A colleague and I were fortunate enough to attend Content Marketing World this month to take in all of the great keynotes, sessions and of course…content! Joe Pulizzi and his team did not disappoint, packing the schedule full of some of the top minds in content marketing. There was a lot of talk about metrics, creativity and social media, but two particular themes kept reappearing throughout the conference: Authenticity and Predictive Marketing.
Whether at a keynote, breakout session or visiting booths, the most common word we heard at this year’s conference was authenticity. Many brands worry so much about appearing professional that they forget to be themselves. If you speak too much with a marketing or advertising voice, it’s hard to be authentic. A brand can’t truly be authentic if they treat their content like a campaign.
“Be true to your company’s values and mission,” Rajiv Chandrasekaran, former Washington Post writer, said during his keynote address. Chandrasekaran recently co-authored For Love of Our Country, with Starbuck CEO Howard Schultz. He explained how the venture was not about product placement or advertising space for Starbucks, but about supporting our veterans, a value highly regarded by the Starbucks brand.
One of the other morning keynotes, David Beebe, VP, global creative and content marketing for Marriott International, discussed the importance of authenticity by equating content marketing to dating. “If all you do is brag about yourself, there won’t be a second date.” By educating your people about your values and empowering them to do what they believe is right when working with clients, you will get more authentic interactions. You take care of your people; they will take care of your customer; and your business will take care of itself.
The concluding keynote, Nick Offerman, author, actor and master woodworker, offered his advice being true to yourself – “Stick with who you are and what you’re good at if you want to be happy. The other stuff is probably crap anyway.”
A number of conference sessions covered analytics, trends and ROI; all of them coming back to the topic of predictive marketing. There’s one comment that stood out in particular, but you may need to make sure you’re sitting down for this. Are you ready? Content is no longer king; audience is king. Chad Pollitt, co-founder of Relevance, said this during his breakout session on content promotion.
Producing more content is not the rule anymore; it’s producing targeted, relevant content. You have to think through how to get your message in front of the right people at the right time and in the format that they want to receive it. We’re in an age of content overload so you need to provide people with the appropriate information for where they are in the buying process. Would you send someone who is just starting their research on your product a pricing sheet? Would you send a Beginners Guide whitepaper to someone who has been using your service for over 10 years? Use data to your advantage and cater the messaging to your unique visitors and/or clients.
We have more data than we’ve ever had, so there is no excuse to not have the appropriate information. A recent IBM study reported that 90% of all data was created in the last two years. This is due in large part to the readily available digital statistics for websites, social media, blogs, etc.
Putting It to Use
By using a voice that aligns with your brand and mission, it gives a more authentic feel to the conversation and makes it more likely people will want to do business with you. Authenticity helps build empathy between your brand and end-user.
The other way to increase audience exposure is to incorporate predictive marketing techniques into your mix. You don’t need to mass produce content; you need to produce the right content for the right person at the right moment in their buying journey. If you are the one to help walk a prospect through the process, you are exponentially increasing the probability that they will choose you over a competitor.
There’s always room to make your processes better, improve your writing techniques or learn new tools of our trade. Heck, why else would over 3,500 people around the world be attending this conference? Like Offerman said in his final remarks, “Every day of your life, think: how can I improve?” My takeaway – Don’t be content with your content.
To learn more about how you can improve your content marketing strategy, contact Matt Seitz or call 440-449-6800.