When the year is winding down, it’s a great time to look back at the strategies that were able to move the needle throughout 2019. It’s maybe even a better time to start planning for how to push that needle further in the coming months.
On a macro level, for the last few years we’ve seen content marketing move to the forefront of marketing strategies across the board. At this point, however, it’s safe to say that content marketing isn’t just a priority - it’s the priority. It takes an authentic brand to push a potential buyer across the conversion finish line; it takes relevant content to communicate your brand’s authenticity.
Going into 2019 – regardless of how seriously you’ve taken content marketing in the past – it’s clear that next year’s winners will be those who double down on taking their content efforts to the next level.
Building a more sophisticated strategy
Successful brands understand that content is the core of not just effective marketing, but an effective brand. Still, only 11% of marketers feel like their content strategy is sophisticated, regardless of how mature their content operation is.
With pretty much everyone on the content train, cutting through the noise no longer is about quality content. In order to stand out, you have to be precise about serving up the right piece of content at the right time. After all, content is so powerful because it allows for a dialogue between the brand and the consumer.
In order to start adding precision to your half of the conversation, first right down all of the touch points a potential (and converted!) buyer will have with your brand. There should be multiple pieces of content to choose at each point, depending on that particular buyer’s use-case. Next, start paying closer attention to measuring your content’s performance to refine both the content’s...content, and its delivery methods.
Essentially, the approach is no longer what content makes sense for your chosen distribution channels. It’s now what content is important to this persona right now, and what’s the best way to get it to them.
Scale your content through your entire organization
Expanding content to include sales enablement makes a lot of sense. After all, nothing pushes the needle like aligned sales and marketing teams. But it doesn’t stop there. Remember all of those potential places for a customer to interact with your brand? It doesn’t stop after the sale is made.
Content designed for customer success should be the first priority when expanding your content to incorporate other departments. As John Hall of Calendar puts it:
“it’s no longer enough to make the sale, move on to the next one, and handle complaints as they arise. Now, companies need customers to get maximum value from their purchases to encourage word-of-mouth marketing and develop stronger relationships.”
It’s also time to consider the fact that it’s not just potential customers who are interacting with your brand, either. Arming your bizdev and recruiting teams with appropriate content will help further reinforce potential partners or employees what your brand is all about, leaving more space for the personal part of in person conversations.
Gone are the days of saying what you have to say to get that conversion, and relying on your product or service to add enough value to sustain that customer. While authenticity has always been a mainstay of quality marketing, it’s now the most important thing you can communicate about your brand.
PwC’s 2018 Global Consumer Insights Survey underscores how important authenticity and trust have become to making purchasing decisions, and 91% of consumers are willing to reward a brand for authenticity and transparency.
Make sure every piece of content published is true to what your brand believes in - both in terms of brand values and what your business has to offer. Being authentic allows you to differentiate your brand naturally, without sounding like you’re engaging in one-upsmanship.
Draw from the source
When you consider going about scaling content throughout your organization and being authentic simultaneously, this one seems like a natural conclusion: start including people outside of marketing or sales in your content creation process.
When we’ve talked about making content for other departments, the first step is always to sit down and have a conversation about what their priorities are and understanding their process. For each type of content that isn’t just for lead generation (client presentations, thought leadership pieces, speaking engagement decks, recruitment emails, service one-pagers; the list goes on) there’s a department of experts you should involve in your process.
Implementing this is as simple as adding an extra stakeholder into the mix. Find someone with the relevant expertise and pick their brain to see what makes the most sense. At the least, include them in the review and approval process.
Hyper personalization means finding the right tools
If buyers want to be in dialogue with the brands they give their business to, you won’t be able to satisfy them with generic content. Think of how many websites use services like Drift or Intercom to allow consumers to personally connect with their brand. The same thing applies to content.
If you want to have the right piece of content for every potential brand interaction, accurately plugging in content that works ‘well enough’ no longer makes the cut. But, when you’re talking content, with precision comes higher output volume. Dramatically higher output.
In order to increase your output effectively you’ll have to make adjustments to your workflow, which includes taking a look at the tools you’re using to manage your work. Inefficiencies that come from using a generic project management tool to manage creative work will only compound once you start taking personalized content seriously. That’s why using something built for marketing and creative content is the only way to keep up with the ever increasing demand for content without pulling all of your hair out in frustration.