BlueChip Communication is reporting in from the Content Marketing World Sydney, where international leaders in the field are gathered to share their insights and experiences. Why are we here? Because we understand that our financial services clients face more challenges than most in getting their content out there – and experiencing the associated benefits.
Before we go any further, a quick reminder about exactly what this beast called content marketing is. You may know it as custom publishing or branded journalism. It’s simply telling your company’s story in order to promote what you do – without overt selling. It’s all about retaining and acquiring customers through engagement and thought leadership. And it’s not new. It’s just that we now have the power to tell these stories to more people, for lower cost, than ever before.
Read on to find out more – namely our top 10 take-outs from the conference so far.
1. Make your content valuable
A cliche all right, but one that stands. Unless it’s relevant to your audience and in many cases, actionable, it’s just noise – or worse – overt marketing with all its endearing charm (sic). Make sure the information you’re relaying is sound, interesting, usable. Is it something that your audience might pay for? If yes, then you’re on the right track.
2. Along the same track, DON’T restrict or gate your content
Make it accessible and you will reach a far wider audience AND gain the credibility of a thought leader who is not in it for the sell. And don’t just make it free – SHARE and engage with other influencers in your field – extensively. Someone saying something you admire or agree with? Share it. That way you grow your network, boost audience reach, improve your content – and maybe even make a few friends while you’re at it.
3. Three letters for you: ROI
It’s what every CEO and marketing head wants to know about when it comes to your marketing spend. When it comes to content marketing, we’ve got good news. Never has any form of marketing been more measurable. We can find out who sees what and who does what at the click of a button, and relate it back to other key measures of success. The secret of success is to work out what those measures are – and what price you’ll pay if you’re NOT out there, acquiring and retaining customers where they’re actively playing and seeking most of their information: online.
4. It doesn’t have to be perfect first time
It may come as a shock for those in marketing and especially the risk averse financial services industry, but you don’t have to launch a perfectly finished product first time. AMEX suggest that you launch the ‘minimum viable’ product / service to get participation and continue to refine as you go. Social media and content marketing continues to evolve, as should your strategy and tactics.
5. Help, not hype your customer
Content marketing is not just about amplifying your message to your customer, it is about helping them find what they are looking for. Discover your customer needs by searching what they are looking for online and what they are saying about your category / sector. Provide them with a program to meet these needs, whether it directly impacts your business or not. Your audience will find the help useful and you will become top of mind when they are looking for someone in your sector. And don’t forget the power of the face to face contact or ‘just asking’ the question.
6. Market your marketing
Just because you ‘build it’ with content, doesn’t mean they will necessarily come. Don’t treat the act of creating content as the end of the journey; it is in fact the beginning. You must market your content to target audiences using tools including media relations and social media. People need to hear about your content across multiple touch points, multiple times, before it changes or enhances their behaviour – which is the test of true content marketing.
7. Be geographically & culturally relevant
Many global companies believe that they can simply replicate the content created at HQ. This can be a big mistake. Each international market is different and it is important that your content marketing reflects this. Otherwise, you could encounter one of the ultimate dangers for the content marketer: being irrelevant to your customers or, even worse, alienating them.
8. Strategy, strategy, strategy
Where is the first place you should start with content marketing for your business? Yep, you guessed it. With a content marketing strategy. This is the single most important step you will take. And while having a strategy won’t inoculate you from mistakes, it will at least give you a solid foundation for success. Steps for success include identifying how content marketing will support your overall business objectives AND who your target audience is, what they want or need, and how can you deliver this to them. The strategy is not static, either – once created you should regularly review.
9. To thine own brand be true
Before you start on your content marketing strategy, define your brand. What do you stand for and how do you differ from others in your space? Make sure what you do in your content marketing reflects that. Once you have your brand I.D you want to be true to this in the types of content you develop, the way it looks, the way you choose to interact with customers. Then you need to hold onto that brand identity and promote its key characteristics in all your content marketing activities.
10. Content versus content marketing
Don’t confuse content with content marketing. The hallmark of content marketing is that it changes behaviour – which can in turn be measured. Just because you have a whole lot of volume and a whole lot of activity doesn’t means you are successful in your content marketing. It’s what your audience DOES with it that counts!
BlueChip Communication are at the upcoming Content Marketing World Sydney conference, run by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) in Sydney on 4, 5 and 6 March, and are blogging and tweeting from the event.
We’ll also be hosting a couple of our own content-related events especially for the financial services industry featuring guest speakers from the conference.
At our 7 March breakfast for financial services marketing heads, Todd Wheatland is our special guest. Author and sought-after speaker, Todd is the Vice-President of Marketing at Kelly Services, a global leader in HR and recruitment. Kelly Services has led the way in content marketing for the professional services sector, showing how to tell engaging stories through multiple channels.
Speaking at our 8 March CEO breakfast will be Joe Pulizzi, a content marketing evangelist and co-author of ‘Get Content, Get Customers’. Through his think tank, the Content Marketing Institute, he has taught marketers and brands how to develop and deliver compelling content to increase customer loyalty and engagement. Tweeting as @juntajoe he is definitely one to watch when it comes to content trends.