Content marketing isn’t a thing

What’s that now?

You heard me. I don’t believe that content marketing is a helpful term. It puts forward the idea that it could be a tactic that you choose to implement or one that you don’t – like social marketing, search marketing, email marketing etc.

Having a content strategy, however, is something that every business, regardless size or type, needs to have. It’s your one tool to help your customers know who you are and what you do. Your content keeps your business alive, growing and your customers engaged.

The reality is that if your brand is the skeleton of your business – who you are, what you are and how you operate – then your content is the blood of your business.

In order to nail a content strategy you need to:

  1. Ensure it meets your audience’s needs: make sure that every single piece of content is one that addresses your customers’ needs in a way that is right for them. Make sure it aligns to your objectives and who you are as a brand.
  2. Ensure you have the right channels to distribute it: it’s no good having all this great content if you aren’t putting it out there in a way that is accessible to your audience and via a mechanism that is preferable to them. It’s like telling someone you are holding a coffee for them – they reach out and you don’t have an arm or hand to even be holding that coffee. So where will they find it?
  3. Continually review and renew content as appropriate: make sure you have a mix of content that has a short lifespan and a long lifespan. You should be reviewing the performance of your content, adjusting it and renewing it if it’s become outdated. Make sure you analyse the data you have in order to make informed decisions about your go-forward plan.

If you get this right, your content will engage your audience, help people to learn about your business, encourage purchase and increase the likeliness of retention.

If you don’t get it right – the rest of your strategy is redundant. What use is a skeleton, organs, muscles and limbs if you don’t have blood flowing through it that contains right levels of oxygen, nutrients etc?

Read this if you’re in B2B marketing

If you know anything about me and the values of Pink Digital then you’ll know that I am passionate about breaking down the belief that B2B brands must market in a completely different, impersonal way to B2C brands. I’ve written a post previously (back in October 2017) about the importance of remembering that your customers are humans and, how the global digital disruption (oooh, buzzword), needs to be considered for all organisations when creating your marketing strategy.

Now I’m going to talk more around how people’s personal beliefs, likes, dislikes, preferences and beliefs are impacting decisions in the workplace. I.e. why you should stop thinking something won’t work for you because it’s a traditional B2C tactic and why you need to lean into content that appeals to people.

First some questions: when was the last time you can honestly say you made a decision that was completely against your personal beliefs but was for the good of your company? Have you ever stopped working for a company because of how they operate or interact with you?
Have you ever found a new company to work with because their messaging was so up your street?

The chances are you answered: not for a long time, if ever; yes; yes.

There are 2 reasons for this.

1) You have been hired by your company for your expertise, mindset and experience. This means that it is very unlikely that if something is fundamentally against your beliefs personally, that it will benefit the company. You have been hired for your opinion. You know that and so will likely exercise your right to that opinion when making decisions on behalf of the company. Otherwise, I’m sorry but you shouldn’t be in your job.

2) It is physically impossible to completely separate your personal preferences for consumption, interaction and values, regardless of what you are researching or buying for. It’s not in our nature as human beings.

This means that who your company is and how your company operate are two of the most important aspects of your marketing strategy. And, you need to have a crystal clear view of who your target audience is – deeper than their job title.

You have to understand what they like, what they dislike, what their hobbies are, whether they have children, love sports, hate sports, are into fashion. Where do they over index? What values are important to them? All of these different elements can help to inform your tone, messaging, visuals and placements. It’s also why it is so important to continue to invest in brand awareness, not just sell, sell, sell your products. No one cares if you have the most cost-effective solution if you aren’t an ethical company nor will they want to partner with a company who’s employees are not happy or passionate – for example.

B2C marketing is often seen as the holy grail of marketing and super fun to work on because their campaigns focus on people and lifestyle. But you can appeal to people as well. Make people excited about your brand. Relate to them through their interests in more than just a badging exercise – find an organic connection between an element of their persona & your brand.

Then leverage the shit out of it.

Show the people at the core of the organisations you are targeting that you are there for them, that you understand them and that you can help them. Create an organic, human connection. The sales will soon follow if your website, products & sales team can do their job.

How to adapt your marketing strategy in times of uncertainty

Wow. What a year the last couple of weeks have been. COVID-19 has taken over. There’s a lot of stress, worry and uncertainty around right now – both personally and professionally. While I’m not a health expert and can’t comment on the medical situation, what I am is a marketing expert with extensive experience in reactive and adaptive marketing. So, for all you business owners/marketing folks/freelancers out there I’m here to provide you with some guidance on how to pivot, adapt and keep on track during this turbulent time.

The first thing to do is to ask yourself three key questions:

  1. What do you want your customers to feel?
  2. What do you want your customers to think?
  3. What do you want your customers to do?

From this you can work out where you want to head with your content & distribution.

Let’s start with how you want your customers to feel – let’s face it, right now, this may have changed from your usual tone/strategy. Building an emotional connection with your customers/followers (I will use these terms interchangeably) is the best way to ensure retention and attract new customers. People love relatable content and content that makes them feel good. For me, it’s about giving people hope and some positivity in their day – I want my clients/followers to feel confident and sure that there is a future past what we are experiencing right now.

Now, secondly, what do you want your customers to think? Again, in the context of my own business, I want my followers and clients to think they have the power to get through this. I want them to think that they have the strategy to go forward, connect with their customers and I want them to be thinking about the opportunities they have.

And finally: what do you want your customers to do?  I want my clients and followers to adapt their marketing strategy, reach out for help where needed and have confidence in adjusting their content tonality. 

Once you know the answer to these questions you can adjust your content and distribution channels accordingly. For example – for me right now it’s not about acquiring new paying clients it’s about inspiring confidence and helping struggling business owners/marketers. Therefore, with my content, I aim to provide positivity and tips for adjusting in this weird period. I’ve opened my doors to free consultations to work with my clients on how they can continue to build connections or a following base whilst not being physically open for business. For gyms/personal trainers this means focusing on building an online rapport with people & understanding opportunities to virtualise their services.  For coffee shop or restaurant owners – it’s helping people to re-create their favourite beverage or meal in the comfort of their own home, providing comical relief and keeping the conversation going for when business re-opens. It varies per business but the underlying principles are the same – think about what you want your customers to feel, think and do.

Once you’ve established the above, you can focus in on your channel strategy. Figure out which channels or tactics leave your brand at risk and pull back from them. For example – ensure that you are not monetising against any negative content, don’t be at risk of sharing fake news or information that is not validated by professionals. Be careful not to comment on areas that you don’t have the expertise in – authenticity and integrity are key. If email plays a key part of your strategy then assess whether the tone or content needs to change here.

Do share how your company is reacting to the situation – keep your customers up to date. This isn’t about switching off your marketing, it’s about being sensitive to the situation, your customers and understanding your role in this.

If you want someone to brainstorm with, provide advice then Pink Digital are open! We’re offering free consultations and advice until the end of April 2020 – get in touch via the form below, or if you’d rather, drop us a message on social.

I have a business, now what?

So much effort goes into creating business plans, understanding the rules (there are lots, I’m learning), how to fund your company, do you need any investment and setting yourself up with a website/social channels. But then what? Panicked posts while you frantically try to look at insights of what you post using the built-in analytics tools of each channel, spend hours trying to work out what everything means before starting the cycle all over again.

It doesn’t need to be like this. This post explores 5 top-tips for getting started online – from your website to your social feed. Start with the fundamentals.

  1. Develop an online brand – and be consistent. Ever heard of the phrase matching luggage? Well it’s essential for any business, particularly start-ups. You need to make sure the brand you use on your website is the same across your social feeds. Of course there can be a little variation on content and tone but it should all be identifiable as your brand. This includes colour palette, font, imagery style and tone of voice. Work what best represents your company and apply it to everything you do.
  2. Know what you want your website to do – and do it well. Spend some time working out what your online value proposition is. That is, when a customer comes to your website, what is the one thing you want them to do above anything else? Read your blogs? Buy a product? Donate to your cause? Knowing this can then help you design your website. Keep it in mind throughout every page design, all the content and the call-to-actions.
  3. Be strategic with strategic with your choice of social channel – make sure you look through the lens of your audience & objectives, rather than what’s hot right now. Just because the whole world is suddenly talking about Tik Tok doesn’t mean it’s going to help you grow your business. Go where your customers are and develop goals for each channel you own.
  4. Plan, plan, plan – it comes without saying that preparation is absolutely key for any business. This is inclusive of your content strategy. Make sure you have editorial calendars, spend some time block scheduling your social posts and map out where you are headed. A method I tend to find works well is looking at the full 12 months ahead, note down key tent pole moments throughout the year, then look 2-3 months ahead and start to think about some rough content ideas, then one 1 month out get a little more fleshed out and try to keep 1-2 weeks ahead of your social content. Just make sure you do have room for flexibility if and when you need to react to something.
  5. Analyse, learn and test – make sure you’re assessing your websites performance regularly, learn what works and test new things out. The same can be said for any marketing tactic you employ across all channels – search, social and display/video advertising. It is SO important to always check back and see what works and doesn’t so you can continually optimise your strategy. I recommend, depending on budget/activity levels that you keep an eye on this each week (absolute minimum and some tactics require daily monitoring) but make more strategic decisions every 1-2 months after deeper analysis. By this point you should have enough data to really understand if there are any trends.

So, I hope that helped! Marketing can seem overwhelming once you dig down into the details and too often I see companies panicking and saying things like “I need a website” before rushing to create one that aids their business in no way whatsoever. Or, my favourite is that they’re “doing social” or “trying paid search” – great!! But you need to understand why you are doing it and how it will help you reach your objectives.

Still confused? Drop us an email to see how we can help you.