Article

Nana T. Baffour-Awuah
Nana T. Baffour-Awuah 27 May 2016
Categories B2B, B2C, Content, Social Media

What Adele Can Teach Your Business About Content Marketing

Many industry experts will tell you that strategic content marketing is quickly overtaking traditional advertising as a more effective tool in customer acquisition and retention. And it would appear that multi-award winning musician, Adele, might know a thing or two about this.

 Adele's release of her latest album "25" has been met with a gushing zest, but it is the preluding single, “Hello,” that originally sent hundreds of millions of hearts into a frenzy and shook the rafters across many a media house across the globe. Inadvertently, Adele also demonstrated exactly what good content strategy should aim to do: attract, compel and convert consumers. Below are six principles that Adele’s release of “Hello” demonstrates about planning and executing a winning content strategy.

Many industry experts will tell you that strategic content marketing is quickly overtaking traditional advertising as a more effective tool in customer acquisition and retention. And it would appear that multi-award winning musician, Adele, might know a thing or two about this. Adele's release of her latest album "25" has been met with a gushing zest, but it is the preluding single, “Hello,” that originally sent hundreds of millions of hearts into a frenzy and shook the rafters across many a media house across the globe. Inadvertently, Adele also demonstrated exactly what good content strategy should aim to do: attract, compel and convert consumers. Below are six principles that Adele’s release of “Hello” demonstrates about planning and executing a winning content strategy.

Deliver value: A core objective of your content strategy should be to create content that is valuable to your target consumer. You should create thoughtful and strategic content to support your business objectives, and not just because industry trends and business reports say that it is the thing to do. In Adele’s case, “Hello” is a thoughtfully crafted power ballad that plays to her strengths, aligns with her body of work, and ultimately gives her fans exactly the superior quality of emotionally stirring music that they are happy to pay money for. In the same vein, you should am to create interesting content that aligns with your overarching business goals and value proposition and delivers value to your target consumers; consumers will be more likely to explore and share your content if they derive value from it – and ultimately, be more likely to buy your product. Rich content will sell itself and drive up your revenue. Author and cofounder of Contently, Shane Snow puts it best when he says, "Gimmicks are fleeting; quality builds loyalty."

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Strike an emotional chord: Center emotion in your content strategy. A large part of what has made Adele so successful is arguably her ability to grip your heartstrings and tug at them in an excruciatingly beautiful manner – and she does exactly this with “Hello”. Of course, depending on your industry, your content may not hinge on weepy love stories; nonetheless, emotional appeals have long been found to be effective in marketing and communications. If you are a pharmaceutical company, you’re probably not creating content that makes hearts swell; however, you can definitely create content that makes the consumer feel surprise, amusement, excitement or awe. Numerous psychological studies have shown a strong relationship between emotion and memory; people remember what they feel. And people are more likely to recommend or buy a product if they can remember what they felt about it. In the words of David Beebe, VP of Global Creative and Content Marketing at Marriott International, "It is imperative that you make your audience feel something."

Incorporate multimedia: People are more attentive when you can engage more than one of their senses, especially in a single experience; this is the psychology behind visual and tactile learning. Incorporating multiple levels of interaction is not only more interesting, it is also doubly stimulating on a neurological level and consequently, more memorable. Adele tapped into this by releasing “Hello” as a music video with dramatic visuals to support the already rousing music. Studies have shown that visual storytelling is more compelling, and more quickly processed than text – by about 60000 times; for businesses, that means that it make sense to prioritize visuals and audio in content development, if possible. Of course, there is the issue of cost and the fact that some content necessarily lends itself specifically to text, but that’s a matter of discretion.

Be mindful of timing: Timing is everything. Adele capitalized on timing by making her absence felt for four years of relative silence, and then dropping a chart-topper out of the blue. Most businesses can’t afford to do that if they want to remain relevant competition in a saturated market. There are perhaps many ways that you could fine-tune your timing, but remaining current and aware is probably the most important; you can capitalize on timing by positioning your strategy in manner that is nimble, dynamic and able to align with trends and consumer behavior as needed. Poor timing can mean producing tone-deaf, irrelevant content – which is a waste of time and money, and in severe cases, could very well cost you customers and revenue.

Attract and compel: Traditional advertising pushes and shoves and thrusts itself upon the consumer. And people don’t like this – if they did, ad blocking wouldn’t exist. Theories on self-determination indicate that people like to feel in charge of their decisions, so it is important that you empower consumers to make decisions and realizations about your offerings. Adele’s announcement of her single’s release was quiet and unremarkable – a dramatically simple photo and a bit of information – and fans lapped it up and waited with baited breath to hear the new song. Certainly, this response was in part because of Adele’s established reputation – which your content should ultimately aim to do for your brand, too – but it is also partly because this approach teased fans by leaving the choice in their hands, it pulled them. Create and share your content in a manner that informs, attracts and compels. Empower consumers with the ability to choose you.

Be visible and accessible: Since breaking the news of her single and album, news about Adele has been everywhere – and even still so after their releases. A lot of the buzz has been generated organically: an excitement ignited by fans and fueled by the media. However, this buzz has also been maintained because Adele’s team has ensured that she has stayed in sight and on mind, particularly across social media – from sponsored ads on Facebook to the creation of her first ever Instagram account. While you don’t want to obnoxiously push your content, you also want to stay visible and easily accessible to consumers. People cannot read what they do not know exists, and unfortunately, that means less consumers reading your content, which translates into less revenue than you could be making. Given that, it’s essential to incorporate thoughtful promotional tactics into your content strategy; using social media campaigns, sponsored ads, and SEO optimization should help keep your content visible and available to consumers – and ultimately, increase your traffic and drive up your bottom line.

A solid content strategy can catapult your business to award-winning stardom – here’s to your success!

Have you ever worked in the music industry? It doesn't quite work this way.

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