The 4 things that will ensure your content marketing strategy works
By Ian Robson
The best journalists know what readers want to read before they write it, but even they shouldn't create their content in a vacuum. The same is true for your content marketing strategy.
I’m sure you don’t believe that when the greatest journalists that ever lived put pen to paper, they only ever wrote about what inspired them. The best journalists don’t just tell a compelling story, they infuse it with facts, relevance and timeliness. After all, that is their job.
So why then would a brand risk handing over its content marketing strategy to a journalist without first understanding how that person plans to represent their company?
Yes, you can hire an ‘expert in their field’, a ‘specialist in their sector’, an ‘authority in their domain’ – they have many perceived titles in our business. But if this person is to write on behalf of your company, to your target audience, so as to build an authentic and trustworthy relationship, wouldn’t you rather know exactly what makes them the expert authority in their sector?
Defining content quality
At That Media Thing we recognise great talent when we see it. But even the greatest talents that we work with do not claim to have an exhaustive knowledge of their chosen area of specialism. They are inherently curious, with a desire to fill gaps in their knowledge, borne out of a passion for providing a quality service to their audience.
You cannot buy this level of dedication and passion in a simple copywriter. The very best copywriters can do a good job of researching in great depth and understanding on the subject they’ve been paid to write about. But they cannot claim to inherently know the subject or understand what makes it tick.
That Media Thing defines content quality as a combination of four qualifying criteria:
Instilled with experience on the subject
Infused with passion in the subject
Point 1 can be trained to some extent. But it is inherently gained through experience. And it tends to come more easily to those with a true passion for their subject.
Point 2 comes with – in some cases – years of hard graft. Experience informs insight, provides context and shapes opinion.
Point 3 ensures that other 3 points are easier to excel in. But it also ensures that content is a joy to read, as well as thoroughly entertaining and engaging – potentially something the reader would want to recommend to others.
Point 4 is possibly the most misunderstood definition of quality in today’s digital publishing arena. It’s definitely not just experience. It’s not even just an inherent understanding of who your target audience is. Point 4 is all about the data.
The rewards of being a well-informed storyteller
Being a well-informed storyteller starts with recognising that content cannot exist and especially cannot be created in a vacuum. There needs to be both an understanding of what your target audience would like to read about, as well as how they have reacted after they have read your content – both of these elements can now be intrinsically measured.
Factoring data into the content creation process can be immensely rewarding. You’re essentially creating click bait. Not the cats in tights variety of click bait that attracts a vacuous audience of no value to anyone. But click bait that is designed to draw the attention of your most loyal followers, passionistas and advocates, who will genuinely benefit by what you have written.
Now imagine generating this value in content designed to serve the needs of a brand!
Combining social listening and other dynamic data sets around a specific subject area enables you to understand what people are talking about and what they are responding to – in what quantity, to what effect, when and where. It informs you as to what questions need answering. It starts to reveal the emotive triggers that actually affect people, for better or worse. And it can even start to uncover trending conversations ahead of the curve.
The best journalists do not blindly follow the data; otherwise there would be a whole lot more cats in tights videos.
Instead, the best journalists use the data and blend it with their passion and experience of the subject matter, so as to produce the most well-informed, well-written piece of content they can possibly create.
And then they ‘listen’ to how their audience receives it, gleaning an even greater understanding for how best to serve their needs. For having that intimate two-way relationship with your readers is the most rewarding thing a passionate storyteller can hope for.
If you think your audience engagement activities would benefit from being better informed and tackled by a passionate authority in your target market, drop us a line to discover what we can do for you: firstname.lastname@example.org