There’s lots of help and advice available to companies that are looking to content marketing as a way to deepen engagement with their target audiences. One such piece that I really like at the moment is a presentation written by Doug Kessler; Crap. The content marketing deluge. I think the reason I particularly like it is because we’re currently working with a client to try and make sure they don’t fall into the same trap.
Working through the content marketing process with them we’ve made the following observations:
- “Everyone” pretty much knows the theory of researching for content ideas based on target audience needs. In practice, very few people have knuckled down and actually done it.
- Researching and knowing what your organisation wants to talk about and make into your content advantage is actually really tough.
In this article I particularly want to focus on how to use your internal resources to make your content marketing plan as thoughtful and considered as possible.
Content marketing on the surface.
If you work in marketing, digital or public relations you probably know all about content marketing; you’ve all read articles or been to a conference about it, right? But when you dip below the surface and you start to really get into the practical what and why it becomes a little more difficult.
The areas we find our clients struggling to decide upon are:
- What you will and won’t talk about within an area of content; the won’t can sometimes be tougher to agree and opens up a whole different blog article on agreeing on your tone of voice.
- How to make sure your content messages go deeper than your sales and marketing messages. Although you are supporting wider business plans your content marketing plans should display a greater level of thinking or expertise than you can get across in an ad campaign.
- If you’re going to be relying on some content curation (highly likely) how to choose the articles that you can actually make more relevant, remarkable or purposeful for your target audience.
Top tips for finding your content nuggets.
There are heaps of great tools and websites designed to help the budding content marketers find their target audiences and see what or who they are being influenced by but not so many great tools for doing that in-house. So how do we uncover the really good stuff we should be talking about?
Here are some of my top tips for uncovering those internal content opportunities:
- Build editorial teams that don’t just include marketers.
There is nothing worse than a room full of marketers deciding on your content marketing plan, you’ll just end up with a communications plan that supports your marketing campaigns. Instead draw resources from different teams until you create a melting pot of people who have an alternative insight or perspective about your company’s position and purpose.
- Make research your best friend.
If you are lucky enough to have your own in-house research team that’s even better. Talk to them and view your research reports through fresh eyes. Ask them questions related to the topic area of your content, you never know what they might uncover for you. We can tend to be a bit jaded by our research, rarely viewing it as an opportunity to develop new ideas or find new insights but for your editorial teams that’s exactly what it should be used for. This is the stuff that allows you to evidence your expertise.
- Get up close and personal with your company level strategic plans.
View these documents through fresh eyes too. Think about the purpose of your content positioning and see if there are goals or objectives within your plans that you can develop or support. For example; our client at the moment is working hard to re-position their brand to be seen as a partner rather than a provider. That says a lot about how their content should created and communicated as well as helping to identify good (and bad) content choices.
Ultimately this is about getting the balance right between the time and type of research you uncover for both sides of the content marketing equation. You can have all the research in the world about your target audience but without being remarkable, insightful or thought-provoking from a business perspective then you’ll just be adding to the content marketing deluge. Be original.