Content Marketing that Rocks

Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute

Content marketing is the new marketing silver bullet. Everybody is talking about it.

How do we create great content that sizzles (not fizzles)? More importantly, how do we keep the pipeline full while sustaining customer relationships through content?

Thanks to an engaging podcast on Six Pixels of Separation featuring Joe Pulizzi (author of Epic Content Marketing), I managed to pick up a couple of useful tips on this new wave of marketing. Allow me to share these thoughts "mashed-up" with my own perspectives.

In content marketing, your competition doesn't merely arise from companies providing similar goods and services. Instead, they can come from anybody and everybody who generates user content. That includes the prospect's family members on Facebook, friends on Twitter, celebrities on Instagram, and so on.

Against this backdrop of digital noise, one needs to stand out by identifying content niches that are unfilled. Find an existing problem relevant to your product and provide helpful content that fills that need. For example, if you sell kitchen appliances, consider running a blog or YouTube channel offering tips on cooking like a chef without busting your back (and wallet).

Building an audience is critical to content marketers. To do so, one needs to write, script, and produce content in fun and engaging ways that captures their attention while generating word-of-mouth and virality. Create content that fits what your audience would be keen to consume, rather than force-feed them with your saccharin-sweet corporate spiel.

Consistency is key. Like Rome, good content is built over many months and even years of relentless effort. Maintain a certain cadence and regularity in how you publish content, be it daily, weekly, or monthly.

Do not communicate every little damn thing which your companies does. There is a clear difference between quality content and mindless drivel. While some "behind-the-scenes" stories can be endearing and helps build anticipation, sharing a photo of your shopfront every day is overkill. Curate the stuff which your customer sees, reads, and hears.

Look for opportunities to get your customers into the act. Content that is full of corporate puffery repels. Find ways to interview your customers on video, get a few quality soundbites, or even feature them (and their blog, Facebook page, YouTube Channel). The simple act of reciprocation builds tonnes of goodwill.

Resist the temptation to sell, Sell, SELL. Prospects are easily put off by a company that churns out endless promotions, offers and deals that are "exclusive", "limited period only", and "just for you". Rather, focus on being useful and cultivating relationships.

This brings us to a related point of focusing on your existing customers - not just new ones. Contrary to popular belief, content marketing isn't an acquisition engine. In fact, it actually works better as a loyalty and retention strategy for current customers. As such, it pays to continually delight and inspire your customers after the sale such that they may become your brand evangelists.

Where appropriate (especially for larger companies), consider building your own content media platform. This is where the game is going these days, with major players like Red Bull, Amazon and Coca-Cola getting into the act with multiple channels and content.

It is also useful to develop sound storytelling principles before sharing one's content. How does this all fit into the overarching grand narrative? Does your content excite and enchant? Are there characters that your audiences can connect with, as well as elements of conflict, drama, and resolution that they can resonate with?

This brings us to the final point of having a Chief Content Officer for your organisation. The job of this person is to integrate the different content threads of the company and ensure that there is coherence and consistency in how the overall narrative is told.

Any other thoughts on how we can jazz up our content marketing efforts?

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