Content drives Marketing – we know that! But why do a few marketers succeed more than others. And what does marketing success mean really? As Seth Godin says and that pretty much defines it – Marketing needs to tell and retell the story to different people, at different times, in different ways! And, marketers who do this in the most engaging way, consistently and creatively are winners!
There’s one more thing here that is of immense value – domain knowledge. Whether it’s a product or service, if there’s thought leadership from Marketing around a topic, it resonates. It might be an old, overused topic, but if the marketer is bringing some fresh perspective to it, it clicks. So in my terms, the secret sauce of Content Marketing is … Engagement, Consistency and Thought Leadership. But how do you go about this?
There’s an art and a science to creating magic with content marketing. The science drives the rationale and is supported by data and heuristics. The art drives the creativity and insight on the topic to make it come to life.
In simple terms, engagement is to captivate the audience. It is to have them read that blog, click that link and open that email. And the only way to do this is by thinking of the problem from the other side and proposing a creative solution that will address it. That’s the first chasm. At this stage, the focus would be on making those titles and descriptions enticing enough.
But the next, most important step is to bring in the stickiness – to ensure that the audience stays with the content, reads, thinks and takes action. Creating that stickiness is not as simple as it seems, especially when several competitors are trying to harp on the same message in multiple ways.
This is where differentiation comes in. What is that little extra that your enterprise could do? A lot of engagement can also be driven through promotions and incentive programs. All the free trials and ROI calculators are a part of this overarching stickiness strategy.
Engagement is also driven by case in point and validation. So if the product has been validated by top brands, investors, partners and other players within the ecosystem, it establishes instant credibility on the other side. In this context, using a video or text testimonials or case studies from partners or current customers provides a huge leverage.
# 2 Consistency
Consistency means reaching out to your audience regularly with the same message using various avenues. Writing a monthly blog and publishing a case study once in a few months resorts you to oblivion. You need to be on the face, showing value and establishing brand recall very consistently. At this point, all marketing channels need to be aligned to ensure that this reach out is happening like a well-rehearsed symphony.
Regular email campaigns about new feature introductions or a vertical solution could be a way to do this. But the campaigns need to be unified and the ecosystem needs to be in unification. This includes social media posts, marketing assets such as case studies, video testimonials, one-pagers, blogs and a planned reach out strategy. This also means maintaining a fully populated calendar and tracking the pipeline of marketing activities closely.
The other important step is to maintain a consistency with reach outs and here’s where running the right analytics and data driven side of scientific marketing comes to the fore. These reach-outs cannot be done in a vacuum. They need to be analyzed and tweaked based on the market pulse. All the AB and multivariate testing, keyword analysis and competitive study becomes critical. Again, it is important not to get into the analysis-paralysis syndrome with this. Some quick and timely tweaking of strategy based on market response and bringing the campaign back on track will drive quick and effective results.
# 3 Thought Leadership
This is marketing strategy that trickles down from the CMOs desk. But the underlying force to market leadership is the value that a product/service delivers. Does it have enough meat and bones, or is it just marketing fluff? Does it create a dent in the market you serve? Is the market ready to pay a premium for it? Is there validation from industry and other social and PR communities? Is independent media covering the news about you in the market? Is an industry blogger willing to write about your newest feature introductions? Do you have a trusted community of partners who are evangelizing your product to their customers? Are you doing any joint events and launches with select strategic partners?
Once these elements are clearly defined in the marketing matrix, MRDs and PRDs the overall consistency and engagement with the product can be achieved very easily.
From having read this post, one thing is very clear – it is not one single factor that drives good marketing. It is understanding the function in it’s entirety and applying the key principles at every step.