Content Marketing Tips Based On Experience (part 2)

Content Marketing tips: I built this list for my students a month ago and I’m sharing it now as I think it could be useful to many. It’s one of these subjects which seem to be very easy but it’s not. You could learn it, or at least its principles, in a matter of minutes. Teaching it is extra hard unless you are not afraid of teaching things that aren’t really – or at least not always – true and are ready to stand up for it and pretend you know the truth and all the content marketing tips and they are all fault-proof.

content marketing tips

Of course they aren’t. Ditto for Word of Mouth marketing and so it is for most subjects linked to digital marketing. One thinks one knows it but when you’re asked to do it then you realise you know nothing. Even I who have been practicing this for 22 years and more. I’m still learning everyday and it’s a good thing because it means I’m never resting on my laurels. Content marketing is all a matter of practice and field experience, trial and error and no truth holds for very long before it is questioned and all you know must be reinvented. So here’s the sequel to our latest post on Content Marketing based on the questions asked by mrs MSC students in Grenoble last month. Our last point was about time and money. I repeat the last question below and we will take it from there. This is part 2 of this blog post, which will be published in 3 instalments.

Content marketing tips

(here I will deliver my content marketing tips through the answer to a few questions I had from my students)

As for SEO vs SEA, engagement could either mean that you pay or you invest time. It’s your choice

(as seen in part one of this blog post)

But that doesn’t mean that the value of social media is in engagement dashboards. In fact, it’s not. It’s in the power to interact and to gain insights from people: clients/partners/influencers/or even the average punter (who cares as long as you have an insight?). One insight only is sufficient for you to change positively and durably a product or service and make a strong impact in your market. Yet, most marketers are lazy and prefer to pay Facebook so that they can show “big” engagement numbers even though you and I know that they are not really “big”.

To sum it up in a few words, I think there is no other technique or strategy to increase engagement, whatever it means. In my eyes, content marketing tip number one is that what is most valuable is the quality of your content (in the broad sense of the term: content could be anything from entertainment to something which is particularly mesmerising or inspirational, something extraordinary which people want to share). I know that the term quality is very subjective and that it’s difficult to define and that it could mean different things to different audiences. That’s exactly the point. Define what that “quality” means for your audience: B2B audiences will most probably favour in-depth content and B2C entertaining content. That’s a starting point, there is no matrix for defining what “good quality content” is. Yet, all we know is that…

Once your content is superior (re the above-mentioned caveat) , all the rest will follow. This is the power of Word of Mouth Marketing.

Are different copywriting skills required on Facebook and Twitter?

My second content marketing tip in this piece would be not to confuse apple and oranges. There may be some copywriting skills required on social networks, but I would certainly not hold them for content marketing skills (now that I can tell the difference). Posts in Twitter are barely 140 characters long (there has been a few changes but no big deal), and Facebook posts on Brand pages are much longer on average. So, I wouldn’t even call it copywriting skills. There are Facebook and Twitter techniques but they are worth nothing compared to having real inventive people interacting for real with other real people. If you are not convinced you can still go to the numerous infographics online and learn them by heart and become little CM robots (by the way, one does NOT manage communities, THEY manage YOU).

How to find suitable content to apply in product promotion?

Content marketing tip no. 3: product-related content is manifold:

  1. Product descriptions: describing products, what they are, the pain points associated with them and describing them well. In that context, content could even be extended to UGC with likes and rankings and content produced by users who describe in earnest what they think of your product or service.
  2. Persona marketing, i.e. the ability to depict several types of users. Personas are mostly created from field surveys (or salesforce surveys as well) and grouped into several typical use cases. They are great for SEO. There are different approaches to personas: in the US, businesses are keen on using fake persons and fake names and giving them hobbies and such like. Europeans shy away from that and wish to be more strict and professional.
  3. In-depth onsite content such as visionary content to promote an idea or concept behind a product. This encompasses history and storytelling about your business, its history, its people, its philosophy, its methodologies (if any) etc.

I may have forgotten one or two things here, this piece is not comprehensive

What kind of content marketing can help trigger more sales revenue?

That’s not a content marketing tip but a two-million-dollar question. There is never a sure bet for content to be triggering sales directly. Even though I can testify to the contrary with many impressive results, I refuse plainly to link content creation to sales for fear of shooting myself in the foot. Bear in mind that content marketing is inbound marketing (people buy from you). Whereas outbound is performance-based marketing (you sell to people). Yet I can give you hints

  • (Mostly B2B) White papers and positioning papers will bring leads. They can even be used for outbound marketing campaigns. Yet, they have to be good white papers (for good and bad content, refer to your other question).
  • (Mostly B2B) Blog posts can’t be linked to sales directly but they do bring sales. People will call you because they have read something for instance. This works particularly well in High Tech and consulting. Each of your posts must be targeted towards a particular customer question or pain point.
  • (Mostly B2C) Instagram has proven a successful channel for entry level products such as custom jewellery. Not all products, even B2B or FMCG, can benefit from that though.
  • Content marketing is more rarely used in B2C, they mostly go for branded content (content which is related to the brand as opposed to a topic). B2C will mostly aim at events and entertainment, street marketing and such like. B2B will resort more to blogging and (somewhat more) technical writing.

Is content marketing just as useful for large corporations as it is for smaller corporations?

On the contrary. If you are small, you have no other means of competing. How could you afford the millions of $ worth of advertising? Digital is your one and only weapon. Yet, there is a paradox. Small businesses have fewer resources to cater for content marketing and their budgets are tighter. It’s a conundrum. If they solve this issue, they can compete with much larger brands that command far bigger budgets.

Are there regulations for online content marketing, such as against plagiarism?

Of course, there are. It’s even forbidden to copy a Website’s template without prior approval. Yet, 65% of all journalistic content on the Web is cut and paste. Regulations are hard to enforce. In case of problem I recommend you negotiate rather than sue.

how to identify the current content for my prospects, how to guide them to create leads

I suppose you mean as an agency. I suggest that you focus on your clients’ pain points or even your clients’ clients’ pain points. In the following diagram I have described how to apply this method to what kind of content and what kind of platform.

Michael Bosworth’s famous pyramid. A diagram I used many many times to launch content marketing initiatives

How can we stay focused and direct our content marketing efforts to add value to the main brand’s objective instead of just creating content that might be useful and entertain the user but doesn’t add value to the brand?

That’s a good point. Most brands and agencies do exactly that: have fun and they then congratulate each other and pat themselves on the back and grant each other awards and everyone is happy… save their customers of course.

So, here’s my HTG advice: remain customer-focused and always ask the question: “what would a client / my clients / my partners, etc. think if they saw this: is it adding value to them? Is it useful to them? Is it worth the game?

Yann Gourvennec
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Yann Gourvennec

CEO & Founder at Visionary Marketing
Yann has a long-standing experience in marketing, information systems and Web marketing. He created visionarymarketing.com in 1996 and since then, he has practiced Web strategy, e-business and Web communications in the field. He has been a member of socialmedia.org from 2008 till 2013 and he co-founded Media Aces, the French Association for enterprises and social media. He is a lecturer, a keynote speaker, an author and blogger. His upcoming book Mastering Digital Marketing Like A Boss will be published soon. In early 2014, he went from intrapreneur to entrepreneur when he founded his digital marketing agency Visionary Marketing, in partnership with Effiliation.
Yann Gourvennec
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