Whether we face it or not, or like it or not, content rules. More so now than a few years ago when it was crowned, content marketing still reigns.
Unique, useful, fresh content has become the cornerstone of many marketing philosophies. Although I’ve said it many times, it’s worth repeating: Gone are the days of the corporate-focused marketing pablum conjured up by salaried marketing folk sitting around conference rooms to meet objectives or sell widgets. “Yeah, yeah, we need good content. Got it. I can do that,” you say. It’s not so easy though. That’s where content marketing comes into play.
Where are we right now and what’s the future of content marketing?
1. The market is saturated
We’re looking at right-now, real-time, informational-overload-type stuff. People want it quick. They want to be engaged, educated and inspired before they’re on to the next click. It’s that simple. I can’t tell you how many businesses still come to us and requesting their taglines say “delivering quality widgets”, “the best products”, or some other lukewarm statement that won’t sell more than an eraser these days. People want businesses to talk to them, not to everyone, and certainly not the way everyone else talks. It’s hard for businesses to do this because it’s counter intuitive to their nature. They want to sell, to increase, expand, and to profit. Creating useful content for customers takes a totally reversed approach: It’s helpful. It has nothing to do with a product, and makes an experience more enjoyable and beneficial. Sure you might sell a widget, but did you solve a need or create a fan? Who will they buy that widget from next time? If you just sold a widget, they’ll likely buy from the next widget maker. If you helped someone, you got a customer.
2. Online is tough
All too commonly people think if they put up an eCommmerce site, a blog, or a YouTube channel with a product, post or video, they’ll go viral. I wish it were that simple. Since the competition is fierce online, you have to be able to stand out and provide something of more value than your customer can get elsewhere. Real value, not 50 cents off your widget of the day. Something that sticks.
Think large, flashing “open” signs in your window. What would it look like to trust that your customer will find a way inside without the flashing neon? For them to already know your hours or that they’ll get to you one way or another without having to “yell” neon at them. Put the right content out there and trust your customers to find you.
OK, you might be thinking ‘maybe I’m more receptive to the idea. Great. But what about my widget/business/service, does it work for everyone? It does. It just requires thinking bigger; more out of the box. Give people things that solve their needs. It’s that’s simple.
What’s the best example you can think of to create usefulness, or utility for your customers, or for the customers of any business? Find solutions that are useful, elegant and play well with the brand and you’re off to a great start.
3. It’s easy to suck
Fundamentally, it’s hard to change traditional business speak. Many businesses try only to end up sounding like they’re trying. Think broadly of how you can package ideas into easy to chew “bites”, that are available pieces at a time when people need them.
4. What about the cake?
Whether or not Marie Antoinette ever uttered the words “”Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” – or “let them eat brioche,” which was enriched with butter and eggs, as opposed to ordinary bread – I challenge you to consider giving your customer something tastier than they’ll get elsewhere. Something beyond the ordinary being served up. What does that look like? Is it more visual, rich or substantive, or does it just leave a sweeter taste on the lips of those who taste it? Now that’s good content. If you could see into the future of content marketing, say in 3-5 years, what would it look like? We’re all ears.
Have fun out there,
Christina | Creative Director. Savy