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INTRODUCTION Content marketing is a critical evolution in how brands tell stories. It’s about creating content that serves the consumer’s interest, at such a high quality the audience actively chooses to consume it.
CONSUMER CHOICE IS CRITICAL BECAUSE • interruption based advertising does not work • consumers have the tools to control what content reaches them • consumers also have the tool to be storytellers and contribute to your story
THE CHALLENGE The challenge in putting consumer choice first is that brand must come second, which is very scary. CONTENT MARKETING HAS TWO OBJECTIVES: 1. to achieve as large a reach as possible 2. to be as brand relevant as possible
THE PROBLEM The problem is that reach and relevance are opposing forces. The more you make the content about the brand, the smaller the interested audience. Reach is easy to achieve, just post cat pictures. Relevance is also easy to achieve, just post press releases. Achieving BOTH reach and relevance is difficult, and this is the crux of content marketing.
THE SOLUTION The Sacrifice Principle: In order to achieve reach, we need to sacrifice brand relevance. What’s big in your world is not, necessarily, big in the world.
By plotting reach against relevance, we see how a press release can be highly relevant but only to a small audience, and cat pictures can achieve great reach, but mean nothing for your brand.
When we put relevance ahead of reach we serve commercial intent, and when we put reach ahead of relevance we serve consumer interest.
Not only should we sacrifice relevance to increase our content’s reach, but we can shift our curve to the right by deploying content marketing tactics.
CLOSING THE GAP: Once we’ve made the sacrifice and achieved the desired reach, we can begin to build brand relevance back into the communication (shifting the curve to the right) by using various content marketing models.
NATIVE ADVERTISING Native advertising is a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears.
EMBEDDED MARKETING Embedded marketing, or product placement, involves a brand inserting their product into content that shows the context and environment within which the product would naturally occur.
SPONSORSHIPS AND ENDORSEMENTS Sponsoring and event, or entering an endorsement agreement with a celebrity, enables the brand to attach themselves to the content of the event or the person.
BRAND AS PUBLISHER The brand creates its own publishing platform which houses the content, and acts as a central point to which all other content drives the audience.
EVENT PIGGY-BACKING Increasing your brand’s content by piggy-backing it onto current events which bring a pre-build relevance for the content.
THE JOURNEY TO RELEVANCE There are four logical steps to driving an audience from low to high brand relevance:
GO FOR REACH Your content strategy should be structured as a journey, start by winning as much reach as is reasonable by sacrificing brand relevance and creating content that is exactly what the target audience wants.
DEPLOY TACTICS Next, start injecting brand relevance through your content marketing tactics. You will see a drop off in reach, but that’s fine; not everyone is going to buy your products. First, cast the net as wide as possible, then, start pulling it in.
BRING THEM IN By having a content home, your content marketing efforts will be able to direct people Back to a centrally controlled resource where you’re able to complete the content journey and servce commercial intent.
CONVERT TO CUSTOMERS By now, you have narrowed down the initially large audience into an audience of potential customers. This audience is happy to receive brand relevant content, because they’re close to making a purchasing decision.
CONCLUSION A correctly developed and implemented content marketing strategy is critical to the success of your brand’s content. When the consumer has the power to shut you out, your best option is to earn your way in, and to do that we must put their interests first.