Content Marketing In Chaos
The good news is everyone believes in content marketing. Bad news is everyone believes in content marketing. Bad news because when marketers pile on quality goes down, noise goes up and getting your message heard is harder.
If you are a late convert to content marketing you may be able to skip past justification well described in Joe Pulizzi’s book Epic Content Marketing’s foreword by VP Marketing SAP Michael Brenner:
The era of one-way, single-threaded, brand-directed mass communications is officially over. And yet most of the content and the messages coming out of businesses today are firmly stuck in the good old days. …
Businesses are responding to a world with too much content by creating more content. And as each piece lands on their websites and in social streams, they send the same message to their audience: we only care about ourselves.
We care about telling you “who we are” and “what we do”. We talk about the big name logos of our customers. We invite you to spend an hour with us so we can tell you how smart we are. …
The problem: no one is listening, reading, or acting on this content!
Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi, emphasis and exclamation point mine.
Marketers double down on whatever is working killing the golden egg laying goose. If you are creating content marketing these days, you need EPIC content marketing to win.
Easy Epic Content Marketing #1:
Your c-level executives need to become recruits in your Epic Content Marketing Army. Buy copies of Pulizzi’s Epic Content Marketing for your CEO, CTO, CMO and CFO. Share examples Pulizzi includes in Epic Content Marketing from Coca Cola, Red Bull and smaller companies such as Openview Venture Partners.
“Soldiers when in desperate straits lose the sense of fear. If there is no place of refuge, they will stand firm. If they are in hostile country, they will show a stubborn front. If there is no help, they will fight hard.”
Your content marketing is in hostile territory. Content Marketing Institute’s 2014 Benchmark Study shows. 73% of B2B marketers plan to create MORE content than last year!
Easy Epic Content Marketing #2:
Creating a “Mobile First” mindset isn’t easy. We lucky few Internet marketers think about content within websites and defined by categories. Understanding how Mobile First changes traditional thinking can cause a headache.
Mobile Content Is Different:
- Visual but not HEAVY in “look” or pixel size.
- Call To Actions and navigation clear with fewer options.
- Daisy chain content in snippets, bullets and short sentences.
- Must LOAD FAST even in a technologically weaker environment.
- Must tell a coherent story.
- Stories must be exciting and generate social shares.
Mobile First is HARD and DIFFERENT but needed, important and impacts everything from design to information architecture.
Easy Epic Content Marketing #3:
Customers & “Commons”
Epic content marketing is about addressing your customers pain. “Get out of the building” with your content marketing to quote The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.
CrowdFunde is our new startup.
CrowdFunde smashes content marketing and crowdfunding together. Our first objective was to find 7 to 10 “beta partners”. Here is what we’ve learned from our first 7 “beta partners” already:
- Google ” New SEO” trends are overwhelming & painful.
- Content marketing is confusing.
- Social media marketing is confusing.
- Smal Businesses don’t know what content to create now.
- Not sure where ROI exists.
- Cafe approach, a little of this and a little of that, is a common approach.
- Enterprise crowdfunding is not on their radar.
Building CrowdFunde’s “buying personas” has begun.
Pulizzi covers “buying personas” in Epic Content Marketing. My favorite explanation for personas is another book Managing Content Marketing by Pulizzi and Rose.
Create A Commons with A Testing Culture
The chart (right) of social “flares” by Curatti author shows power of creating a multi-author “commons”.
Three Curatti authors contributed 3,635 social shares or 57% of the sites 6,379 total at the time of the study. Every contribution is important. Someday writers d,e and f may have more shares than a, b and c.
It is not unusual for a commons to change over time. Almost every web metric creates an 80/20 Pareto Distribution (20% of content gets 80% or more of the engagement).
A “Commons” blends and tests content.
A commons blends content from authors, types of content, topics and perspectives. Consider curating User Generated Content (UGC) into your “commons” too. Sharing customer content promotes social shares.
Once content marketing pieces are in place create your testing schedule.
Easy Epic Content Marketing #4:
Create Once Publish Everywhere (COPE) is an important concept. Social media is how EPIC content marketing gets shared. Social Media Marketing can originate great content too.
Scoop.it may be the closest COPE tool especially now with new publish to G+ brand pages feature. Here are COPE tools you need to create Epic Content Marketing:
- Blog (I prefer WordPress because it’s responsive).
- Twitter (the “radio” of the web, important for timely announcements).
- GPlus (hey its GOOGLE and highly disruptive).
- Facebook (sorry but have to have this one).
- A testing tool (Optimizely would be my first choice).
Bonus Social Media (if you can, add these)
- YouTube & videos playing in your “stack”.
- A Content Magazine tool like Scoop.it or Flipboard.
Read Websites vs. Blogs: Which One Is Better and Why to understand why I didn’t say “website”.
Easy Epic Content Marketing #5:
Write a draft of your Content Marketing Mission Statement. Share your draft across your company and with key customers and stakeholders outside your company. Work your mission statement up, down and outside of your company. This process of drafts, input and more drafts will take time, but its worth it.
Your content marketing mission statement becomes a content marketing guide.
Your Mission Statement helps answer questions. When your content strategy hits the inevitable “should we” do x or y you will know the answer. With a mapped mission statement you know content marketing’s boundaries.
Print your content mission statement LARGE and hang copies around your company. You will be amazed how often your mission statement helps answer “should we” questions.
YOU must create EPIC content marketing to win in a noisy world. Epic content marketing needs:
- Enroll your C-level executives and BELIEVE.
- Think mobile first.
- Start with customers & create a commons in a testing culture.
- Create Once Publish Everywhere.
- Write and share your Content Marketing Mission Statement.
- Highly recommend reading Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi too.
Fellow Editor of Chaos Karen Dietz explains how to create brand stories and create trust with mission statements. Highly recommend her posts!
PS. Interesting comment by Mark Traphagen on Google+:
I would add audience building. These days it’s getting harder to have content discovered organically, even on social. You must be building your own loyal audience who will subscribe to your content and glady reshare and recommend it.
Mark Traphagen good point. The more noise = ruination of organic discovery especially given Google’s “like me” algorithm that makes it hard to find anything truly disruptive organically. (see filter bubbles as defined by Eli Pariser’s TED talk ).
Another great comment and share from Scoop.it CEO Guillaume Decugis:
Content Marketing has grown up fast and Marty) Smith gives some great advice in this post. One of these is what he calls COPE for Create Once Publish Everywhere which I think is a great #leancontent rule:
1. Because everytime you can remix your own content, you should: this is not being boring, this is acknowledging that the world is vast and that people are busy so they might not be reading your tweet just because you shared something.
2. Content curation or creation only works if it’s coupled with strong distribution.
3. SEO and social shares are tightly correlated.