By Benedict Brycha
TV advertisers are having a tough time.
Viewers are muting their commercials or fast-forwarding through them.
Worse, they’ve subscribed to things such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix to avoid commercials altogether.
Advertisers have been forced to do far more than push their products.
That’s why Geico has a lizard, Aflac has a duck, and Progressive has Flo…and why they have their own stories and Facebook pages.
Marketing a product or service is tough.
Content Marketers Can Take a Lesson Here
Millions and millions of pieces of content are produced every day.
And millions and millions of pieces of content are being ignored.
We can do all of the analytics we want; we can figure out our target audiences, and we can produce content that will educate them.
We can throw that content everywhere.
And still, it will not get the results we want.
Because people want an experience, not a dry piece of content.
One of the most ironic things about all of this is that some of the driest content on the web today is from content marketers telling other content marketers how to produce content for marketing.
They need to “practice what they preach.”
All of the technology in the Universe will never replace the human experience.
So, if your content is not getting results, dump the analytics for a moment and re-evaluate with these things in mind.
What Experiences Are Your Audiences Having with Your Brand?
- What do you stand for besides making money? Do your customers know what you stand for?
- Have you told your story in human terms? Provided photos and videos of your team at work and at off-work events?
- Does your customer know you and your team as people?
- Do you have any meaning to your customers/potential customers beyond the sales funnel and your first page SEO ranking?
- Can you explain for yourself how you and your brand are improving things for people with your product or your service?
- Do your customers seek out your content because they have a relationship with you? Do they find their experiences with you valuable, entertaining, and inspirational?
The answers to these questions may give you major insight relative to how your content marketing tactics may need to change.
How You Make the Changes You Need
- Clarify who you are beyond sales. You got into the business you’re in for a reason, and it was to improve on something—something that would improve the lives of your customers in some way. Define that and then find a unique, wonderful way to share that with your audience.
- Clarify what you stand for as a company. Are you honest, transparent, and providing the best customer service ever? These things make you authentic, and people only want to do business with companies that are authentic. Outstanding content will not help if audiences sense you are “faking it.”
- Be socially responsible. Support something meaningful. If you are not sure how to do this, check out Toms Shoes website, blog, and social media pages. Take a look at Headbands of Hope, and you will understand why their sales have gone through the roof.
- Keep your customers engaged in great conversations with you and your team. You can take turns in those conversations but they must happen every day. They need to know that you care about what they have to say. Check out the ModCloth Facebook page and see how long the conversation threads are and how each comment gets a response.
- Lighten up. Use humor that will engage your audience and cause them to interact with you. Tell jokes, use memes, create funny videos that show your product being used in crazy ways (customers are happy to provide these).
Case Study: Wear Your Label
What an odd name for a clothing line. But it has many meanings.
The company sells very casual wear—T-shirts mostly—but there are messages on every piece that are designed to be both somewhat humorous, and to alleviate the stigma of mental illness.
Humor and a cause rolled into one.
The company involves its customers in all of its off-line events, encourages them to submit their own stories, and contributes part of its profits to mental health research.
If Wear Your Label can “lighten up” about mental illness (and do it tastefully), you can certainly find ways to lighten up, too.
Focusing on self-promotion, on the analytics of it all, and on your sales funnel will not make you a unicorn in content marketing.
Defining who you are beyond your product or service, fostering a relationship that shows you are authentic, being social responsible, using humor…all of these things give your audience experiences, not just content.
Companies that provide these types of experiences will survive the long haul.
Going for the easy “win,” the quick sale, is a short-term strategy that does not wear well with time.
image credit: shutterstock