The idea for this post was inspired by another true blue Content Nerd, my friend Sean at Blue River. He wrote about content marketing and Cards Against Humanity. (By the way, his firm makes the best tradeshow giveaway ever, a deck called Marketers Avoid Calamity. I think you can get one if you ask him nicely!)
His premise is that in Cards Against Humanity, you use the content elements (the cards) to tell a story that works for you. If your brand is usually shy and reserved, the more outrageous cards will get you attention and the trick! If your company uses the right pieces of content, your story will really come through.
But as I read through, I thought about my own experiences in Content Marketing, and how there are pieces that just work. Now, let’s take a look in my closet…
Content and Blazers That Slay Every Time
I’ve got a blazer that goes with everything, from interview to dinner out to over a t-shirt going to the hockey game. I’ve got a sleeveless floral blouse (thank you, Tam) that has the right neckline, the right tones and the right length to match everything.
You know you have similar pieces!
I’ve been with one of my clients as a content strategist for a year, and we’ve got a few pieces of content that kill every time we use them.
One really useful piece of content hits a need in the marketplace and is a great story to tell — it’s the call-to-action for blog posts, email campaigns, Adwords. (In case you’re wondering, it’s a Total Cost of Ownership whitepaper that shows the old way of solving a problem versus our disruptive solution that benefits all of our potential audiences.)
The bottom line: it fits great, it’s versatile, and is really appreciated by the eyes around us.
How to Achieve Great Content: Basics and Accessories
How did we come up with this piece of content, and how could you?
1. Invest in a great basic piece that really highlights your best features.
The company I mentioned built a solution from the ground up to specifically address needs that the market leaders, with their install base of technology, couldn’t. Every company staying in business has a good product story.
In this case, our product marketing person spent a lot of time with our outbound sales team, listening in on introductory customer calls, hearing actual customer comments, and having “aha” moments. Lucky us, this particular product marketing manager is a great writer, so our content team only edited slightly with formatting and charts, then put it into our beloved ‘machine.’ (We love you, Hubspot.)
Does your product marketing team sit in on a lot of customer calls? They should! Does your content team have regular meetings with product marketing? You have to. Really. Period. Full Stop. (This missing link is what kills the mojo of many content programs. Find your product team BFF.)
2. Accessorize to stay in fashion.
This content piece, developed a year ago, has been widely used by the sales team and in our content campaigns nurturing leads already in our contact list. But how do you use it to generate new leads in an ongoing fashion? (The killer feature of inbound marketing.)
Or in the closet parlance, how do you to score interest and favorable attention from those you want to attract? In a word, you need to make sure you accessorize with the latest trends. You need to make sure your “look” is timely.
Putting Together Your Wardrobe of Keywords and Content
Here’s an example. Last year, based on changes in the industry (thank you, Microsoft), a certain term was highly searched. We found some long-tail keywords that helped people find our blog post about our solution and — bang! We gave people the information they needed to make a case for change. Our blog post gets hundreds of new viewers each month without us lifting a finger.
This year, new changes in the industry, new keywords, new blog posts will bring us people searching a slightly different way, but with same needs. You’ll need to do a monthly inventory of your keywords, sort of like cleaning out your closet — take the empty hangers out, throw things in piles for Goodwill or the dry cleaner, maybe add a few new pieces. After all, new keywords can bring you new leads!
Stay On Trend, But Beware of Fads
Is your content keeping up with the latest trends? After all, Fashion Week just happened in New York. The major tech tradeshows for our industry just happened. No coincidence, the company’s offering was dubbed a hot new thing! To keep our look fresh, we’ll add a few new pieces of content (such as webinars and how-to videos) that we can mix and match for different audiences and occasions.
In content/inbound marketing, sometimes things look hot, but they’re actually not. We’ve done our Periscoping (2 viewers?) and our social media ad campaigns (nope). Those things definitely work for some brands, but it’s not our style. Our marketing style needs to match our substance. When it does — it works.
Great content is like that basic black dress that fits so well. You figure how to spruce it up each season and keep eyeballs on you.