If Content is King, why don’t you treat it as such? You have heard this saying so many times, and yet, your approach hasn’t changed. Your team continues to write product-centric, feature and benefit focused content from yesteryear with the anticipation that consumers will engage with the content and generate sales. Ultimately, the content falls flat, and everyone bemoans the lackluster results as though they were unexpected. In reality, the outcome is of little surprise. If you want to drive revenue and digital marketing results, you need to start creating high-quality, interesting, and relevant content which reflects its royal status.
The media environment is cluttered with a litany of competing messages, imagery, platforms and networks all vying for eyeballs. As a result, consumers are experiencing advertising/marketing “blindness” like never before. They simply tune out, ignore or skip past any content that looks like advertising, and you guessed it, product-centric, features and benefits content looks, feels, and smells like advertising. Instead, consumers have grown increasingly savvy and choosey about what content they will engage with. They expect to be entertained, educated, informed, uplifted or otherwise satisfied by giving your content their time. If your content doesn’t actually satisfy your customer’s needs, then your content doesn’t get your customer’s, or prospective customer’s, attention. It is just that simple. As such, the days of writing content that is company-first focused are over. Your content actually has to do something for your audience.
That doesn’t mean that truly relevant and interesting content such as useful resource guides, informative video tutorials, and other engaging content that includes your product and/or attributes aren’t effective or valuable. On the contrary, they elevate your brand, but only if the priority is placed on the value of the content to your audience as opposed to the value to your company or product. A veiled sales pitch will be viewed as just that. It will never foster the engagement that an authentic, useful video, podcast, ebook or other resource-specific piece of content will generate. You simply cannot fool today’s consumer nor should you want to.
Now you are likely thinking, “OK I get it, but does this approach actually drive sales or am I relegated to creating content for my audience that doesn’t actually produce results?” I have spoken with some marketers that seem resigned to this outcome, especially as it relates to social media. In truth, great content on social media and other digital platforms absolutely drives revenue as well as the bottom line. However, the “give” and “receive” equation has changed. Today’s customers expect much more giving from brands. They expect you to woo them with outstanding content and earn their business. They expect you to continue to produce and distribute relevant, timely content which warrants their attention. If you do that and remain true to this philosophy, your brand and company will be rewarded with sales.Cheat this approach, inundate customers with content of little value or fake it to any degree, and your campaign as well as sales will falter. Customers expect more today than they did yesterday. That is the reality. Moreover, this cycle is unlikely to shift. In fact, it will only accelerate as the consumer’s sophistication grows.
Producing high-quality content on a regular basis is by no means easy. It takes work. It requires adapting or adjusting your message repeatedly. It means customizing your marketing campaign by network and audience. It commands a deep understanding of the network and platform. It needs testing and monitoring. It takes thoughtful creativity and a willingness to change. Marketers can either embrace this change or fight it. The consequence will either be great reward or great decline, but make no mistake: If you want to be a successful marketer in 2016 and beyond, it’s time that you actually produce king-worthy content.