Cooking Up Some Delicious Marketing Content
Creating good content is like cooking a great Thanksgiving meal. To cook a great meal, and likewise to create great marketing content, you need to consider preferences, serving size, and timing, among other things.
For example, a great chef, and a great marketer, should consider the preferences of the guests/audience. One also needs to have the right amount of servings/content pieces. Finally, everything must be timed perfectly, in order to whet the appetite and ultimately satiate them.
In this blog post, I will explore how to best cook up content, as well as what to avoid.
Be Sure to Serve the Basics
There is a reason why every Thanksgiving dinner has those staple dishes: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and apple and pumpkin pies. Those dishes are tried and true, and what your guests are expecting to be served. Sure, you can try out some exotic stuffing for your turkey, but stray too far from the tried and true, AND stray outside of the major theme, and your guests will be confused. For example, throwing in some foie gras stuffed dates at Thanksgiving is a sure way no one will bite.
It’s the same way with content marketing. Be sure to present the main theme, and tried and true messaging, and it’s best to pepper in some extra elements versus straying too far from the expected. For example, foundational elements like whitepapers, case studies, and technical briefs are what the audience is expecting to see. Definitely test out some cool 3D animated video, but don’t forsake the cornerstones. Serve what buyers are expecting to see and rely upon for making purchasing decisions first and foremost.
Just Like Grandma Used to Make
Be wary of blindly following a recipe, “just like grandma used to make.” I know, how dare we? But have you ever had someone outside the family come to Thanksgiving, and try “grandma’s famous recipe?” Have you watched their face as they tried it? They’ll never tell you if they don’t like it, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted that they will!
The same is true for already existing, internally made content. We all think our content assets are fantastic and keep creating them the same way because no one outside our group gave feedback or told us otherwise. All content should be vetted with an outside opinion, even if it already exists and performs well. Marketers should ask customers for feedback on their content assets. Find out if the messaging is clear, if it resonates with them, and lastly, what else they would want to see.
Accommodating for Dietary Preferences
In this day and age, can anyone get away with cooking a Thanksgiving that doesn’t account for guests’ food allergies or special diets? Not in my family, and I bet not in yours either. We have something for everyone – gluten free, lactose intolerant, nut free, etc.
The same goes for presenting content. Customers all have different consumption diets. Some listen to podcasts, others watch webcasts, some click social ads. If we make great content, but no one can eat it, because it’s presented somewhere not within their consumption diet, we can’t serve them our delicious goods! If we don’t have the content the way our consumers want to consume it, someone else will and they’ll eat at their house instead. The key is to have as much variety as possible in how you can present your content assets.
Getting the Most Out of Your Ingredients
The great part about ingredients is that they can go into more than one dish. Understanding how you can reuse/repurpose ingredients and accounting for that when selecting recipes will save you thousands of dollars and tons of time every year.
The same applies to creating content. Marketers spend millions of dollars every year on creating content, only to use it once. You should always create content with the mindset that the asset can and should be repurposed.
I find webcasts to be the best. For example, the slides can be turned into a short slideshow. The images can be taken out and used to create an infographic. Use the audio as a podcast. The Q&A can be the start of your next blog post. Now you’ve just turned one asset into four assets. By repurposing content, you can maximize the ROI of your content spend, as well as accommodate to different consumption preferences, which will ultimately improve the performance.
You can also use those webcasts more than once. One of my old clients did an amazing job reusing his webcasts. He was in a tight spot where he needed to generate a very large amount of leads on a regular basis, but unfortunately didn’t have the time or the resources to create all new content assets. So instead, he took a webcast, slapped on a different title, suppressed the past attendees, and relaunched it every two months for the rest of the year. I thought he was crazy, but it worked. He consistently got 400-500 registrants per webcast, and upwards of a 50% show rate, well above the industry average.
Most people don’t know that eggs will stay fresh 3-4 weeks beyond the sell-by date. In our minds, however, we think that if something is close to the sell-by date, it is about to go bad. Consequently, we’ll push the egg carton with a close sell-by date to the side, and go with the newer eggs because we think they will taste better or are healthier.
The same goes with content. Customers will migrate toward the most current asset and ignore the older assets, even though the older assets may still be just as relevant. Twelve months is the average shelf life for a piece of content. This means you need to consistently monitor the age of your content assets, create new content assets, and retire the old ones.
That said, unlike eggs, you can extend this shelf life by repackaging it. If the content is still relevant and timely there is no reason why you have to retire it. Instead, pull out the relevant information, and relaunch it as a new content piece. Update the layout and change the dates. It’s also a time saver, because the old asset has already been through approvals.
If you employ the same approach to content as you do for cooking Thanksgiving dinner, your content will perform better, have a longer shelf life, and save your company time and money. Stay tuned for the next post, where I’ll talk about aligning content to the different stages in the buyer’s journey.