The biggest missed opportunity in content marketing is playing it too safe.
Compelling content is only possible when it’s rooted in strategy and insight.
At the most recent Digital Summit Dallas event, we had the opportunity to watch, listen and ascertain the latest strategies and insights from Seth Godin and Ann Handley. We played witness to two of the most widely followed thought leaders in the digital marketing space with front row seats to watch them in action.
Godin had the opening nod and chose to spotlight the “digital revolution” that is content personalization, which can, and must, be used to bring valuable information to your audience. Carrying over the similar ‘revolutionary’ theme in her message, Ann Handley stressed in her keynote that “content marketing should be bigger, braver and bolder than ever before.” But how can we step outside of our marketing norms, strive to create better content and be a part of this digital revolution?
A pro-personalization insurgency
There have been countless examples of radical thinking (some of which are coming from marketing) that gain the attention of viewers and bring them in wanting more.
Disney has provided us a terrific example of a character experiencing incredible growth through the acceptance of revolutionary ideas when playing it safe wasn’t an option. Proud but timid father, Marlin was set in his ways with a longtime viewpoint reluctant to change. A true testament to what one father will do to find his son, Marlin had to transform his way of thinking to be successful.
What Disney eloquently illustrated in their film “Finding Nemo” is that sometimes it’s hard to notice you’re already riding the revolutionary tide until someone like Crush tells you. What we heard time and time again at Digital Summit Dallas is that this monumental shift toward content personalization is happening, and we can either be braver and bolder, or we will be left in the dust.
Here are four ways to revolutionize your content to make a bigger impact on your own audience and provide value to your customers.
1. Avoid megaphone tactics
Just because you’re capable of communicating with your prospect, should you engage with them in the way that you currently do? In his presentation, Godin recognized that yelling at people because you can is the wrong way to use your marketing megaphone.
It’s a much more powerful content message when talking to people who want to be talked to and in a way that they want to hear your message. Find smaller, more focused ways to reach your specific target audience and then amplify the personalized message.
2. The future is soft
According to TrackMaven, content marketing is on pace to increase by 35% this year, yet audience engagement will have decreased by 17%. What gives? Perhaps it’s due to content marketers not identifying what makes their audience tick. They should be analyzing not just the hard metrics, but the softer-sided metrics and identities as well. Who are your audiences? What are their needs? What unique value can you provide?
Jean Ellen Cowgill, President of Atlantic Media Strategies, describes these soft identities as a way to tap into the way people think of themselves to develop long-term connections. Instead of thinking of targeting broad demographic segments, enroll in the journey with your customers by approaching your content strategy in a new personalized way.
3. Personalization Drives Conversions
The world’s leading optimizers have well-oiled machines with cross-functional teams that run disciplined, insight-driven content. What Chris Goward of WiderFunnel has found is that your marketing team should attempt to find the happy medium between mass communication and over-segmentation when personalizing content.
WiderFunnel is a huge proponent of the concept that personalization is a hypothesis until it’s tested in your environment. Yes, personalization drives conversions, but how can you use data to determine the best course of action for your particular audience? Continue to customize and tweak your content until the insights can validate your message, and then test again.
4. You’re never done
On the grounds that your audience is constantly evolving, so should your content strategy. People crave authentic content because of their halting evasion from being sold to. That’s why the idea that people want to buy from people, not pushy salesmen, is so popular.
Your brand is one that you need to be personal. Email or any digital marketing channel you use should be personal too! Connect with your audience and personalize the message to them as much and as frequently as possible. Custom subject lines, calls-to-action and landing pages that support a personal connection from person to person is a good place to start, but keep in mind that your job as a marketer is never done.
Just keep swimming
In the eternal words of Dory the fish, “When life gets you down (or you are struggling to find new ways to personalize your marketing this year), you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming!”
How will your brand be a part of the digital revolution?
To create content that is bigger, braver and bolder, you have to not only acknowledge the marketing trends happening around you, but be willing to take a leap of faith, ride along the current and discover where it takes you.
About the Author
Alex Navarro comes to Distribion with a background in developing and executing national brand awareness campaigns. His passion is creating personalized marketing strategies and watching them come to life. 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.