On October 1, NewsCred’s Head of Strategy Michael Brenner and I are bringing our 2015 SXSW presentation, The Secret Ingredient to Killer Content Marketing, to a wider audience via a webinar (register here). In preparation I’ve been thinking a lot about the intended audience for our content. As the popularity of content marketing has exploded, it’s become increasingly difficult to separate our companies — and our content— from the nearly 5B posts, 2B photos, 500M Tweets and 700M Snapchats being shared everyday.
Michael and I have talked a lot about how to “break through the noise,” as every marketing pundit likes to say. We’re going to share some of those concepts on the webinar to underscore the value of a more thoughtful, meaningful and purposeful approach to the content you create, as well as strategies for executing that approach at scale.
But lately — in addition to these strategic thoughts — I’ve also been asking myself a more existential question: who are we creating content for? While we have become increasingly sophisticated at tracking content journeys over time and calculating the ROI of our content marketing efforts, who are the people behind those data points? And what are their stories? More importantly, what do they really care about as individuals?
We all know, instinctively, that the best content marketing is about creating content that will attract customers to us. But if we don’t know who those customers are and what resonates with them, how can we be sure we’re creating the right content? Part of the reason for this line of self-questioning is because I’m seeing more of our customers starting to use our customer intelligence software to determine the best channels and topics for content marketing investment. We’re seeing our customers literally ask their customers, “what do you want to hear about from us?” and, “which channels are you consuming the most content across?” As any marketer knows, the way customers interact with content is unique to every brand.
The way our customers consume our content — and what they want to consume — also changes over time.Have you ever invested in a slick, thoughtfully written eBook only to find that it didn’t perform the way you had hoped? You pore over all your data and just can’t understand why. Data, while essential to the way we run our marketing organizations today, can only tell you so much on its own. Without context from a two-way dialogue with your customers, it can lead you to mistaken inferences because it can’t really illustrate the motivations behind a change in customer behavior.
When extracting intelligence directly from the source (aka their customers), companies ultimately can create more compelling content to further brand awareness, trust and lead generation. Just as important, a customer-driven approach allows you to understand the WHO behind your content creation efforts. One of the things that Vision Critical and NewsCred share is the framework that behind every Tweet, purchase and data point is a person — and every person has his or her own unique story.
When companies show an interest in building a real two-way dialogue with their customers, both sides benefit. Customers feel they are being heard, and companies can drastically improve the chances that their investments in content marketing will find a willing and receptive audience. It’s not as hard as you think! Join us on October 1 at 10 am PDT/1 pm EDT to learn more from Michael and I (register here).