The role of content in an effective marketing strategy
October 20, 2011
Today's marketing landscape is manifold. There is a seemingly endless array of styles, channels, studies, trends and markets. To make matters even more confusing, there is little unifying all these diverse subjects. However, one of the most important trends to emerge from the world of digital marketing in recent years is the notion of content.
Content refers to a variety of marketing strategies, but essentially it is the dissemination of material to one's customer, clients and prospects. A company website, for example, must include blog posts, links, whitepapers, news feeds, media releases and other materials - that is, if they are looking to engage their visitors.
Diana Pohly points to the "4 U's" mnemonic system for developing compelling content. Specifically, she is referring to emails, but the same rules apply to content headlines in general. They are: be urgent, unique, ultra-specific and useful.
"Is it Urgent?" Pohly asks. "'Free White Paper' scores very low against this U. It could be made far more urgent with the addition of 'today only' or 'only two days left.'"
"Is it Unique?" she adds. "The headline would pull a far bigger response if it were changed to something creative, like 'Bring Your Competitors to Their Knees: Free Whitepaper' or, 'Traveling Well Is the Best Revenge: Free Whitepaper.'"
Headlines should also be specific. Explain to readers exactly why you are contacting them or the nature of your post. If it's about the release of a whitepaper, to borrow Pohly's example, outline what the paper is about and, if possible, what its conclusions are.
Finally, make sure that your content is useful. A press release of blog post that plasters a site with bland, impersonal copy is not going to attract friends, followers and site visitors. They want to be engaged and they want content that is relevant to their lives. Does your post's headline make an offer? If so, is it something you would be interested in as an impartial consumer?
If you're pressed for time and resources, remember: Not all content must be original. Take social media, for example. People on Facebook and Twitter constantly share links, videos, images and other forms of content. There's no reason why businesses and marketers can't do the same.
"B2B marketers can find valuable information that others have created (not competitors, of course) and forward a brief description and a link to the content in a nurturing email," points out the blog B2B MarketingSmarts.