I had the privilege recently of attending the first Marketing United conference presented by Emma here in our awesome city of Nashville. While Emma as a company focuses on email marketing, the conference included all forms of digital marketing, including social media, public relations, search engine optimization and even customer service. There were a variety of industries, job titles and backgrounds represented among the speakers. But there was also a thread that ran through each presentation: Content is (still) king.
It shouldn’t be a surprise – and it’s not to us – but good content is what makes a difference across all marketing platforms. And I don’t mean more content, but quality content. Having engaging information that tells your brand’s story in your tone of voice is the key. And that tone should be consistent across everything from blogs to Instagram posts to landing pages to your website’s FAQs.
Here is how to get started:
- Define your core purpose. Why does your company exist? What is the motivation for getting out of bed every morning and coming in? Determine what it is, say it succinctly and then make sure it’s constantly, consistently and energetically conveyed to everyone in your company. It’s not an elevator speech, it’s your raison d’etre.
- Come up with three words that describe your company. What makes you unique? What are you like to work with? Are you creative, flippant, stately, smart, scrappy? Find the three descriptors that best characterize who you are and that resound across all your people, divisions and products.
- Use your core purpose and three descriptors to find your voice. It should marry your story, your culture and your company personality. Then all content should be written in that voice. As people hear your brand voice and are attracted to it, they will more quickly buy in to your company, making them life-long customers instead of one-time purchasers.
And if someone doesn’t like your brand voice, then your company may not be a good fit for them, and that can be determined without wasting anyone’s time. As Ann Handley from MarketingProfs said, “Your brand voice can attract the like-minded and repel the timid.”
When content marketing is done well, corporations sound human and customers engage.
- Let your voice build over time. Now that you have your voice, use it. And let your passion shine through! Document what works and what is not as effective. The goal is to connect with your audience, and your voice and content should be constantly monitored to make sure they’re being managed correctly and consistently.
- Give helpful information in an interesting way. The graphics and language don’t mean much if the customer doesn’t relate. Jay Baer said, “Stop trying to be amazing and just start being useful.” He also noted that in today’s massive competition for audience attention, marketing is converging with the customer experience. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. (Customers 2020 report)
That means customers will make decisions based on how they feel about your company. But how will they feel anything but apathy if you have not been engaging them in meaningful conversations that benefit them?
Content marketing is not about promotions and press releases. Rather, it’s about entertaining, informing or advocating – or a combination thereof. That’s true whether it’s a hand-written note or on Snapchat. When content marketing is done well, corporations sound human and customers engage.