Marketing To The Goldfish Generation
I wonder if John Deere knew he was content marketing when he first published The Furrow way back in 1895 to help farmers farm better. To him, he was probably just creating something his customers could use to do their jobs better.
Marketing isn’t hard work. The hard work precedes it. It’s when you put your heads together to create a product that solves a real problem for your customers, makes their lives a little easier.
Marketing that product then is simply a LOT of smart work.
I can almost picture the naysayers out there shaking their heads at the preposterous suggestion that marketing isn’t serious hard labor. To those of you, here’s what I say in defiant defence.
“It shouldn’t be.”
Not if you know what your audience wants. The question that remains then is,
“How do we just know what the audience wants?”
In this age of excess, how can brands and marketers ensure that they are noticed by their audience? With research proving that human attention spans are now lesser than that of goldfish (proud moment for humanity – NOT), how do we break through the clutter?
Find The Why
A good starting point for any piece of content is figuring out why you’re creating it. Having a clear objective before you start writing your first draft goes miles in creating content that gets noticed.
Something you need to keep in mind is constant content evaluation to keep it in line with your audience’s needs and intents. In fact, it should drive your writing process. Some questions that can get you thinking on the right track are,
- Is this theme relevant to my industry or genre?
- Will my audience find it useful and entertaining?
- How do I want them to react?
Finding an answer to all three above is a sure way to land on a goldmine of ideas. One of the best ways to hunt for topic ideas that resonate with your audience is by using tools like EpicBeat to help you find trending content and top influencers across industries and genres.
Quoting Getapp’s content marketing researcher, Suzie Blaszkiewicz, “The current state of content marketing best practices advises against shallow and valueless content for the sole purpose of having content, opting instead for creating a content strategy which works towards business goals and provides value to end-users.”
Here’s a cool infographic that tracks the history of content marketing and how it has evolved over the last decade.
Be inspired by the best
We all have our favorite go-to people for inspiration. Neil Patel is a personal favorite for blogging. I enjoy reading his well-researched posts and admire how he simplifies the most complex topics without ‘dumbing’ them down.
While your writing style can be inspired by a few authors and publishers, for topical content, there is a lot more that needs to be tracked.
- Which themes and topics are of interest to my audience?
- What are some of the top content formats and types that work?
- Which influencers can I network with to get my content adequately noticed?
A great way to get those answers is creating an EpicTrack Watchlist. A watchlist lets you track all content and mentions for a brand. You can even track a set of authors in your genre, a list of blogs that create great content in your industry, or a combination of it all.
I recently created a Watchlist to track some brands that have great content marketing advice to offer.
I added their social media handles, blog pages, and RSS feeds to make my analysis more comprehensive. Once set up, it has helped me get a good idea of the topics, content types and formats, domains, and authors for content marketing. Browsing through the feed helps me find inspiration for my own content calendar, fine-tune my channel specific strategy, curate better content on my own blog, and shareworthy content with my network.
Use Data To Enhance Your Story
Data has changed Marketing. There’s a world of information both outside and inside a brand just waiting to be translated to insights and eventual stories.
Alexandra Samuel puts it well in this HBR post on data-driven storytelling, saying, “Data-driven stories attract the kind of social media attention that publishers dream about: fresh data and infographics spread across Twitter, Facebook and other social channels precisely because they are able to tell a story in a concise, compelling and visually appealing way.”
Content Marketing Institute confirmed that when they reported 89% of B2B marketers regularly use LinkedIn as part of their content strategy.
Intrigued, we dug into our own data to understand the kind of content that works on the professional networking site. The data-story catered to our predominantly B2B reader base. We analysed the top 5000 content pieces on LinkedIn Pulse to understand what brands can incorporate in their content strategy to guarantee success on LinkedIn. Our analysis helped us identify:
- Dominant themes that work on LinkedIn Pulse
- Content types and formats that perform well
- Engagement received on other networks
Collaborate With Influencers
Here’s an interesting insight. Did you know that most content share conversion for the widely acclaimed Harry Potter series is driven by just 43 influencers despite having hundreds of millions of fans all over? #InfluencersRock
According to Bob Pearson, President of the W20 Group, these influencers potentially increase e-mail click-through rates 20X. Quoting him, “We’re finding that if you take e-mail content and send it out to an audience of millions of people, you get a half-percent click-through rate if you’re lucky. But if you go to those top 50 influencers, that click through rate is closer to 9.5 to 10 percent.”
Influencers matter because their approval adds a layer of credibility to the products and services they endorse – especially true in travel and fashion where advertisers plan around influencers. Per to a recent study, 56% of beauty and fashion companies use influencers for their marketing efforts and an additional 21% plan on including it as part of their marketing strategies in 2017.
Given those numbers, it is imperative to find the right brand-influencer fit in order to get bankable returns from said campaigns.
You can find influencers from the Big 3 (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) of social plus a few others (YouTube, Google+, SoundCloud, and SlideShare) on EpicBeat. Once you have determined the influencer personas that match your brand and your marketing objectives, identify the networks that you would like to focus on and devise your own influencer marketing strategy.
The Struggle Is Real
I thought I’d close this post with an impressive statistic on the extent of marketing clutter we experience on a daily basis, driving home my original point about audience attention. But I found something even better. This post elaborates a simple experiment Red Crow Marketing’s Ron Marshall tried at home to measure marketing clutter. He decided to test the claim that an average American is exposed to 4,000 – 10,000 advertisement messages a day by actively counting each brand exposure he encountered over the span of a day.
He counted 487 ad exposures before getting to breakfast.
Wondering how you can break through the clutter?