Top 5 content marketing tips

26th July 2015

Did you know that 62% of 18-32 year olds prefer to check their smartphone if they have a spare moment rather than just sit and think? And 37% even check their phone if there’s a short gap in conversation?* These habitual moments of checking digital devices give marketing professionals a new chance to reach their target audiences. But with 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every 60 seconds, and attention spans dropping to 8 seconds (that’s even less than a goldfish) how can you maximise these new opportunities?

One of the most effective ways to cut through is to produce or commission content that creates a feeling in your audience. Can you honestly say you are creating memorable, funny, exciting, shareable content?

Here are 5 content marketing tips to help you deliver better content on the move, so your target audience will give your brand the attention it deserves.

1. On target

It may seem counter-intuitive but if you aim to do less, you will gain more. The more focused and SMART the objectives of your campaign, the easier it will be to achieve them.

We’re often approached by teams who want to cram in a number of objectives for one piece of content. Although there can be ways to handle this, we always counsel that less is more. As viewers are becoming less patient and the demand on their time is greater, it is better to have a film that entirely engrosses your target audience, rather than creates a mild interest in a wide group who won’t finish watching it.

Ask yourself, what does hitting the target mean for your campaign? Are you looking to raise brand awareness or put across specific messages to prospects?

2. Get to know your audience

Your content needs to resonate with your audience, but do you know what they’re actually like? To reach your audience, you need to know who they are and where they spend their time.  They’re mobile with its share of global web traffic leaping to 39% this year and with one third of all web pages now served to mobile. Audiences are split across many screens known as omniscreening and they’re also getting social across a growing number of platforms. Are they on Facebook, Twitter and/or Snapchat? Which blogs do they turn to for advice or are they tuning into vlogs? Do they still watch TV? When are they online?

Next ask what kind of content they would like? Videos, blogs, vlogs, white papers, online magazines, emails, Vines, websites are all suitable for different segments. Use social media channels to get to know your audience better and set up conversations about their likes and dislikes.

3. How to combine logic and emotion

In order to connect with potential customers, brands need to engage on an emotional level. Let me explain with a case study from Astrium (now Airbus Defence and Space) who challenged us to make them stand apart from the crowd. They create ultra high resolution images from satellites, but although the tech was super cool, the brand just wasn’t making headway in the market. Marketing collateral typically featured stats about optics and pictures of satellites, and competitors all did similar things making differentiation difficult to achieve.

We put forward a brave concept and were able to take this brand on a journey that would see them cut through the marketplace with something totally new … emotion. We looked hard at what they did and realised that it’s not the information that people want to buy, it’s what they do with it. Once data is in the users’ hands they look at climate change, study power supply, improve crops and a whole range of other world changing things. We took that idea and created this brand film.

What can you learn from this? The key is to pinpoint the motivator for your target audience. It could be an improved chance of promotion or the admiration of friends. Then create content which connects with that motivator.

It’s the emotional response which is key to engagement in compelling content. But in order to sell you are inevitably going to have to deal with facts (and these could be quite dull). It’s the delicate balance of exciting emotion and facts that, not only creates content which people want to watch, but also delivers your message. At Hurricane we refer to this structure as Emotion, Facts, Emotion (EFE). (Check out Bryony Thomas’ discussion of emotion and logic in Watertight Marketing and my latest white paper for more information).

4. The right content at the right time

The content also has to connect with the audience at the right time in the sales funnel. We think of this as a content pyramid. At the top is an emotion-led brand film which has as high production values as you can afford and has a wide audience. Next there is a bigger layer of more detailed, but cheaper content that has a smaller division of audience. Finally, there should be a good breadth of content that humanises the brand such as video diaries, behind the scenes or testimonials.

How do you start working out which content you need when? Run a simple content mapping exercise; think about all your audience segments and create targeted content for all stages of the sales funnel from awareness to decision-making.

5. Video seeding

Awesome content is a great start to achieving your goals, but it’s not enough. An effective video seeding campaign is needed to ensure that your video reaches as many of your target market as possible and meets your focused objectives.

There are a number of techniques that can be utilised to amplify a marketing campaign via owned, earned and paid media, as well as blogger outreach. Ensure you track key metrics in order to improve future campaigns and prove the worth of your marketing to the boardroom.

Want to become an even better content marketer?

content marketing white paper cover

My new marketing white paper offers an another five tips to help you improve your content marketing. Learn more about how to think like a publisher, find ways to maximise the power of user generated content, nail the perfect video length and more. Get your copy now.

*(Dr Simon Hampton, Psychology lecturer at the University of East Anglia)

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