Creating better content

bBrands must know themselves before they can create content that is meaningful.

Brands must know themselves before they can create content that is meaningful.

Brands must know themselves before they start to publish content.

Rebecca Lieb, Jessica Groopman, and Susan Etlinger of the Altimeter Group published “A Culture of Content,” A Best Practices Report. The report covers in detail how leading brands are creating a corporate ecosystem that encourages content development at every level of the organization. While many of their best practice recommendations were not new, one insight that stood out was that brands must know themselves before they can create content that is meaningful and helps to achieve business goals.

When brands decide to jump on the content bandwagon, they suddenly realize that an online presence can quickly overwhelm the resources dedicated to producing content. That’s why we see so much “me too” content from competing brands.

Brands that effectively deliver meaningful content share these three attributes:

  • They are the best at what they do, whether offering a product or service.
  • Everyone in the organization can articulate what makes their brand different from their competitors.
  • They listen to their customers and make the necessary changes, cultural or procedural, to enhance the brand experience.

In today’s always-on media environment, brands can feel pressured to produce content that doesn’t meet strategic criteria for being published. Leading brands have solved this problem by asking these simple questions:

  • Does this content warrant the resources necessary to produce it?
  • Will this content produce a rate of return equal to or greater than a paid media insertion?
  • Does the content solve a customer’s problem or concern?
  • Will the content support the mosaic of the overall brand story?
  • What is the shelf life of the content?

In the not-too-distant past, great brands — B-to-B and B-to-C — knew their DNA. They knew their history, where their value systems came from, and valued the inherent creativity of their employees. This was evident in their marketing and confirmed by their market share.

Today, these same traits are needed to produce content because now in the omni-channel media environment, content is becoming the face brand across every customer experience.

To download a copy of the Altimeter report, “A Culture of Content” click here.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

What’s your brand’s point-of-view?

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Finding your voice

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Why employees are the best source for inbound marketing content

 

Creating content for inbound marketing is everyone's responsibility

Creating content for inbound marketing is everyone’s responsibility

Having a process and the right skill set to capture content is half the battle.

Speak with almost any CEO of a small to mid-sized brand, and they will tell you that inbound marketing is an important communication component in creating and maintaining brand preference. However, ask them what resources or processes are in place dedicated to inbound marketing content, and the answer will tell you that this is usually more wishful thinking than reality.

Why is this? Small and mid-sized brands are resource-challenged. Their employees have a wealth of knowledge to share but usually there is no process in place to capture content.

Content mining: content that adds value to the brand

Authentic content has a point of view and provides thought leadership or hands-on practical information.

Every department in the company has something to share. It is vital that content development is viewed as everyone’s responsibility, not just the function of the marketing or PR department.

When the CEO leads the way, resources are sure to follow.

Many times the most authoritative content originates from the CEO. The CEO provides leadership and the high altitude point-of-view about the brand, such as:

  • Its current direction
  • Challenges to be faced
  • Opportunities on the horizon
  • Industry disruption from new technologies
  • How the brand can contribute to the betterment of the industry

Creating content is everyone’s responsibility

The engineering staff also contributes to developing content. This group has a unique perspective on innovation, new technologies, and production processes that contribute to solving customer problems.

The production department contributes by providing content on best practices, achieving optimal product performance, or tips on prolonging product life cycle.

Customer Service also contributes; they are the first to field customer concerns, complaints, and frequently asked questions. This group can be the conduit between engineering and production in identifying product flaws, delivery shortcomings, and inefficient interaction between departments.

Marketing’s job is to determine the most efficient process to capture the content and optimize it for different uses. Usually an employee is identified as an expert in their field and is asked to create a rough draft on a particular topic. From there, working in collaboration with either an internal or external journalistic resource, the content is edited and polished so it is suitable for publication and optimized for web use.

In addition, once the content is formalized, it becomes part of an e-library. This e-library can serve as a quick reference to customer requests.

Inbound marketing requires a commitment of time and resources to be successful. The pay-off is a stream of authoritative content that can be used across social media platforms, publications and customer service that supports brand leadership.

Additional articles you may find of interest on this topic:

Social media content strategy?

How inbound marketing can help drive lead generation

Inbound marketing essentials?

Please leave your comments or thoughts below.

Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

Aviation Marketing: How to write effective online copy

Blog_68_Aviation Marketing: How to write effective online copy

Command of the content and clarity captures the reader’s attention

Kelton Reid, Director of Marketing, at Copyblogger Media’s StudioPress division posted a style guide for writing online copy. Below is my interpretation for aviation marketers charged with content development.

Great online content achieves the following:

  • Establishes trust in the brand
  • Positions the author as an expert in the market segment
  • Encourages responses and nurtures relationships
  • Gets customers and prospects talking, purchasing, and sharing

 Feed your mind

Interesting online content comes from the author’s passion for the subject and dedication to keeping up with events that shape the industry segment.  There are several online tools that help with organizing content feed.  My current tool of choice is feedly.com. Feedly organizes my newsfeeds into one platform for daily consumption and exploring. It saves time, allows me to track selected journalists and bloggers and provides me with a global perspective on the challenges and issues facing the aviation industry.

Understand your audience

The aviation industry is diverse. One could make the point that all industries are related to aviation in one form or another.  Therefore, decide whom you want to reach, what issue they are the dealing with, and how your content will lighten their load.

Write with clarity

The only reason why a reader will stop to read your content is because you captured their attention with the headline.

Is it useful?

Is it urgent?

Is it unique?

Is it ultra specific?

Use common spelling. Variations on common words and aviation abbreviations can distract your readers and pull them out of the brand story you are telling.

Avoid hyperbole and fancy words. Sending the reader off to the dictionary is a sure way to lose their attention.

Write in a natural way. Speak in the language of your audience that conveys you are a real person. This also helps establish a relationship with the reader.

Work from an outline. Working from an outline helps organize your thoughts and keeps your writing clear, concise, and on track.

Revise and edit. First drafts can always be improved. Give the draft to someone outside of the industry for a cold read. Do they understand what you are saying?

Limit your word counts.  Online posts should be between 350 and 450 words. Anything longer and you will lose the attention of the reader.

Additional articles you may find of interest:

Aviation Marketing: How to start a sustainable blog

You can follow Kelton Reid on twitter

Why content development will drive the future of aviation marketing

Blog_66_the Future of aviation marketing

The empowered buyer makes the purchasing decision long before the sales transaction.

Jason Miller, program manager of social media and content at Marketo, posted an article to copyblogger – “Where Marketing is Going… 2013 and Beyond.” Below is my interpretation of his post on how aviation marketers can take advantage of automated marketing platforms to develop content that produces measurable ROI.

Analytics and automation combine to make better marketing decisions

Early tactics used for lead generation

Business-to-business marketing has always had to serve two masters – marketing and sales. On the marketing side was tasked with building the brand, the sales side with lead generation.  Reader reply cards, postcards, direct mailers, fish bowls filled with business cards at trade shows, any and all tactics available were used to get a sales lead. All this was implemented with absolutely no way to qualify the intent of the purchaser or their location within the sales funnel.

Everyone that replied received a phone call and were subsequently segmented as either worthless or worthwhile.

Email – the beginning of automation

As the evolution of marketing unfolded and computing power came down in price, databases became the Holy Grail of marketing automation. The recipients on the databases were bombarded with a constant stream of email offers.   Email marketing was fine tuned from multiple subject lines and offers to time of day to send, but again this tactic provided little to score the lead in terms of interest.

The maturing of marketing automation

Early platforms that integrated lead generation and lead scoring while automating the tedious task of lead management were big, clunky, and had lots of moving parts. However, they were better that anything else on the market and thus were adopted.  They consisted of the ability to generate emails, create specific landing pages, provide rear-looking marketing data, score and nurture leads.

Enter the empowered buyer

Along the way, the buyers got a lot smarter too! Instead of the seller controlling the flow of content, i.e., the one-to-many communication model, the rise of social media platforms brought together groups of like-minded people sharing information on the same topic. Content sharing and peer review effectively changed the shape of the sales funnel and introduced a new set of influencers.

Content sharing brought about People-to-People (P2P) Marketing.  P2P marketing involves taking a leadership role in developing and nurturing relationships through content with influencers and purchasers.

People-to-People marketing answers questions, presents features and benefits, and makes an emotional connection between the purchaser and the brand. Along with the rise of P2P marketing, we are also seeing the influence of content creators, storytellers that bring the content to life and connect with the purchaser at the emotional level.

It is important for marketers in the aviation industry to remember that automated marketing platforms can be a great tool for measuring the effectiveness of the marketing program, but their success will rely on how well their content developers tell the brand story.

To read Jason Miller’s original article, “Where Marketing is Going… 2013 and Beyond,” click here