Content Marketing Hackathon

Tuesday 9th April 2019 01:01pm
By Sheri Lawson

In honour of Networx second topic of 2019 focusing on Content Marketing Hacks: Evidence-based content strategies to increase your website traffic, the March blog has taken the jam-packed panel filled with marketing goodness and given it a fresh spin. Pick & Choose your own content adventure from a thousand short sprints that methodically test ideas* or at least encourage reflection on our established ways of thinking about Content Marketing and its place in our marketing mix.

Our Content Marketing Hacks panel was held at the stunning Loft West End across 3 unique spaces and facilitated by  Elizabeth Gibbons, Director of Client Services at Zeroseven. Elizabeth was joined by panel participants: Alicia Marr, Digital Content Manager at Serotonin Creative; Brittanie Dreghorn, Group Account Director at the Content Division & Brian Crisp, Head of Suddenly Queensland at News Corp Australia.

As the panel didn't waste time jumping right into the wonderful, wild, world of Content Marketing (which is fast becoming just “Marketing”) let us get started now…On your marks, get set... SPRINT!

Content Marketing...as an element of modern Marketing.

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  • Telling the story of why a brand belongs in their customer's life is key to any content marketing activity. It’s important to remember that if you're going to start telling a passion or heart-based brand story you can’t simply abandon it as you move through brand building activities and harness more impressive narratives which prove more profitable. 
  • People are no longer happy to just buy products. They want to know a brand, not simply buy from it.
  • Content Marketing has always been there, it's just now playing a bigger role in our campaigns, and our day to day lives as a result of information being readily available.
  • Content Marketing might not be as relevant or as necessary in every channel or touchpoint. Choose channels and executions strategically.
  • If social media isn't the right place to weave a brand story, explore other channels.
  • Have a reason to talk to your customers/target audiences that isn't "Buy my stuff".
  • All content strategies must start with insights. From there, match insights to message, and message to target audiences, and audience to channel. This will help you define your channel strategy and minimise the risk of trying to be everything to everyone, everywhere.
  • Content marketing now represents 32% of the modern marketing budget and marketers say they will only spend more next year [than they have this year]. 
  • Content marketing is changing. You must be better. You have to be different. You need to stand out compared to everything else.
  • No longer does simply throwing content into the market work and who knows IF it really did, or if you were the only voice so customers didn't have a choice and decided to simply settle.
  • Content is not just stories and it’s not just social media. It’s every element of the business model. It’s the way your team answer the phone, the information it shares on its website, the way your team present to customers daily, the during purchase considerations, the aftersales care and everything in between all those milestone touchpoints.

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Content Marketing...and its application to the entirety of the business.

  • The key to using a "whole of business" framework for content marketing is to understand what the biggest pain point or problem is within the business (B2B) or customer’s life (B2C). Once you discover what the biggest problem or pain point is, a savvy marketer can then look at how content can ease the pain, provide clarity, or create pathways towards a solution. 

  • Businesses need to appoint a Content Director or Editor in Chief who will set the strategic framework & Business agenda or schedule for an entire business focus on content creation. Every department within a modern business now produces content, but you need a single point of coordination or collation to steer the overarching brand story and ensure brand narrative consistency across all touchpoints & channels.

  • Content creators - such as Newspapers which are experiencing a credibility and trust resurgence in the light of social media wrongdoings - have an opportunity to offer businesses full-service marketing that makes an impact through the development of relevant content.

Content Marketing...And sensationalised claims.

  • Content shock doesn't exist, it's just bad content.
  • People wouldn't continue to subscribe to Netflix if they were "over" content or didn't want further exposure or saturation of information. 
  • No one knows what will work exactly. If someone claims to have this magic knowledge, they're lying.

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Content Marketing... And not seeing the anticipated results of executions or campaigns.

  • If you’re not seeing results from your content, it’s likely you haven’t found your niche or you're not different to people in your industry who have gained more authority. 
  • Remember: Your content's role is to be engaging and add value so if it's not doing that, it's going to be overlooked.
  • The only outcome or solution to content marketing that flops is this: MAKE BETTER CONTENT
  • Knowing what you and your business define as success will allow you to measure if content works.
  • If you're not measuring what matters, how do you know that it matters and resonates with your audiences?

Content Marketing...and the tools used to create it, enhance reach & connect to audiences.

  • Content should be created for every level of the marketing funnel in the format best suited to meet the customer’s needs. 
  • Understanding the questions your customers are asking throughout their path to purchase will help you meet customer needs. You should know these questions, concerns and pain points based on your audience segmentation & target market identification.
  • Content is only as good as you amplify it. If your whole business isn't adopting a Marketing frame of mind the Content Director will need to get them up to speed in order to maximise your reach potential.
  • Remember...If you're not sharing the most incredible piece of content ever created, was it ever really created?
  • If you're on Social Media, but not paying to play, you're not really playing.
  • Your Content Marketing strategy is only as good as how it’s amplified, and that is only as good as those responsible for the processes to get the messages out into relevant & targeted markets/audiences.

When it comes to tools that help manage, optimise, amplify and connect your Content Marketing in a unified, strategic approach here are some of the tools & ideas you could investigate:

  • Excel spreadsheets
  • Google spreadsheets
  • Slack
  • Redmine
  • Base camp
  • Monday
  • Trello
  • Google Suite of tools
  • Social listening tools
  • CoSchedule ^
  • Google Search Console – a great friend in Reverse optimisation
  • Readable – great for ensuring your writing is fit for your target markets comprehension
  • More on Readable: This great service assesses your copy and gives you a Grade/Age Level for reading and comprehension. If you have difficult concepts or a lot of complexities in your content Readable can help steer copy refinements until you reach the level of comprehension required to solve the business problem. As an example, Travel Insurance policy documents are notoriously tricky to understand. Many injury claimants advise they don’t comprehend what the policy does/doesn’t include, which means the insurer loses money not only managing the claims but reiterating inclusions. The solution was to create content suitable for a 16-year-old to comprehend as this allowed a freer flow of relevant, and important information.

Some basic tips to enhance your Content Marketing with SEO

SEO agencies may seem like they speak a completely different language, but there are a few things you can do easily:

  1. Ensure your titles are answering the questions that you want to rank for

  2. Ensure your URL has slightly different wording or phrasing which can answer the same question your content is addressing but in a different way

  3. Get your keywords in your copy, but don't pack them in like sardines - RESPECT EYEBALLS to KEEP EYEBALLS!

  4. Make your pages as friendly as possible so Google can read it! This means ensuring those image alt texts are in place and add your page metadata. Make your content search engine friendly too! 

  •  The above tips will help your content get noticed, but unless your content is good and your readers/viewers have a reason to stay on page AND scroll to the bottom of it, nothing you do to improve all the SEO elements will help you win the hearts and minds (which translates to sales eventually) of your customers.
  • You want to be relevant in addition to being liked. A thumbs up or love heart gets you vanity popularity whereas spending time on site, gets you Google relevancy.
  • When titles are right, when headings are right within the copy, and when people are spending time on your site for more than the average number of minutes, Google starts to see you as the most relevant result for other people searching the theme which is drawing in your audience.

Content Marketing...and paid content from celebs, influencers, personalities and sponsorships.

  • If your actual customers think your content is worthwhile they will spend time and money with you regardless of what you've spent to get it out - Fantastic content is still fantastic content even if its commissioned.
  • Content Marketing is ultimately like dating in that if you're not offering something of value, or not putting something out there that the other person wants to see or receive, then you’re not going to be relevant to them at that moment.
  • People who want the content aren't going to mind if it's paid, sponsored, promoted or commissioned, however, they do want transparency to make the choice themselves over how they consume it. No one wants to be swindled.
  • Ultimately many marketers have found that consumers don't mind if the content is crafted and sponsored – they care if the content adds value and the publisher or marketer is respecting the consumer’s time and freedom of choice.
  • Remember: If you can't genuinely add value to your audience, then don't try to do so falsely. The audience will disengage, and the brand may ultimately lose the target audiences respect which over time can do more harm than good.

Final thoughts from Content Marketing Hacks Panel...

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  • The time of organic content growth and sharing is [in general] over. You must be using social ads and paid marketing options to get amplification. Amplification is the key to growth.
  • Think beyond the standard content that is available in your market. People know what’s been available and are craving difference. 
  • It’s GO time for thinking in terms of "how can I add value to my audiences?". Maybe it’s via TV shows, webinars, customised events, eBooks, downloadable templates or podcasts. Start brainstorming and reviewing your audience personas and pathways to purchase before creating content.
  • Go where your audience lives or engages and provide something of value to cut through the constant noise they endure every day.
  • If you want sales, do a promotion. Content Marketing strategy is a long-haul commitment and it’s only by building and giving it time that you'll see results. Think about it in terms of starting a campfire: Before we had the quick flick switch of a lighter or matches, we needed to stoke a fire first, heat the kindling, let it breathe, and create the environment to allow it to catch fire and blaze brightly.
  • Story is key. It’s always been key for communicating and now It’s a non-negotiable for results. Work on delivering the right brand stories to your audiences, and you'll find the actual sales pitch becomes easier. Humans like stories. They don't like being sold to.

Don't forget to check out the Networx Facebook page for our Content Marketing Hacks Top Tips direct from the panels mouth to your ears & eyeballs. Don't worry, the panel respect you taking the time to join us so there's no Keyword bingo in play. 

 

Footnotes:

*What Is Content Hacking? By G. Moon https://coschedule.com/blog/growth-hacking-content-marketing/

^Alicia is dreaming of working with a team that uses CoSchedule - if you are or know this person, get in touch so she can get involved in the Content Powerhouse of her dreams.

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