Having recently attended Content Marketing World, a conference with over 3,500 attendees from around the world, the theme of “A World of Stories” couldn’t be more telling. The three-day event offered over 100 breakout sessions and several keynote speakers including Joseph Gordon-Levitt – actor, writer; producer; Linda Boff – General Electric CMO; Colson Whitehead – Pulitzer Prize winner; and Kate Santore – Coca-Cola Company, Creative Content and Excellence.
The challenge to attendees was to stop producing content that is average; instead, ask yourself what makes your content unique. Jay Acunzo, creator & host of Unthinkable, said, “Don’t demand action – inspire it.” For the majority of marketers, reporting on regulations or an established topic is too easy. What is harder is to offer a perspective. Answer the question, why should the reader care or what should they do as a result of consuming your content? And more importantly, why should they read your content over what your competitor has to say about the same topic?
Producing a pile of blogs or e-books does not make you a thought leader. Tonnage is not the game you need to win. As with food, I will take quality over quantity any day.
The key to developing strong content that will generate interest is to pay more attention to your customer than your industry. Connect with them emotionally, translate your data (facts) into insights and actions. Consider presenting your point of view through video. “Show it, don’t tell it,” as Marcus Sheridan stated in his session.
Be genuine about your customers. They are the ones who allow you to be in business. So treat them as if you were sitting across from them at dinner. Put your phone down and pay attention to their needs. Don’t sell to them; listen to them and provide solutions. Find out what your customers really care about and address their challenges in a way that helps them solve their problems. Use the words of your customers and speak at their level, which is usually without industry jargon. If your marketing group isn’t interacting with customers on a frequent basis, you can’t expect them to create insightful content.
Author Ann Handley gave the advice to be a writer first and a marketer second. Her insight was to drive your content creation around the idea of, “Our audience needs…” opposed to “We need a piece of content for….”
The next time you have an idea to create content, challenge yourself to share something unique that your buyers would find insightful.