Is “spray and pray marketing” dead?
Some people say that the days of spray and pray marketing are over, and although I would like to believe that’s true, it most definitely is not. Too often management teams, marketing professionals and social media mavens entrench themselves in outdated marketing practices that are inefficient and harmful to their brand. The spray and pray marketing model is one of those practices.
The sheer fact that a large quantity of people are online does not mean that the way for a brand to reach them is to haphazardly broadcast their content on every digital outlet. Sure, reach and impressions are crucial to brand building, but they are not the ultimate indicator of a successful content marketing campaign.
Timing is everything
Consider this: the average consumer may be in one of five (or more) stages in their buyer journey, and you have to build a case for your brand at every step along the way. To be effective, marketers need a diverse portfolio of marketing content to guide the buyer from awareness to decision and purchase and then transition the customers into advocates.
Managing your brand message for an audience of varying stages in the buyer journey can be like herding cattle. Well pardner, that’s why it’s essential to not only have a clear strategy of what you want any content you create to accomplish, but, more importantly, you need a timely campaign execution based on a strong understanding of your audience.
Match customer with content and then content with calendar
Start by separating your content based on where it would have the greatest impact on your audience at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Content that creates brand awareness can look a lot different than content that drives conversions. Generating exposure for your brand is important, but when your audience is a group of customers already using the product, your message may need to shift from product introduction to inspiring evangelism.
Today is the day
Although there is no perfect formula, we’ve found that capturing the attention of consumers in varying stages in the buyer’s journey is significantly impacted by the day of week you target them. The level of content interaction is based on the reader’s willingness to engage.
When deciding what message complements each day of the week, we typically follow the content bell curve. We start light on Monday, easing our readers into the week, followed by deeper content in the middle, ending with lighter content leading to the weekend. Lighter pieces of content that are typically introduced in brand awareness campaigns may be more appealing to customers at the beginning of their buyer journey. Whereas, heavier pieces of content like slideshare presentations or long blog posts may appeal more to the customers toward the decision stage who have a longer attention span toward the topic.
By following the content bell curve, brands can deliberately target readers at the right time with the right content, no matter where they are on their buyer’s journey.
A week in the life of extraordinarily placed content
- Monday: Let the work week begin, but make it easy for me to read (my body still thinks it’s the weekend). Try sharing list-based content on Twitter whose 36% of users access the site even on dreaded Mondays.
- Tuesday: Willing and ready to read a bit heavier content pieces (just like your audience in the consideration stage of their buyer journey). Infographics and research-based guest posts on LinkedIn, the social network with the greatest interactions on Tuesday-Thursday, are the way to go.
- Wednesday: I’m prepped and eager for the heavier content, so it’s time for the in-depth content. Rich media and longer blog posts are recommended to publish and share on Wednesdays when the reader has the longest attention span.
- Thursday: The week is coming to an end, and I’m feeling the strain of the long week. Drive engagement with thought-provoking how-to videos on Facebook whose 1.49 billion monthly site users’ clicks and shares peak during Thursday and Friday afternoons.
- Friday: Bring on the weekend! Fun quizzes that are short and sweet are perfect for an audience ready for a break. Hosting a hackathon is also a great way to inspire brand advocates with new concepts that are sure to leave your audience thinking over the weekend.
Download the Weekly Content Calendar below to see what to post and when to post it, and start planning your week.
Not every audience is the same. That’s why it’s so important to test your content campaigns. Don’t be afraid to try a new form of content too. Quizzes, how-to videos and podcasts are just a few forms of content that are actually easier to create than you might think. It’s okay to strategize, execute, test and then re-strategize to ensure your campaign is as strong as can be.
Timing is everything when it comes to sharing content that readers will engage with. The spray and pray marketing model may increase brand reach with impressions, but wouldn’t you rather share content when your readers are willing to interact with it? To me, that is much more valuable.
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About the Author
Alex Navarro is a California-native who currently lives in Dallas, Texas with his fantastic wife. In the past, he’s been responsible for creating, developing and executing national brand awareness campaigns and has enjoyed developing personalized marketing and promotional plans. Alex studied advertising and marketing at Pepperdine University and has enjoyed working in the field ever since. He also loves meeting new people – connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.