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Not Your Mama’s Guide to Content Marketing

If after reading our headline you decide to find your information from a textbook-style article on the 4 Ps of marketing *gag* we wish you luck! But if you’re interested in learning tried and true methods for a content marketing strategy that actually works, this one’s for you! 

Never trust someone who says trust me. But seriously, trust me

Vision6 had a major case of BSPD also known as Brand Split Personality Disorder. It’s an illness that affects one in every five brands and is most commonly caused by poorly thought out marketing plans. 

We named ours Kath, Ron and Pete and they didn’t always see eye to eye. Consequently, our content marketing read like a bit of frankenstein with a mix of different personalities and tones. This became reflective in not just our blogs and landing pages but our visual design assets too. 

Our challenge was that we expected our audience to become loyal to our brand when we weren’t entirely sure who our brand was. 

Over the past six months, we’ve been developing our brand story from the ground up. It’s still a work in progress but the foundational aspects are there. We’ve begun rolling out projects like our new website and let me tell you, having a concrete set of brand guidelines makes the approval process and your life a hell of a lot easier. 

Here’s how to get started! 

Understanding Who You Are

Get your content writers and company decision-makers in a room and ask them to write down their answers to the following questions:

  • What does your brand do that nobody else does?
  • What do you want your brand to be known for?
  • Who are you talking to? Age, location, interests, career, favourite movie, etc.
  • If your brand was a person, who would it be? 
  • List five words that describe your brand.
  • List five words that definitely don’t describe your brand.
  • What do you want people to think when they first meet your brand? 

If your answers are all different, you may have BSPD and should seek help immediately. Just kidding, but it is cause for concern. Talk about why your answers are so different. Write out your overarching brand goals and align them with your answers as you go through to keep on track. This exercise is designed to be both aspirational and realistic so don’t force anything that doesn’t feel right. 

Creating a Content Style Guide

One thing all marketers have in common is the frustration that comes with negative feedback on a content piece they worked super hard on. The obvious solution is sending your work with the instructions ‘compliments only please’ but speaking from experience, that doesn’t work. So you might instead resort to taking all of your work from step one and creating a brand style guide. That way, when you or your team are questioning a statement or topic you can refer to the already agreed upon style guide. 

If you’re going to be working with freelancers having a style guide that lays out personality, tonality and grammar with examples will prevent a lot of back and forth. The same goes for staff turnover in your marketing team. Include guides for all content forms like blogs, whitepapers, podcasts, videos, etc. 

Here’s an example of the Vision6 content style guide.  

Learn Your Customers Pain Points

Once you’ve ironed out who you are, what you do and who you’re talking to, you need to know what to talk about. Repurposing your competitors’ blogs is lazy and if your audience didn’t get what they were looking for the first time, why would they want to read a different version of the same thing? 

You don’t have to be original or ground-breaking but you do have to provide value. The easiest way to find out what your customers want to read about is by asking. You can send a survey or put a form on your website asking what their biggest pain points are. Once you have a list of common pain points and you can develop a content marketing strategy that solves them.

For example, one of the pain points for Vision6 customers is keeping up with the ever-changing data and privacy laws. So we made life easy for them and held a webinar explaining exactly what they needed to know and what they needed to do. Our attendance rate for that webinar was three times the attendance for webinars prior. 

You Snooze You Lose, So Make it Fun! 

If your style guide allows for it, have fun with your content. I didn’t like writing reports on the fundamentals of business at uni and I’m sure as hell not going to do it now, let alone read one. Don’t torture your audience. Not every content piece needs to sound like it was written by one person so it’s ok to have personality and make it interesting to read or listen to. If it’s a podcast or webinar, don’t read from a script, it should be natural and conversational. If it’s a written piece try and write like you’re talking to a person. You know, the thing that’s reading it. Unless you write a magazine for goats, then disregard the last point. 

How to Cross-Promote Your Campaign 

Once you have your style guide and a content piece that’s helpful, entertaining and true to your brand, it’s time to share it with the world. I love a good, shameless self-promotion. In fact, I’m going to promote the hell out of this article because I believe you can never over promote. What’s the point in spending all of that time crafting your amazing content if it’s only going to be shared by your mum in the family newsletter? 

Start with a social media campaign either promoting the content or as a remarketing tool for people who engaged with similar content. The aim of the game is to drive traffic to your website. 

Whether it’s a whitepaper, blog or webinar, get the most mileage from it by locking it on your website. Once people give you their email address and download it, send them a nurture campaign with similar value-add content. This is what we call a full-stack marketing campaign.    

Content Marketing Analytics

As a content marketer, numbers make my brain hurt and 2 + 2 = 23 dinosaurs. Let’s just say the struggle is real. But the only way to make your content marketing fruitful (and to progress in your career) and to understand the data and use it for optimisation. 

Google Analytics is really the only thing you need and you can use it to source keywords and track when people are visiting your site, how many of them and for how long. You should be trying to benchmark and increase unique visits, time on page and bounce rate. 

If you’re going with a full-stack campaign, using an attribution tool will help you track the entire journey and allocate value to each touchpoint along the way.

It’s that easy!

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