content strategy

Why Does B2C Content Get To Have All The Fun?

You know, you see all those cool B2C campaigns out there and you think, "well, I can't do that with B2B."

Actually, you can.

Perhaps it's because I come from the advertising agency side of thinking, but I'm a firm believer that all products and services can be interesting. Yes, seriously. And in my experience, B2B is one of the easier areas to break out with big ideas. 

Why? Because everyone else has already committed themselves to produce stodgy, uninteresting content that does nothing for their brand. That's the crack in the door to take your content to new heights. 

So, how? We're glad you asked. 

Look at your product. Now, look at the people who use your product or services? How are they using it? What else are they looking at? Your audience isn't always in business mode, they're real people, too. So, give them something fun. Maybe even cool. It's not about your brand being something that it's not, it's about letting down your guard and having a little fun. Check out these examples from Hubspot. 

See what I mean? Those are some serious B2B companies, but they're making a splash and having a little fun. For us, one of the biggest takeaways is to not be afraid to try something. Put your brand out there. See what happens. It's about letting your customers and your audiences see you in a different way. And content marketing is the perfect way to do it. Again, we're not telling you not to be you, but understand how you can push your brand forward.

You just might surprise yourself and your customers. 

Do You Know Who's Creating Your Content?

It's a fair question. Why do I ask?

Well, if you're outsourcing your content creation, you need to understand their background. What skills do they bring to the table? Can they think past linear executions and show you real strategy? Or are they simply mailing it in and doing whatever automated software is cool this month is telling them to do.

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As I have said before, you can create and develop content sitting behind a desk. Sure, I'm writing this article. Sitting in my office, watching my 12-year-old lab stretch across the floor. However, I'm usually out talking to and getting to know my clients' audiences. 

Once you do that, you can then begin to understand what is they want from your brand AND THEN what you can start creating. It's very organic. Not in it'll-happen-when-it-happens sorta way, but in a sense that you actually give a damn as a brand. Now you're actually listening.

Smart content can be developed, curated and diced up in different ways to not only work harder but be more efficient. For instance, look at Garden&Gun. Living in Charleston, SC, for 13 years before moving to the Asheville area, I am a big fan. They write great articles, and they know how to use them. Every so often I'll see a social post and I know exactly what issue it came from. The article was written a year ago, possibly, but it's still relevant and people probably forgot about it. 

That's smart. They're using their own content efficiently. 

So, think to yourself. (I can hear the wheels turning right now)

Who's doing my content? Do they know my brand? Do they know my audiences? Are they making it work as hard as it should? 

Darth Vader's Guide to Great Content

Ok, we all know who Darth Vader is. Right? I hope so. If not, please move to one of our other posts. 

Darth Vader was a content expert before his time. Well, he was in a galaxy far, far away, but it holds true to our galaxy as well.

So, what did he know? 

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He knew brands need a voice. (Feel free to read the rest of this post in James Earl Jones' voice)

When he talked, people listened. It was what he said, and how he said it. Never varying from his brand and always backing it up with action.

Sure, I know, Darth Vader ... content ... bit of a stretch, but it's really not if you think about it. You still remember him, don't you? He's one of the most iconic figures of the last century. That voice of his did something to you. And it's not the only voice you're hearing. 

Every day you're hearing different voices coming at you. The smart ones are whispering thoughts to you and have you nodding your head long before you know it. 

It's not the force, but it's darn close. 

Why Content Marketing is Cuter Than a Kitten

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Well, like many, I've been doing content marketing for a while, and never really knew it. 

How? Pretty easy. 

What you call content, I call creative. See, I'm a Creative Director/Copywriter by trade. Been playing the game in ad agencies for just a little more than 20 years. Back in the day, we would come up with concepts, ideas, sat around, drink too much coffee, break away, come back together. This would go on for a few weeks, and then we'd have some solid concepts.

Then we'd flesh these concepts out and see what stuck to the wall. What's left is what was presented to the client. 

This is where the kitten thing comes in.

Content is cute in the fact you're not stuck with it. Doesn't work? Take it down, start over. Next! Content doesn't have to be part of a main campaign. And it can be a bit looser. It still needs to be in brand, but it can be off on its own, but still of interest to your audiences. Maybe even just a very small section of your audience. 

While working for Terminix, we kicked around an idea of the Terminix keymen. These people were on the front line dealing with customers. So, we wanted to show our keymen off. What better than to talk to them. In their office. Their truck. So, we created a ride-along series where we had a Terminix driver drive around in his truck while we asked him questions. Questions were designed to 1. show off his product knowledge and 2. show everyone Terminix has great people. And it worked like a charm. We put these videos up on FB, Insta and Youtube. 

At the end of the day, it's about stretching the brand comfort zone and finding different audiences.

It can be as easy or as complicated as you like it.

We like fun.

Who Really Uses Audience Personas

We do. 

And if you want to nail down your audiences, you need to put faces to them and start to build a profile. It's a habit we've come familiar with and something we believe in.

Once we sign on with a client, we dig in deep to understand the brand. By doing that, we start to see the audiences. The picture gets clearer for us. To take it further, we give ourselves a vivid and honest of account of each audience. 

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So, what are some things you might like to know? Well, what do they eat for breakfast? What do they wear to workout in? Do they eat cereal for breakfast? How do they like their coffee? What are their internet habits? Do they prefer American cars? What are their goals?

All these things and more are important. It gives us insight into who these people really are. And once we know this, we know what they're looking at, listening to, reading, watching, liking and so on.

The more in-depth, the better. I'm not telling you to spend a week on one person, but give it some thought. Understand, deeply, who your audience really is. Once you do, content marketing becomes a whole lot easier. You begin to understand what they want.

It's not magic, but it takes some listening and learning. 

 

What Mom Never Told You About Content Consistency

There's this word that keeps popping up in content marketing. It's called (drum roll) ... consistency. 

Your mom told you all about moderation. Everything in moderation. Well, consistency rings true in a lot of different avenues. And especially with content marketing. Bet your mom didn't tell you that one.

Ok, so, dumb question: how much is the right consistency? Are we to be consistently consistent?

Consistency comes down to the channel. Some require more than others. So, let's take a look.

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Consistency Is Expected - blog posts, newsletters, social media and podcasts. These are items that your audience is expecting to see with great frequency.

Consistency Not Required - videos, white paper, ebooks, webinars and infographics. We don't want to overwhelm our audience with these things, but they're not to drop in when/where appropriate. 

Consistency Not Critical - events, games, guests. These are nice to have. Give your content marketing some variety. Again, not super important, but good to have in there every so often.

So, are you doing this right? There's not secret ratio when it comes to content marketing, but there are some common sense markers. The above markers are just the start. Play around with what works for you and go from there. Of course, it all comes down to what your audience needs and/or is looking for.