Guest Post by Tyson Cobb, Business Depot
It’s no secret that there has been a shift in control when it comes to marketing a business today. The control has fallen away from the marketer, and shifted across to the smart phone wielding consumer.
Pre-web days, there were only a handful of ways consumers would access information. Today there are literally thousands. The internet is cluttered with content overload and it’s an uphill battle to gain the attention of our ideal clients while they are surfing. Some content experts call it “content shock”, the emerging marketing epoch defined when exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it. Facebook alone states that any one person could be exposed to nearly 1,500 messages on the platform per day. Holy Moly!
So how do the little guys stand a chance to reach a wider audience when they are overshadowed by user generated content? Things like family BBQ pictures, videos of puppy fails, and pictures of someone’s gourmet burger they’re about to indulge in at the local pub. It’s become increasingly hard for a business to cut through the clutter of content and reach a level of audience engagement that warrants a success cheer.
What about those businesses though that aren’t really in the race at all? The ones that aren’t creating compelling content consistently for their online audience? These are the businesses who will be left behind when content marketing simply becomes marketing in the next 5 or so years. By this time, many businesses who are consistently engaging their audience through content will have reached a level of content engagement not dissimilar to that of a publishing businesses. And this is where brands are going today, evolving into a publishing business model or a “content brand”. Becoming a content brand means realizing that content is a core offering in your business alongside your other services. It means publishing content that your target clients are interested in consuming, and as an effect builds trust and loyalty, ultimately contributing to the bottom line. This approach is becoming extremely popular and has proven to be an effective business and marketing approach time after time.
At businessDEPOT, we’ve been creating content from day dot, so I guess you could say we’re already ahead in the content race and are well on the way to becoming a “content brand”. I’m not going to lie and say our content has always been compelling. However, over time it has improved to the point where our reach and engagement levels are much higher, and we can see [and report on] the influence our content has had on the bottom line. Our approach is to consistently publish quality and relevant content to our online audience over time so when a business owner has a problem with something in their business, no matter what it is, they can find some answers, inspiration and thoughts in businessDEPOT’s content. Our ultimate marketing goal is to become a content brand, where we take an audience first approach to business storytelling.
These are the 4 key things we focus on to become a “content brand”:
1. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
In the early stages, it was about quantity for us. The more content we distributed on the web the better we assumed it was for increased traffic to our owned channels. Boy, wasn’t this wishful thinking! As our content strategy matured, we started to focus more on quality of our content over how many pieces we were producing. Boom! The secret sauce – quality of content over quantity of content pieces. We found that creating compelling content was the trigger for increased traffic and leads.
2. RELEVANCY IS KEY
Creating content and distributing it to our entire marketing database wasn’t working for us. I say it to people all the time, if your marketing is for everyone, it’s for no one. If they say content is king, then relevancy helps retain that status. Ensuring our content is relevant in topic, but also in the content format helps us achieve a better result and return in the long game.
If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, how pissed off would you be if the 7th season episodes weren’t going to be released one week at a time, rather one in July, another sometime in August, and who knows when the next episode will air? This would be excruciatingly painful and would make many of us quite angry. Thank the Gods they release season episodes weekly. The same principle applies to our content. We have a few different content pieces being published and distributed to different audience segments in our database on a consistent basis. One of which is our Blackboard Fridays video series; a 5-minute video, every Friday featuring business tools, tips, and strategies delivered by our Director of Strategic Advisory. Then we have our Real Estate Raise the Bar emails that go out fortnightly to our real estate database. And so on. Notice how neither of these have our business name in the titles. This is the difference between branded content, and a content brand.
A consistent delivery of our content to our audience segments keeps them engaged, builds trust and loyalty, and further positions businessDEPOT as a “content brand”.
You’ve probably heard this before about content, it’s a marathon not a sprint. In my opinion this is where a lot of businesses flop with content. Writing a blog and hoping that will generate a new lead straight away is like going to the gym and hoping you’ll walk out with a physique like Ryan Gosling. Success by content doesn’t happen overnight and this is something that we have embraced, and thus have continued to create, publish and distribute regardless of the lack of instant business results.
I don’t think becoming a content brand is hard to do, it just requires commitment. It’s like a marriage … once you’re in it, you’re in it for the long hall. The same applies to our content. We’re in it for the long hall and know that if we keep focussing on just 4 things, we will ultimately reach our goal of becoming a content brand.