Content Kills. Yep. It does.
But here’s the problem. It can either kill in a good way, like sales through the roof, or in a not so good way, like dead in the water. Which way do you want to go? You need a content formula!
Creating killer content is no easy task. In fact, it’s a big, big undertaking and if you’re not up for the challenge and willing to do it well and by that I mean, extremely well, then your business results will not feel any of the positive impact that content creation is all about.
It’s prudent, then, to make this a top priority for your digital marketing or marketing campaign success and is also imperative for reaching your sales and growth objectives.
So, what should you know? Think of it like this…the content you produce is how your customers or prospects get to know you.
Since people prefer to work with businesses they know and trust, your content shoulders an enormous responsibility to get that done.
You really can say, content drives sales.
This is true because every part of your Marketing Game Plan consists of content. Content opens the dialogue, or makes your introduction and ultimately, content closes the sale, with big doses of various engagement in between.
All of it is content-driven and the stakes are high. Turning content to conversion will be the key.
Brands that are struggling with content creation are those not fully committing to the concept; content marketing is really an all-in proposition. Source: AdAge ~ Penry Price, VP-global sales at LinkedIn
The content of content
Content is about integration in your marketing system and it also does the heavy lifting when it comes to positioning your company/product/service, no matter what your USP/UVP*, or the overall objectives in your campaign. *Unique Selling Proposition/Unique Value Point
Your content formula becomes your brand’s consistent voice representing your business on many levels. Therefore, the content of your content should be well thought out and strategically planned.
Take a look at this graphic explaining a Basic Marketing Game Plan by Kathryn Aragon and notice the depth and integration of content from your central (website) hub, throughout all the channels in this master outline:
Strategizing your content to get results
Don’t be haphazard about creating or following through with your message. You don’t want content that kills in that not so good way, as in…nobody is interested.
Remember, content is a business driver.
But on the other hand, even if you are just ramping up your content marketing strategy, quality should always be your goal and never just production.
Again, it’s all about purpose…who you are writing to, and why. Keep in mind, the “why” should always be customer-oriented, delivering value and solving problems.
Learning anything? One of the most important goals for your content is to teach, to share expertise, to make your brand the go-to source for industry insights. ~Barry Feldman
In addition to content quality, (you know, the kind that brings a user value like, entertainment, information, education, tips, etc.) relevance is a major determining factor to guide your focus. Relevance, importantly, speaks to the “why” and even more to the “who” in your content work.
But don’t forget…your content must also reﬂect positively on your business to create awareness, build likability, credibility, and increase customer loyalty.
And at the same time, it endorses your brand…thus building your reputation. You may want to look at content creation, organization, and planning as a public relations function in your marketing campaign and business plan.
Here’s the reason.
It needs to be targeted around bringing solutions and value to users and not a sales pitch. It’s what you might call “Goodwill Marketing” and its usefulness is oftentimes, both long term and immeasurable.
Being useful to your customers now will become useful to business, later.
The simple secret is…it’s all about the customer and all for the customer…but (here’s the tricky part) makes the company look good all the while!
Making it work and finding a successful content formula
If you’ve done your due diligence, you should be just about all set and ready to go.
Well, almost. First, here’s a review of key elements, so far, for solidifying your content strategy:
I. You’ve thought about your content’s purpose…the who and why of your communications
II. You’ve strategized to decide what your company’s unique voice will be
III You’ve determined how you can differentiate your content among competitors (& in general)
IV. You’ve created a framework for your content creation and overall content strategy to nicely ﬁt into your company’s Mission (MVV**), the marketing campaign, and business objectives **Mission/Visions/Values
V. You’ve picked the topics and ideas for your content with focus on solving customers’ needs, problems, and desires, to make sure your content is not just high quality but relevant, as well
If you have all of these key elements covered, you are close to making your content work.
Next, you will need to make an “editorial calendar” or schedule for a consistent method to order, organize, and publish the content you create. Additionally, you can use this worksheet to track results and measure in various ways, your content’s performance.
As in any business process, you will want to evaluate, change and/or adjust, and continuously improve your content and content strategy as you go.
The Final Killer Key
Finally, there’s one last thing to consider in producing your killer content. This is a BIG ONE and I save it for last so that, on top of everything else you are working on, you’re left with a ﬁnal thought on content.
Killer content, that is. One word. E n g a g e m e n t.
I don’t lump this (like I’ve seen in other articles on content do) in with quality and relevance but keep it quite separate and bring it up last for special emphasis.
If you have carefully put together great content using all the above key elements, written down a thoughtfully crafted Content Strategy, and have a fab editorial calendar of quality content all ready to go, your last checkpoint should be the question of engagement.
Engagement is connection, connecting, making a connect, with your ideal customer in a meaningful way.
It’s about creating an experience for your audience that goes beyond reading words.
It involves or leads to:
- follow-up procedures and resources
- is enlightening in providing not only how-to guidance but
- inspires thinking and
- gives options to reach achievable results that beneﬁt readers.
It’s not always an easy task, but the interaction that’s created by content that is engaging is extremely, mutually positive.
Since it builds business both over time and in ways that are not always easily realized in an exact measurement, your ROI, in essence, is not always a matter of dollars and cents!
This much I know. Quality, engaging content will always be killer content, and only in a very good way. The way that ultimately helps businesses grow and is crucial in your content formula.
What’s your take?
Stay tuned for more on engagement: “How to Craft Killer Content with Engagement…Creating an Audience Experience that Goes Beyond Words” because this seems like a really interesting exploration to continue the Content Marketing quest.
In the meantime, check out this piece by Henneke Duistermaat, who offers transition tricks to reduce friction to keep readers of your content engaged. The very small details, like these described by Henneke, are all an important part of producing that killer effect by using more powerful engagement techniques in writing.
Engagement and building a relationship with your audience go hand in hand. Barry Feldman puts his unusual spin on just this issue in a piece called Who Cares What Chris Brogan is Drinking, to which Chris replies:
It doesn’t matter what I’m drinking. I give people the opportunity to reply and have at least that one response readily available. I ask people what they are drinking so they feel comfortable enough to reply. Chris Brogan, Owner Media Group.
Bamm. That’s engagement! That’s starting a relationship! Thanks, Chris.
Additional Resource (and the basis for this piece) Shout Out: Brian Clark, of copyblogger fame, for ideas from my notes from your Content Marketing Webinar series! Thanks Brian…learned a lot (I think…lol)!