As we wrap up our content marketing theme this month, it’s helpful to put some of what we’ve learned into perspective. While we can conveniently group content marketing strategies into two categories -- one for B2C and another for B2B, at the end of the day, it’s all about creating compelling experiences.
Content Marketing Must Haves
To help us better understand the key elements of any good content marketing strategy, we turned to Redicka Subrammanian, CEO and Chief Strategist at Interakt. With more than fifteen years experience working with top brands, Redicka knows a thing or two about how to deploy smart content marketing. She even offered up five ways brands can deliver consistent messaging and customer experiences across all channels.
Align Brand Messaging Inside & Out
No doubt a lot of time and energy goes into planning and implementing a brand campaign. Developing the key messaging, identifying the right audience and platform through which to engage them is just part of it. But your brand campaign doesn’t just live in online -- it lives in store and on the phone and through a variety of other customer touch points. Don’t forgetl to align your brand messaging with internal audiences, like your sales staff or customer service reps. The more information they have, the more empowered they will be to carry the torch for your campaign.
At the Levi's Store in San Francisco, the directive was to have the "true authenticity of the brand and its hometown...shine through"
The Format Dictates the Type of Content
Chances are you have several digital channels through which you push out information and engage with your customers. But do you really understand which types of content are most relevant? If you’re saying the same things the same way on every single platform, whether it be Twitter or Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn, you’re not as engaging as you think you are. Redicka says brands make mistakes when they generalize their audiences. Instead, learn what topics and interests are most important to your fans on different platforms. Chances are they are not the same. Use the information to tweak messaging and experiment with different types of engagement.
Make Business Interactive Not Boring
Redicka cites IBM’s City One campaign a few years ago as an example of how B2B companies can engage business prospects through fresh experiences. The campaign encourages users to envision a smarter city. Through a city-building and urban planning simulation video game, modeled after SimCity, participants are asked to solve real-world business, environmental and logistical problems, learn how technology can revolutionize these industries and explore ways to accelerate process change, integrate with trading partners, and control costs with a flexible IT infrastructure. The idea is to see change in action, while allowing prospects the ability to understand how IBM can help drive such outcomes.
Define Your Goals & Measure Effectively
One of the biggest challenges for content marketers is knowing if your campaign is working. Redicka agrees that while there isn’t just one metric, there are a few questions that you should be asking, including:
- Is it engaging? (define engaging -- what behaviors is it soliciting from users?)
- How many views and shares is it generating (is it more than usual?)
- Is it generating quality leads?
- Is it facilitating closure for your sales teams? (are leads being turned into purchases?)
Of course, these questions should help drive the development of the content marketing strategy, so you can create specific goals, which can make it easier to track and measure a campaign’s performance.
Prepare for the Future
While the basic elements of a content marketing strategy are bound to stay the same, the platforms and channels across which they will deployed and implement are already changing. Mobile, social and digital media are constantly shifting how messages are created, as well as redefining the experiences delivered. In order to stay up-to-date, Redicka encourages brands to focus on ways you can make content more personalized. With so much content, users are overwhelmed and have trained themselves to know what types of content to pay attention to and which to ignore. By customizing content to meet users’ specific needs it can ensure that you catch their attention, while staying relevant.
Clinique gives customers different ways to engage to get the answers that relate to them best.
The More Things Change....
Content marketing will be different depending upon your audience and the customer experience you want to create, but there are elements of any campaign that should be remain consistent. By ensuring that messaging is shared across all customer touch points, while taking the time to create unique experiences brands can launch and manage successful campaigns.