20 Jun A new age take on an old-school strategy
Or: How to capitalize on content by telling a great story
Content marketing is a digital age idea, but in execution, it doesn’t always need to be. The best strategies and campaigns all integrate everything you’re doing to get people to pay attention to you in your market.
If you don’t know what content marketing is yet, there’s a long list of agencies and consultants out there ready to spam you with their definition.
But in short, what you’re doing with your content is showing people what you do and saying “hey! I’m really good at this!”
Ask 100 different marketers and you’ll get 100 different answers. Usually directly related to what that particular agency, consultant or grindhouse is trying to sell you. Sometimes it’s just a sales pitch. Other times, it’s a classic case of when you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. They’ll pitch you paid search solutions, keyword-based approaches to organic search marketing and social media strategies that are “sure” to work. Some of these guys are reputable. Some not so much.
Content marketing, simply stated:
The primary reason you should be creating original content for your website, blogs, social media channels and email programs is to declare yourself an industry expert and drive interest, traffic and business through all of your channels online and offline. Call it Authority Marketing.
Now, there are many ways you can approach this challenge, but they all come from the same basic truth.
Why do customers come to you? Sometimes you have the best product. Sometimes you have the best price. But every time, you have authority. You’re the best and that is why they come to you.
But just declaring yourself an expert isn’t enough. You need to show the world you’re an expert. And that is where another arm of content marketing comes in to deliver for your business.
Digital influence and the retail industry
Deloitte Digital recently published it’s study on the impact of digital technology on the retail industry. They spent a bunch of money and completed exhaustive research into the American and global markets to better understand a reality the business consulting firm came to understand is threatening even the largest retailers in the business.
Full disclosure: I had the privilege of working on this project with the extremely smart and savvy team at Deloitte.
In brief, digital technology and the ubiquitous access to information by consumers is fundamentally transforming the retail landscape. And retailers, even the largest retailers in the country, because they are slow to recognize the threat, are facing an existential challenge simply because they are not adapting quickly enough.
It’s a provocative point of view and a fascinating paper that addresses the industry from what the big retailers aren’t doing to why the little guys may be eating their lunch before long. It’s packed with data points and charts and even a pretty spectacular infographic. See it here >>
But more important, Deloitte is saying something none of their competition can. They are separating themselves from the field. And as a result, they are benefiting from:
- A provocative point of view they went out and proved themselves
- Unprecedented press coverage of their work
- A conversation starter with influential industry leaders
By giving away a very strong piece of work – information that they spent months of time and stacks of money on – they have proven themselves head and shoulders above without directly tooting their own horn. And the gravitas of the argument and it’s supporting data has only serve to strengthen their relationships with their existing client base.
The fact that they made an argument that no one else in the industry can sharpens the leading edge of all of the blades in their communications arsenal.
Why did it work?
You can’t throw a smartphone these days without hitting another content marketing “guru” telling you it’s all about “going viral” or “starting a social conversation” or some other horse hockey.
But if you want the truth about content marketing, just take a look a Deloitte. They took a decidedly old school approach utilizing new age communications techniques.
Step 1 – they wrote a paper and proved a point.
Step 2 – they told the world about it.
Step 3 – they are reaping the benefits of being recognized an expert in the field.
This is a spectacularly effective strategy for businesses to burnish their reputation and sell an audience on a larger idea. It creates gravitas and builds trust – and in a competitive environment, you can never have too much of either.
You don’t need to be an organization with the resources of a Deloitte to take advantage of the strategy. You just need some time, some effort and access to a resource that knows how to create, share and publicize this type of content. Go ahead – ask us how you could get started >>
Like all effective content marketing strategies, this one is built on the concept of giving away intriguing, valuable information at no charge. But what makes this approach better, stronger and more effective is that what you are giving away is directly attached to what you provide as a service that no one else can.
You are identifying what it is that is different and better about your business.
If you’re not paying attention to this type of communication, you are simply wasting your time, money and energy on your content marketing efforts.