Your online marketing needs content and your content needs a strategy. Content can take the form of text on a page, images, and videos. Content may be created for your site or distribution to other sites or social media and be purposed for many different reasons.
Content is king, right?
It may be true, but that statement undermines the level of strategy needed to succeed with content marketing.
In our modern digital world everyone with a smartphone is a content producer. There has been more content produced in the last seven years than the previous four billion – no joke. With that in mind, how do you create a content marketing strategy that actually works?
To successfully execute a content strategy you must identify communities of interest. Then you need to provide value to that community by producing content that entertains, solves problems, answers questions, or makes the user stop to think.
Why do we take this approach to content marketing with our clients throughout Toronto and Canada? In our modern digital world, marketers are in the business of day trading attention. It has never been more difficult to capture the attention of a user and/or potential customer. Everyone is distracted. Everyone is over-stimulated. Everyone has a magical device in their pocket that answers every question imaginable, takes pictures and videos, solves your life challenges, and allows you to communicate with anyone in the world in real time. Yes, this digital revolution has changed everything.
Did you know that the average human has a shorter attention span than a goldfish? It’s true. This news comes from a little outfit called TIME magazine. According to the new report, “(the average attention span) of the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds. People now lose concentration after eight seconds.”
Pretty scary stuff. Want to know what else is crazy? This happened really fast. Since the year 2000, the average attention span of a human dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds.
Wow. Our attention span has dropped by a third since the year 2000. Once again, this news undermine the fact that your content better be damn interesting – and it better be search (SEO) friendly. Here are a couple of content marketing tactics we favour at Consultus Digital.
The purpose of evergreen content is to create content that will not lose relevance. It’s helpful information that will stand the test of time. The purpose of timeless content is to answer questions and/or provide value in some way.
The first step required to produced high quality evergreen content is to perform keyword research. This allows us to understand what people are searching for, and to identify the benchmark of success. Additionally, it’s always important to identify and review the content that receives the most social sharing in the niche of interest. This allows us to better understand the lifecycle of an online user.
In case you were wondering, the lifecycle of an online user looks something like this:
When a consumer becomes open to the possibility of making a purchase, they perform searches to understand the options. During the evaluation phase, they may also assess social channels, online reviews, and other third party resources that help inform the decision. Once the evaluation phase is complete and a decision is made, users circle back into the search and social sharing phase. With this in mind, it’s important to produce content that supports the customer through this journey.
Here are some examples below:
When should I hire a financial advisor?
How to file a personal injury claim
Am I a good candidate for a nose job?
Top 5 benefits of (insert name)
Best (cuisine style) restaurant in (city name)
This type of evergreen content will be useful in six weeks, six months, and six years from now, driving traffic to your website as a digital footprint of your brand.
Thematic content is best employed when coupled with a social deployment strategy. The purpose of Thematic Content is to create content that covers a specific topic on a consistent basis. That content is then deployed to specific groups of individuals to build a readership base.
If the content is good enough, that base will continue to return on a consistent basis. These individuals will also become brand ambassadors that will make your content “social proof.”
When creating a thematic content strategy, the book “Contagious” by Jonah Berger is a good point of reference. In his book, Berger studies content that has “gone viral” and he identifies the following commonalities:
Social Currency: Sharing the content has to make you look cool within your social circles, and present an image of “being in the know.” We share things that make us look good.
Triggers: The content needs to trigger an association. Classic example… “Need a break? Kit Kat.” Top of mind, tip of tongue.
Emotion: In terms of positive emotions, the content must make you laugh, think, or generally entertain. With regards to negative emotions, the content must stir empathy, or a desire to take action and right a wrong. When we care, we share.
Public: Built to show, built to grow.
Practical Value: News you can use.
Stories: Information needs to travel under the guise of idle chatter.
There are numerous other styles of content strategy deployed by Litebox Media, but the goal remains the same – capture attention. Make people stop. Create shareable content that will earn free media. But most fundamentally, create content worthy of that action.