Is your content extensible, sticky, and insourced?
With the advent of content marketing, brands and companies are creating a lot of content in-house and many are getting pretty good at it. This focus on quantity and frequency is important and necessary, but in some cases it can lead to increasingly poor content quality if pressure to put out a specific quantity of content overrides a focus on quality. While many marketing teams have mastered the foundational basics of good content creation (e.g. keyword inclusion, rich media formats, publishing consistency), the three following tips are practical strategies for content marketers looking to significantly improve the quality of their content.
What does “extensible” content mean? Extensible content is content that yields multiple content derivatives. You could say the multiple derivatives are the byproducts of the original content. As an example, the derivative content of a blog post can be a SlideShare deck or even a podcast. At Cadence9, we often repurpose our marketing and training videos into blog posts, slide decks, and infographics. Not only does this improve our ability to publish more quality content, but it allows us to extend the reach of existing content to other audiences in additional formats that the different audiences will find appealing and useful. Next time you’re working on a marketing video, Facebook post, or Power Point deck, identify derivative content opportunities. Make this evaluation process systematic so that, ultimately, your marketing team will identify these opportunities as a regular course of business.
Tip: Videos are the most productive type of content. Videos get the most views and shares of all types of content. To make a video extensible, you can transcribe the dialog into text for blog posts, turn the audio into a pod cast, or even make a slide deck.
Too often the manner and style in which a message is delivered conceals that kernel of insight that makes the content valuable. Delivering content in a way that gives your audience a chance to understand, and most importantly, remember it, is crucial. One of the best strategies to reveal the “kernel” and make the message memorable (sticky) is to make your kernel unexpected by breaking your audience’s “guessing machine.” Figure out what is counter intuitive about your message and surprise the reader with your point of view. Surprises always make a stronger impression and are easier to recall. Hollywood filmmakers and authors have used this tactic for a long time. Think of the movie plots and book narratives that really got your attention. Typically, it’s those with the surprising endings and the “twists” you didn’t anticipate.
Also, messages are made sticky through concrete and clear, simple language. Avoid technical terminology, metaphors, or too many numbers. Unfortunately, many marketers try to appear more credible or knowledgeable by using lots of numbers and facts. Oftentimes, this can backfire and prevent your audience from recalling the content. Remember that your audience is not as familiar with your content as you are and numbers may not be their forte. Which of the following two statements do you think would be easier for you to remember in the future?
- “The content marketing theme park has 130 rides and includes the Terminator, a 125-foot-tall roller coaster that reaches 45 mph.”
- “The content marketing theme park has more rides than Disneyland and includes the Terminator, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world.”
While the numbers in the first example are impressive, they will be much harder to recall when compared to “tallest” and “fastest.”
Tip: Don’t be afraid to tell your audience what is the most important information in your content. “If there is one thing you remember from this article, it is that content with an unexpected presentation or message is the most memorable for your audience”
Are you tired of thinking up your next content idea? Is your company spending time and money on outsourcing content creation to third-party content resources? Stop the madness! Most marketing teams are sitting on top of a treasure trove of untapped quality content. Think about it, each person in your organization is likely a passionate expert about some aspect of your business or product offering. If given a voice, these people represent potential content creators. This requires a paradigm shift for marketers. Most marketers today see themselves as the “content creators” but the true success stories in content marketing come from marketing teams that see themself as content facilitators and are curating content from within their organization with resources already available.
Tip: Be an enabler in your organization and realize everyone is an expert at something. Good content marketers create content, but the great content marketers work to curate content from others, in addition to producing content that originates from their own perspective.