The onset of content marketing allowed brands to reach their audiences in new, innovative, and impactful ways. In fact, 73% of digital marketers say that brands are becoming publishers. However, not all companies fully understand the best strategies for content marketing, and some haven’t even begun participating in this successful marketing tactic.
Luckily, there are major brands with CMOs who are setting positive examples for the industry, by grasping the concepts of content marketing, accurately implementing them, and promoting their tactics to other businesspeople.
The flipbook below highlights quotes from some of these executives. Several of these quotes are either motivational or insightful, but for now I’m going to focus on the ones that are actionable in terms of actually creating content.
How is it you can improve the writing and producing you’re already doing in order to form better connections with your audience?
Communicating and Evoking Emotion
It’s important for content to communicate useful ideas and information, but if it doesn’t resonate, it can be forgettable. To make concepts stick and content shareable, it’s important to consider the emotional impact of your content.
Sometimes when people talk about the science of marketing, they forget that there is this whole emotional side. That is the true essence of a brand — how it conveys emotional value and creates emotional connections with an individual. – David Newberry, CMO at Pitney Bowes Software [source]
Strong connections between brands and consumers aren’t possible without emotion. Keep this in mind even before beginning the ideation process, and keep track of it throughout the content production process. After each step, ask yourself: Is this invoking any emotions? Which emotions does it prompt from the audience? Why do we want these emotions associated with the brand?
The critical question to ask about your content is, ‘How does it make them feel?’ When it makes your customers feel smarter, more capable, more valued, or just better about themselves, your content will be valued. And so will your brand. – Daryl Travis, CEO at Brandtrust
This Harvard Business Review article from Fractl’s Kelsey Libert and Kristin Tynski explains in depth which emotions resonate most with audiences. It cites the Dove ”Real Beauty Sketches” campaign as a highly successful example of using emotion to connect with a huge audience. If you can find a topic or emotion that people can not only understand but truly relate to, you’ve struck gold.
Everything, as you probably know, starts with great creative. And the key here was that the creative was based on a very powerful and universal human truth that was completely linked to the purpose of the brand. – Fernando Machado, Global Brand Development VP Dove Skin at Unilever
So what should you do if you don’t have the budget for a campaign of that size? Figure out your brand’s mission and determine how that connects with the needs of your audience. Use the emotions associated with your common goals to generate content.
Providing the Value the Audience Wants
There’s no use in being informative if it’s not the information your readers want. Before you start composing content with the assumption your information will be consumed (and more importantly, remembered), take time to nail down what it is your audience wants to know about your brand, your industry, and your goals. If they find your content truly useful, they will remember you’re the one who told them about it, and you automatically become their source for content around a given topic.
The key in content marketing is in understanding what consumers really truly want/need and in providing it to them in the method, time, and place of their choice. You can’t only be good at one or the other — you have to nail both. – Julie Fleischer, Director of Media & Consumer Engagement at Kraft Foods Group [source]
You can have the most useful content on the planet, but if no one reads it, it’s all a waste. It’s important to do an analysis of your audience before generating content. Where is it your readers consume content? Blogs, content aggregators, social media, or all of the above? Then see what kind of content on those channels generates the most engagement and use that as a starting point, making sure the channel is also compatible to the subject of your content. Nailing this combination means your content is much more likely to end up in front of the right eyes.
Everyone is a journalist in a sense. So we need to obviously change the way that we create advertising from simply the top down. From simply, ‘This is what we believe; you should believe it too,’ to instead engaging in ways that people want — where they have problems that need to be solved, where they have information that needs to be understood. And it’s just storytelling. That’s really all it is. – Seth Farbman, CMO at Gap, Inc. [source]
It’s just storytelling. Once you know where you’re publishing and what it is you want to convey, remember that simple sentence. People naturally respond to stories, so decide how your content can form into a story. What’s the conflict (or question) that needs resolution? How will you resolve it? What’s the story’s natural arch, its beginning, middle, and end? Such simple considerations are often overlooked, and implementing them can make a significant difference in its overall reception.
Remember that your consumers are part of the equation when it comes to storytelling. Engage with them and put them in charge sometimes and let them take your brand into places you may not have thought of before. Act as a welcomed party guest. Be interesting, think creatively, think globally. Believe in what you are saying, and take a step back to listen and watch. – Geoff Cottrill, CMO at Converse [source]
Now that you have your content, your goal, your medium, and your story, it’s time to incorporate the most important part — the reader. As Cottrill said, allow the reader to actually take part in the content you’ve generated and see what new ideas and content this opens up. The Internet has allowed this sort of exchange to occur, and it can amount to wonderful developments if you have the courage to give some control to the consumers.
Recognizing Why a Shift Is Necessary
If you’re ready to create content that evokes emotion and satisfies the expectations of the audience, you have to choose the best way to actually make the content. Basic articles and Top 10 lists used to be enough, and while articles still work for certain projects, it’s important to consider all your options.
Digital is a great opportunity for beauty because the consumer is raising its hand and asking us to provide more education, more advice on how to actually use a lot of our products…The challenge it poses is that we need to change and adopt the way we actually create content. The consumer is asking for more and more content, and we need to deliver that content, and it’s a different way of creating content versus what we used to do when we were creating a 30-second TV spot. – Marc Speichert, CMO at L’Oreal USA [source]
If you remain stuck in the past in terms of strategic thinking, you won’t create progressive, effective content. Staying ahead of the curve means you’ll keep the audience’s attention. Explore popular content consumption channels (from social sites to news sites) and see what gets the most engagement: small infographics? interactive pieces? long-form articles?
We’re not quite ready yet to have a media room, but I do see us within the next six months having a media department that sits down in the morning just like a newsroom and says what’s the news…[how] are we breaking it, to which audience, through what channel. And, like I said, we’ll get there. Everything’s going that way. (May 2013) – John Wallis, CMO at Hyatt Hotels Corporation [source]
Wallis is right — everything is going that way. Calling upon newsroom tactics of constantly tracking what’s new and important keeps content fresh and relevant. While you don’t necessarily have to be breaking the news, you can call upon the other characteristics that make a story newsworthy. And because so many companies are on-board with this method of content creation, audiences will not only begin to favor it — they’ll also begin to expect it (if they haven’t already).
The other flipbook quotes are worth reading, as they all convey interesting, important perspectives in the marketing sector. See which ones inspire you and consider how you can incorporate the ideas into your own marketing strategies.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.