He discusses the most common content marketing mistakes, exciting new formats and how $1,000 can help build your online presence.
What are the biggest misconceptions brands and agencies have when they first move into the content marketing space?
Content marketing newcomers expect to see results quickly. They read, learn and get over-the-moon excited. They may even gain a decent understanding of the levers that power the content marketing machine, such as social, search, email and analytics.
However, they often conveniently hear what they want to hear regarding results. Things like “traffic … leads … word-of-mouth … authority …” Then while their heads are busy nodding, they miss the not-so-seductive part: this stuff takes time.
And that leads me to two related – and big – misconceptions among these brands and agencies.
One: it’s cheap and easy to do content marketing. Wrong — and wrong again. It takes talent and commitment, just like anything else that’s truly valuable.
And two: a crazy content marketing wizard sprinkled some ‘Field of Dreams’ dust on them, giving them the impression that great content automagically draws a crowd.
But guess what? You have to market your marketing. I know, the world is so unfair.
What about common mistakes for newcomers in the content marketing space?
Pull up a couch. This could take a while. What? No couch? Okay, I’ll rapid fire some common mistakes. Newbie content marketers often don’t:
– Document a strategy.
– Create a content marketing mission statement.
– Creep around inside their target market’s heads and hearts.
– Hire amazing talent to create the content.
– Try anything original.
– Grab their blog by the you-know-what and express a point of view.
– Effectively repurpose content.
– Master social media.
– Network and forge meaningful relationships with influencers.
– Analyze their results.
– Respond to the analysis of their results.
Q: Beyond the usual suspects (Red Bull, Dove, GoPro, etc…), which brands are creating exciting content?
I’m so entrenched in marketing I can’t say I really know of a lot of killer examples outside of marketing. But I’m a consumer like everyone else, so I’ll tell you about some brands I dig that manage to hit me in the heart (or funny bone).
Earth Rated: This brand manufactures dog poop bags! But they use blogging, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to hypnotize dog lovers like me with some doggone adorable media. As for the most brilliant part: it’s about 99 percent user generated.
Dollar Shave Club: Sure, the genesis of this rocket ship was a YouTube video that went viral, but I became interested enough to explore their site and social media and signup. I found with every touch point, this is a company that understands doing business and having fun need not be mutually exclusive.
Don’t push me for B2B examples. The B2B world is trying their best to remain boring as hell.
Which content formats are you most excited about?
The reverse question would be much easier because I’m excited about all of them.
I love infographics. I wrote a post about infographics where I described them as the ultimately “webable” format. I made up that word, but what I mean is, we humans have always loved reading, listening and watching programs, interviews, looking at pictures, et cetera. So a lot of what we love about the web isn’t really new. The infographic craze of the 21st century, however, is one of the true web phenomena.
I love blogs. Some may consider them old hat or predictable, but I think blogging is the ultimate way to educate, entertain and inspire. And I’ll never buy the “no one has time to read” BS. Before you make an important decision, you read. You probably read more than ever before.
I love SlideShare. Check me out there. I’m all over it. Plus, I was just informed I’ve been appointed a SlideShare “Keynote Author,” which means my presentations, graphics and documents are worth your while (or something like that).
What do you think will be the biggest shift in the content marketing space in the next year?
We’re in for an about-face in its popularity. I don’t mean content marketing will become unpopular. I mean we’ll see a separation between those committed enough to rock it and the pretenders. So content marketing will become less popular as the universal Kool-Aid it’s become this decade.
If a brand has only $1,000 to invest in its content marketing strategy, how would you recommend they spend it?
I’d probably recommend that they don’t. But if they must, I’d suggest a piece of content that contains great answers to their most frequently asked questions. Then, package it as a web page, post, video, slide deck and/or webinar. In other words, create one piece of content and give it a long and meaningful life.
If a person has only $1,000 to invest in their personal branding strategy, how would you recommend they spend it?
Create a blog and a top-notch LinkedIn presence. Keep the change.