Content Marketing can be a funny old thing. It has been around since the 1800s yet has only been a ‘must-have’ marketing discipline for less than a decade. This means we are still learning the capabilities and opportunities content marketing has to offers as well as the optimal placement of the content marketing function in organisations. There are lots of great hints and tips for defining content marketing strategies, and cost-efficient ways to create content for your organisation and audience but there is nothing to assist fellow content marketer in how to be a better content marketer. So, here are my top 5 tips for every Content Marketer to know and use to be a better content marketer.
1. Content Marketing is…... – define what content marketing is for your organisation and do this quickly!
Each organisation has a different content strategy; however, the definition of content marketing should be the same across all organisations, right? WRONG! Many organisations have started with a basic understanding of content marketing yet have not spent the time and effort in defining what this means to their business. This often leads to siloed content marketing roles, lack of, or no integration into brand strategy, creative look and feel or worse, multiple content marketing roles in different business disciples working on competing plans.
Get back to basics, and quickly. Define what content marketing means to your organisation, reset roles and responsibilities and ensure everyone understands the vision. A great way to start this process is asking 10 or so people in your company what is content marketing for your organisation. Fingers crossed they don’t say ‘copy for our homepage banner’.
2. Advertising is not content marketing, yet clever content can be advertising
It is not only important to know what something is, but to know what something isn’t, and to quote one of Australia’s greatest content marketers, Zara Curtis
, ‘Content Marketing is not advertising’! And I couldn’t agree more.
What I do believe though is that clever content can be advertising, but it needs to be precisely that, clever. Well, thought-through content can sell your products and services, but it needs to be done in a way that will resonate, add value and build a connection with your audience. Don’t forget, content marketing is a discipline within marketing, and the fundamentals of marketing have not changed. What makes content marketing different is it builds a deeper connection between the consumer and the brand, and this my content friends, it not advertising!
3. Don’t set and forget your strategy
You spend weeks, sometimes even months defining your content marketing strategy to have it be that unopened file on your desktop until someone asks ‘what is our content marketing strategy?’.
Everything you do should be built from your content marketing strategy. If this isn’t happening, not only will you go off course, you will lose the buy-in and support from your peers and leaders. Print it out, including it in your brand guidelines and ensure that your team is speaking the same language and honestly believe in your content marketing strategy.
There will be a time that you will need to review and reset your content marketing strategy. You will know when the time comes if you are building everything you do from your existing strategy. To be successful at content marketing, you need a relevant plan. Resetting your content strategy doesn’t mean you are failing; it means you are evolving.
4. A designer is not a content producer
Most companies who are new to content marketing will often use their designer to help with the production of their content. This is very common and a smart decision you haven’t yet seen the traction of your content marketing efforts. Where this becomes a wrong decision is when you start to scale your content requirements expecting your designer to produce high-quality content. Having a designer create your content means your content will be design lead vs content marketing lead. This means instead of producing content for what your consumers want to hear and what your brand has to say, you will end up producing heavily branded assets that may not resonate with your consumers.
Remember content not only needs to be relevant to what your company does, but it also needs to be resonated with your audience and add value to them. This is not the role of a designer and is unfair to expect this.
5. Remove subjective from your content marketing strategy and deliverables
If you are a content marketer that has been in a marketing role previously, you probably already have the ‘thick skin’ required when peers provider you with their feedback. If not, being in a content marketing role, you will learn this quickly.
Due to the volume of which content is produced in most organisation, content tends the be the area in which feedback is provided. Feedback is a gift, just make sure you take it on wisely. Go back to your content strategy, reinstate why your content has taken the form in which it has, or better yet involve key peers in the creative process of content creation. Remember not to take it personally and find that balance where you listen and then decided what to take on board. You are the subject matter expert, after all.
So there you have it, my top 5 tips for every Content Marketer to know and use to be a better content marketer. I hope this comes in handy.
About the Author
With over 17 years of experience in marketing, across a range of industries such as FMCG, Telecommunications, Retail and QSR, Rebecca translates business objectives into robust multichannel marketing strategies. Rebecca has the unique ability to strike the right balance between art and science, always exploring new ways to engage with today’s consumer. She believes content marketing is the future of marketing communications - 'engagement through storytelling builds a stronger relationship between brands and consumers compared to any advertisement has in the last ten years.'