Ready to take the high road and make your content less self-serving — so you can win the loyalty of your customers? Consider these tips:
Talk about others if you want them to talk about you.
The recommended rule of thumb for content in social media is to talk about other people, topics and things 12 times more than you talk about yourself and your business. If that seems extreme, think about how you tune out when people talk incessantly about themselves in conversation. Focus on issues and knowledge, timely topics, entertaining stories and inspiring ideas — and occasionally talk about your own products.
Keep the hoops to a minimum.
Social media gurus like David Meerman Scott insist that marketers should do away altogether with the registration walls that stand between prospective customers and your valuable, downloadable content. But if you can’t bear the thought of not capturing leads in exchange for downloads, make your forms short and simple, and only ask for what you really need to know. You can collect more information down the road as you develop a more solid relationship with the prospect.
Don’t treat your ideas as sacred.
You may consider your company and people to be thought leaders, but there is a pretty good chance that what you’re about to publish has been covered someplace else in the world. Many brands are hesitant to publish content because they’re worried their competiors will steal it. At the end of the day, you’re in this for the benefit of your customers. Focus on how you can help them, and don’t worry about the other guys.
(Oh … and don’t plagarize your competitors’ content either. “Repurposing” something a competitor has already published is pointless and can get your company in trouble. Don’t be lazy; take a fresh and original approach.)
Don’t get hung up on ROI.
The old-school way of measuring marketing ROI is much more difficult in the world of content marketing. Don’t expect immediate payoff, and think qualitatively more than quantitatively. Your quality content may be just one of the factors in a prospect’s decision to buy, and it may play a subtle role. Work with your sales teams to learn about common questions and conversations, and talk to your customers about the topics and issues they care about, then create content that addresses those issues — and continue to stay in touch to see how that content plays a role in conversations over time. A marketing automation tool can also help you track how content performs in search engines and engages prospects over time.
Find efficiencies in your generosity.
Just because you’re generous doesn’t mean you have to waste valuable time. An article in The New York Times Magazine recently examined the philosophy that selfless giving can be the key to success — but noted that efficiency is key to making the generosity successful and not onerous to productivity. About the subject of the article, a business school professor who has built his career on generosity, the article said: “He is highly efficient about his giving: he virtually never says no to the five-minute favor, something that will help someone out — an introduction, a quick suggestion — but cost him very little, relative to impact.”
In the same way, you need a strategy to help you prioritize the content that can give you the best results with the fewest resources. This is different from self-serving tactics — blatant creation of content for SEO or to “give away” in exchange for signups. Rather, it’s the key to creating valuable content with limited resources, sustainably over time.