Liz Johnstone
Liz Johnstone 30 December 2014
Categories Content

How To Future-proof Your Content Marketing

All about content marketing - based on a presentation I gave at the Digital Doughnut event in Hoxton, London in November 2014.

Content marketing is evolving from the more traditional forms of passively consumed content towards the creation of digital tools and platforms, built to make customers’ lives easier. Here are some pointers if you are looking for ways to make sure your content stands out from the avalanche of whitepapers, blog posts and infographics that no-one has the time or inclination to read.

  • Produce content that enhances a person’s day in some way.
  • It should be engaging, entertaining or useful.
  • Even better if it solves a problem.

As digital marketers, of course it’s our job to stay up to date with best practice, produce quality content and generate as much buzz around that content as possible.

Read more on Digital Doughnut.

However, this has led to ubiquitous whitepapers, buyers guides, Top ten tips, Infographics, ebooks, clickbait, listicles and whatever else is flavour of the content marketing month. All brands aim for thought leadership and everyone is a so-called “expert”. Audiences are becoming so bombarded with content that most of it is white noise. Web users are in danger of becoming jaded.

How Do We Elicit The Right Response With Our Content?

Does it mean anything to our target audience? Are you addressing them in a tone they will recognise and appreciate? Can you personalise it in any way? Are you targeting people at a specific time in the buying cycle or does everyone see the same blog post or receive the same email?

Does it raise a smile? This may not be right for all brands but humour or clever creative can mark your brand and content out from the rest, not to mention increasing the likelihood of shares on social.

Does it provide real value or solve a problem? This is the holy grail. If you can solve a problem with your content you make it indispensable.

This is why it’s really important that you have a deep understanding of your target audience or user base.

Instead of chasing the latest craze in the content marketing industry, think about what makes most sense for your audience and what they would appreciate.

Can you identify any common pain points and offer a solution to them? If you can make something easier for someone – they are much more likely to continue using it but also to recommend it to their peers.

How Do You Keep Innovating?
Rather than writing yet another "How to" guide about creating a social media strategy, why not create a physical check list of steps that users could complete or better still, create a downloadable strategy template. This transforms what would otherwise be a passive piece of content into an action – thereby putting your brand or organisation at the centre of the user’s task or activity.

It’s about building an experience for your customers. By thinking in terms of useful tools or problem solving content and creating platforms or experiential tools, you can build brand equity and foster a more meaningful connection with your audience.

Would you rather read a “How to” guide explaining how to create an engaging graphic, or use a free tool like Canva?

Consider the freemium model used by tech companies like graphic design tool Canva or Inbound marketing legends Hubspot. The free tools and content they provide generate enough publicity and recommendations to support the paid service.

It also removes the huge cost of promoting content as happy users promote to their peer networks for free. Brand equity comes with making people love you. Hubspot made themselves indispensable to marketing managers with downloadable assets and tools like Marketing Grader.

–Brands and organisations need to think of ways to make themselves indispensable to their customers, rather than trying to distract them with meaningless ads, games and lists.
–Apply the bookmark test: ‘Would I bookmark this for frequent use?’

–As well as trying to get their attention in the right place at the right time,use some of that effort to create something great that your audience will actually seek out, recommend to their friends and use regularly!

And remember, every business is different so to monitor the results so you can invest more time and money on what works.


This article is based on a presentation I gave to a crowd of delightful digital marketing professionals at a Digital Doughnut event in Hoxton, London in November.


This article first appeared here.

Read more on Digital Doughnut.

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