What challenges does 2019 hold for your company? Are they the same as those you predicted back in 2018?
Maybe. Maybe not.
The truth is that that stuff changes fast. We see evidence of that everywhere, right? And especially so in the world of corporate content and marketing strategy: the issues we face today are different, more dynamic, more complex than yesterday and as content marketers at the top of our game, we have to be primed and ready to tackle them.
If, like us, you’re revisiting your marketing strategy for the new year, perhaps you’re in need of a nice, neat and beautifully sweet summary of the hurdles you’re likely to face in the coming months.
And fear not: we’re solutions people here at Pickle HQ, so with the acknowledgment of each issue comes the acknowledgement of an even greater suggestions of ways around it.
Ready to get stuck in? So are we.
Key Issue: Attracting and retaining consumers’ attention
Solution: Pick the right formats, vary your brand ambassadors, create experiences
About this time last year, Cision asked us this totally pertinent question:
Are declining attention spans killing your content marketing strategy?
It’s not just Cision asking the questions either. In fact, a bunch of articles (like this one) released over the last few years claiming that humans’ attention spans are declining more rapidly than ever, and that this fact alone is the greatest influence on content marketing since the arrival of the digital age.
Whatever your beliefs or grasp on the research, a few things are for certain. It is, for example, generally agreed in global content marketing circles that:
People have neither time nor patience to read a pile of content
Even if people want to engage with your content, if it appears too ‘wordy’ or overly complex, they won’t touch it with a bargepole
Factors affecting people’s ability to engage with content (including site speed, loading times, bandwidth etc.) are hugely important in understanding how, when, why and if people will engage with the content your company produces
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: smart, savvy business owners have always understood the broader advantages of video because it’s engaging, interesting and can capture the core of a message in just a few seconds. According to Hubspot, 87% of marketers now use video in their corporate strategy which sits beautifully alongside Google’s reporting that 50% of customers now expect it.
[Side note: yep, this is also a bunch of words that you’re reading right now. This much is true. But think about it: how does it feel to you? Too much content? Take notice of your reactions, and incorporate them into your business plan].
Put two and two together, and you’ve got… well, four, but also, a great, little situation in which all signs lead to spending time drafting solutions for winning and maintaining your consumers’ interest.
How are you going to do it?
Pick the right formats for your content (how will you say more, using less?)
Vary your brand ambassadors (can you get someone else to tell your story? How will you leverage influencers and social media specialists to increase your exposure?)
Key issue: Differentiating your brand in a busy market
Solution: Strategy, strategy, strategy
If one thing’s for certain in a crazy busy market, it’s that making bold choices and knowing what you stand for is at the heart of what smart brand marketers do.
Like we said: the world is evolving so quickly (let alone the digital world which evolves at probably a millions times the pace of the everyday) that it becomes essential to work out the how and why of what you do, and cut through the noise and content clutter online by doing so.
Many businesses start out by picking an audience and motivation that are too broad, and too difficult to define. They aim to be many things to many people, and they shy away from opportunities to take (healthy) risks floored by concerns that such risk-taking could shock or offend a percentage of that perceived audience.
But let us ask you this: would you rather be mediocre to many, or revolutionary to a few?
Let us sum it up for you:
Attempt to answer these questions: Who are we as a company? What do we stand for? How could this messaging better flow into the content that we create and share, and how might we bring on board other consumers using this refined and accurate messaging?
Answer the following questions, and develop a brand values statement: why do we do what we do? Who do we want to engage in what we do? Why do they want to engage with us?
Use your brand values statement to inform your content strategy - sit down and really spend quality time nutting out what your audience wants/needs to see, and how you’re going to achieve that by developing and publishing certain content
Develop a content strategy that helps define (and therefore embodies) who you are as a company - we can help!
Key issue: Understanding (we mean REALLY understanding) your audience
Solutions: Consultation and setting aside time to think
You might look at all of the above and think something along the lines of the following:
Yeah, okay. But where do I start? *Orders fifth coffee for the day*
We get it.
Well, a good place to start is by sitting down to spend some lovely, quality time getting to know your consumers. All roads extend out from there.
If you know your values, and you know your goals, and - perhaps even more importantly - if you know your consumers, this will always help you understand what content you should produce and on what platforms.
Check out, for example, this wonderful Forbes article about top tips for marketing to millennials. Author, Rachel Mendler (Forbes Communications Council) cites need for understanding consumer behaviour, priorities, preferences and values, and incorporating these into a corporate content strategy that puts those consumers at the heart of experiences offered by the brand. Further, she identifies that when businesses spend time learning what consumers respond to, business itself is “transcended” and true business sustainability achieved. Potential unlocked.
And if you’re not sure what your consumers want, ask them.
No, really. It’s that simple.
Talk (to everyone) - who are your customers? Who in your personal life embodies this profile? Talk to them first and start to log your ideas on what content they feel they might want to engage with (or perhaps content that they’d rather not engage with) and why
Start an advisory board and settle on ways of incorporating the board’s feedback into your corporate content strategy
Consult, consult, consult - work out who your consumers are, and talk to them
Stuck? Confused? Raring to go?
Either way, we can help.