The Key To Successful Branded Content: Experimentation
The number one content marketing enemy? Boredom. It’s important to keep your brand from stagnation by embracing creativity and experimentation. New content formats and platforms are constantly springing up and making headlines, but businesses often sadly lag behind current trends.
It’s a crying shame to let content agencies and freelancers have all the fun, so here are some ways that brands and businesses can mix things up a little bit more in their corporate content factory. Whether you’re selling products online, or peddling ideas to the busy bluechips — experimentation will help you launch into a new era of content success.
Try new formats on a regular basis to drive online sales
If you don’t try, you’ll never know, right? It’s important that brands remember to step outside of their comfort zones every now and then, instead of reaching for those default design templates. Yes, it can be exhausting to try new things — but if you just keep churning out an ebook like clockwork every quarter, where is the room for disruption and creativity? Is anyone even paying attention anymore? Do you still rely on outdated PDFs?
- Brands should regularly try new formats in order to find their own ‘content sweet spot’. (What’s a content sweet spot? Content that is cost-effective to create, and has high levels of engagement and uplift).
- Social media platforms are constantly giving us new ways to share brand stories — so why not test out a Facebook Live or an Instagram story at your latest awards show, as well as the usual blog post? Brand stories are especially great for ecommerce businesses who need to work hard to humanize their products
- How to experiment cost-effectively? Repurpose. Don’t re-invent the wheel for every channel, but use the same design assets, words, and content themes and transform them into a whole plethora of content products. An ebook can be broken down into a series of blog posts, which can also be made into a podcast, which can then be condensed into a series of tweets or an Instagram post. Try out these free content creation tools for size — content experimentation doesn’t need to be costly and time-consuming.
Divorce content from the inbound funnel for more freedom
I am not saying that you should reject or scrap your inbound marketing strategy (quite the opposite). What I am saying is that if you go on creating content like drones, following your editorial calendar to the letter, you will miss out on key opportunities to create wonderful, creative things. You need to allow your content team to put down strategy for a few seconds, and create content that will capture people’s hearts, as well as their minds.
Using YouTube’s help, hero, hub content framework can help teams organize their ideas into different content tiers. It’s a great catalyst for having braver and more deep conversations about content.
Get different people involved so that teams don’t ‘coast’
Who manages your content production? Is it always the same member of the content team or freelancer who wields the mighty pen? You might need to mix things up in the team in order to properly shake things up. Manage the transition with tact by getting content creators to collaborate with and interview different parts of the business. Your content team will still feel empowered and in control, but the content will have a different spin and flavor to it.
One of the biggest B2B content marketing challenges is getting the the C-suite to engage with the big questions of the day, or even just show up for a blog post interview! The best brands and businesses have taken on board the serious need for expertise in content marketing, and harness top exec power and experience in the knowledge marketplace. In order to compete, you need sign-off and content buy-in at the highest possible levels of the business. Content needs to start in a business’s beating heart.
Reduce silos and feedback
Working in a content production silo is like trying to write with your hands tied behind your back. In order to succeed, content marketing needs to happen in a fully non-siloed way, allowing teams to easily collaborate and feedback on each other’s work.
Waiting for feedback on content campaigns from legal or compliance teams can take all the fun out of marketing, so brands should only exercise sign-off if it’s actually needed. Remember, the most important feedback will be coming from your audience and the marketplace, not senior management — so take their suggestions with a pinch of salt.
Embrace reactive content
Reactive, newsworthy content is a great way to push the boundaries of branded content. If you can get your business out there, commentating on news events or industry trends live, you will quickly see engagement levels and traffic soar.
Jumping on things and being the first to market with an explainer video or blog post means having a content production process that’s flexible, fast, and streamlined. Allowing people to work in a more journalistic style is a surefire way to ramp up your digital storytelling strategy, and is something that tech and ecommerce start ups are making the most of.
Branded content is a great way to generate leads and build a receptive online audience, but brands need to experiment and test, rather than rinse and repeat. Shaking up your content strategy might be the best thing you’ll ever do online...