In 2019, content is the lifeblood of the digital world – where most of us spend a good chunk of our lives. News articles and blogs flood our social media feeds and we watch one billion hours of YouTube video every day. Business strategies are increasingly driven by clicks, so it’s not surprising that marketers listed content marketing as their number one priority last year.
But content fatigue is becoming a genuine problem as so many brands and publishers clamour for even a second of our attention across a range of new mediums. Producing content without considering the return on investment will just contribute to the masses of forgotten blog posts buried in dark corners of the internet, or worse – ineffective content that’s actively turning audiences away. With consumers increasingly getting wise to fake news and marketing tactics, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd.
With all this content competing for our time, anything created for the sole purpose of pushing an agenda won’t cut it. Neither will inauthentic content that your audience sees through in seconds, like Pepsi’s infamous Kendall Jenner ad. It’s about finding a story that resonates with your audience on a personal, emotional or intellectual level.
Think about the last piece of content you shared, bookmarked or returned to over and over again. I’m going to bet it wasn’t a product promotion.
Of course, this is easy to argue and far harder to execute, especially if your business sells something that doesn’t have instant sex appeal, or your stakeholders are struggling to move beyond a dreary sales pitch.
While content usually resides in the marketing department, there’s a lot of value in bringing in people from outside this field to expand your definition of content and tell more interesting stories. What about a journalist or creative writer to produce your articles and blogs? A social media expert will tell you how it’ll play out on Facebook and LinkedIn, while someone who knows digital channels inside out will help with distribution. Or why not a fresh-faced, multi-skilled grad with a new outlook on the industry?
Here are a few different perspectives that will help you develop content that tells a better story.
A journalist has an instinct for a good story and they’re not afraid to delve a little deeper to ask the hard questions of a spokesperson or look for insights concealed by industry buzzwords. At Ovato, we’ve embraced a journalistic style of content because we want to approach every piece of work with a people-focused mindset and cut through the corporate BS. Someone who’s worked on the other side of the fence will help you get straight to the heart of what matters and knows what the media cares about.
The content you create doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It can spread like wildfire for all the wrong reasons if it rings hollow with the audience or it’s misinterpreted. By the same token, you might think your latest blog post is wonderful, but it falls flat online. A social media expert will understand different audience segments and the way these groups interact with brands online to help you tell stories with the right tone and get them in front of an interested audience.
As content exploded online, so did the amount of data we generated. Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (and no, that’s not a made-up number). There are heaps of ways you can use this data to inform the stories you tell. For a start, find someone who can analyse your content performance and figure out what stories are most engaging. That way you can tell more of those – and spend less time on the stuff that isn’t working. And if you’re capturing insights in your own customer databases or day-to-day business, look for someone who can make sense of them and tell you the most interesting figures to turn into a piece of content.
Experienced creatives, whether they’re designers, writers or strategists, will bring new ideas and help you stretch outside your comfort zone. If your content always revolves around the same topics or one particular industry, it’s helpful to get an outside perspective. People from a creative background can make connections you haven’t seen and question things that don’t make sense outside of the industry bubble.
The sales team usually have the most direct contact with customers so they’re well-versed on what’s on their mind. Involving sales doesn’t mean turning content into a pitch. But understanding pain points, hurdles, objectives and interests will generate useful stories for every point of the customer’s journey.
A successful content marketing strategy isn’t just about churning out blog posts and the occasional whitepaper. Embracing different perspectives will stop you from creating content for the sake of it. Instead, your business can start telling interesting stories that actually mean something to the audience.