and ad campaigns can achieve results quickly, no doubt, but it’s an approach built on bursts and lulls.
It’s also often siloed, with each campaign existing as an isolated event. It’s the game without team-building efforts or a vision of what the team can accomplish, when the between-game periods are as important as each game.
Content marketing aims to nurture relationships and engender loyalty. There is no hard beginning or end date. Goals are broader. Though you still want to extend your brand’s reach, you woo consumers over time by letting them see the heart and expertise of your brand, rather than dazzling them with fancy moves.
It’s a Ted Lasso approach, a slow build, where every team member plays an integral role in supporting the whole and in maintaining the integrity, value, and spirit of Lasso’s idea of the AMC Richmond brand.
Content marketing is a long game. It is a cohesive strategy that considers long-term goals and emphasizes customer needs while demonstrating your brand’s vision, values, expertise, and offerings.
Even if you have joined the ranks of businesses using content marketing, chances are your team’s approach and perspective still align with campaign-centric thinking. After all, it’s been how marketers have done their job since the beginning. Does your marketing approach exhibit any signs that you’re stuck in a campaign-centric world?
- What they want their content to do
- Which audience segments they want to reach
- What channels and which content formats they should use
- How often they should post on each channel and for each audience segment
Your team may follow your campaign strategy, fulfilling the short-term objectives, but they won’t know how the objectives fit into the bigger picture.
Executing campaigns is exhausting, but hey…when it’s done, you get a breather, right? <– That’s a joke, BTW. But seriously, what happens to your audience if you don’t run another campaign for a month?
If you only publish content during campaign drives, you lose your audience during the lulls, and your brand’s presence drops from the marketplace. You’re giving competitors with a strong content marketing strategy an advantage in the long game.
When you create content, do you focus on your brand or constantly talk about your products or services? Even if you have a documented strategy and publish between campaigns, taking a sales approach will drive prospects away as quickly as a used-car salesperson, except when the need is most urgent.
If you see your marketing efforts in any of the above signs, it’s time to change your mindset and content marketing strategy.
Consumers want answers and information, and they find and consume digital content to get it. Publishing content that provides solutions and adds value for viewers is crucial for attracting prospects and for organic rankings.
Consistency is the name of the content-marketing game. To make it to the playoffs and win your audience’s attention and loyalty, you need to make sure you’re there when they need you and that you have fresh content that keeps you in the running and in their minds.
In today’s “always-on” world, you can’t afford to get stuck in a campaign-centric cycle. Your marketing efforts need to align with current habits in an information-driven landscape, or you’ll lose your audience. For example, 55% of consumers use search engines to find information before purchasing a product, and 34% go to brand websites.
Source: PWC Consumer Insights Survey
Today’s customers want personalized content. They desire a relationship with their favorite brands and want to feel like these companies “get them,” especially Millennials and Gen Z.
Crafting content that speaks to your audience is a great way to encourage relationships. However, nurturing those relationships requires consistent and regular engagement. Imagine trying to form a bond with someone you only see sporadically and are never sure when you’ll see them again…
Source: Marketing Charts
Nurturing relationships helps you build trust with your audience. When you show that you care about your audience rather than only focusing on your bottom line, consumers will see your brand as authentic, relatable, and trustworthy.
Creating content that engages your audience and provides real value keeps them returning for more. Consumers will turn to you when they have questions related to your industry, will eagerly await your blog posts or newsletters, and will follow you on social media channels.
When it’s time to make that purchase, who do you think will benefit, your brand or one they aren’t familiar with?
Shifting your mindset from a campaign-centric approach is necessary for effective content marketing. All the benefits we’ve listed depend on your team publishing consistently and regularly.
These seven steps will help your team start down the path to effective and successful content marketing.
The first thing you need to do is become one of the 44% of enterprise businesses with a documented content marketing strategy. Creating, documenting, and implementing a strategy provides the playbook you need to direct your content efforts beyond the campaign.
Research your audience to understand their pain points and learn what they need and desire. Create audience personas, and incorporate them into your content strategy. You should also highlight how your brand provides the solutions they need to help you understand what you can do for them, instead of what your customers can do for you.
While we all hope to garner the spotlight on earned channels, prioritizing your owned media is the best way to reach your audience, maintain visibility, and provide consistent, valuable information. Growing your email list and blog subscriptions is critical for successful content marketing.
If consistency is the name of the game, you need to plan well. Using a dynamic content calendar such as the one Divvy provides ensures you maintain a predictable publishing cadence across channels and for each of your audience segments.
A style guide provides editorial guidelines and helps you establish the voice and tone, language preferences, and audience for each asset your creatives produce. It keeps everyone on the same page and focused on the mechanics of delivering helpful content.
When crafting content, make sure your audience is front and center, not your brand. Choose topics that answer their questions, address their pain points, and speak to their interests. You can (and often should) indicate or imply the solutions your brand offers.
Campaigns aren’t going away. You are still going to have big initiatives that will require multiple tactics and content assets across channels. That is still a valuable and effective marketing approach. But campaigns shouldn’t be the only thing you do. Campaigns should be used strategically to support your content marketing efforts, rather than making them the main event.
Hey, we know how hard change can be. When you’ve done something one way since the dawn of time, switching gears can create chaos and a sense of instability.
However, with the right tools and support, you can guide your team to a winning strategy that’ll take you from the bottom of the rankings to playoff champions. Divvy’s here for you, with a platform and services that’ll help steer your team in the right direction. The platform provides everything you need to organize, collaborate, plan, create, publish, and analyze a consumer-centric content marketing plan. Request a demo today to see how we simplify content marketing.
Why Is Content Marketing More Effective Than Traditional Marketing?
Consumers prefer content marketing over traditional marketing. They choose what they see or give permission to receive information from a brand, rather than companies pushing unsolicited ads out to consumers. Content marketing has a better return on investment and nurtures customer relationships beyond the sale to encourage brand loyalty.
What Is the Best Use of Content Marketing?
Content marketing is best for moving prospects through the buyer’s journey, driving more traffic to your website, generating high-quality leads, increasing brand awareness, and establishing thought leadership. When done well, consumer trust in, and loyalty to your brand increases. Content such as blog and social media posts, newsletters, and emails, and eBooks and white papers can provide consumers with helpful information that addresses their pain points.
What Makes Content Marketing Different?
Content marketing is different because it focuses on consumers, solving their problems, answering their questions, and focusing on their needs. It is inbound versus outbound marketing, seeking to attract customers by providing helpful information, rather than soliciting purchases using ads to promote products or services. You use content to demonstrate thought leadership and to show how your products or services solve your audience’s problems.
What Are the Three E’s of Content Marketing?
Engagement, education, and entertainment are the three E’s of content marketing. Your content needs to be engaging to keep the reader or viewer on the page. It needs to educate, providing helpful information that answers a question or solves a problem. Your content should also have entertainment value for your audience. The closer you can get to accomplishing all three — a challenging feat — the more your content will work for you (and your audience), driving results and helping you stand out in a crowded landscape.