01 Jun IS YOUR CONTENT ENGINE HUMMING?
We often talk about ‘thinking like a publisher’ and how crucial a step that is in getting your content marketing and storytelling efforts underway.
What is ‘Content Marketing’ anyway?
We think this Content Marketing Institute definition is a pretty good one:
The distribution of valuable and compelling content to attract and engage a defined target audience, with the objective of driving a profitable customer response.
Seth Godin, legendary card-carrying member of the Guerrilla Marketing Hall of Fame, the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame and the plain old Marketing Hall of Fame says…
Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.
And sustained storytelling helps you establish relationships with customers and prospects in channels they’re already visiting. Becoming a story-teller, however, isn’t an easy shift for everyone to make. But once you find your inner raconteur and hone your newshound skills, you’ll spot stories everywhere.
Curiously, stories are often staring you right in the face. Like the time we visited a lovely resort, ordered a cocktail with absurd name and tropical island adornments and asked, “Why is the bar called ‘Uncle Harry’s?”
It turns out Harry was the original resort owner’s cross-dressing uncle who would regale guests with memorable tales from the Pacific high seas back in the day. But enough about Uncle Harry for now, we’ll chat more about him in a future blog.
The point is, the resort wasn’t telling this gorgeous story unless asked. And in uber-competitive industries like tourism, having a story is a massive advantage. As we’ve touched on before, we humans are storytelling animals. We’re hardwired for them. It’s how we remember and learn. At their most basic level, stories lead to deeper understanding, trust and connections.
So, with your new-found newshound skills, how does the ‘publishing’ part actually work?
ONE: Set up or revive your website’s blog
Your website should absolutely have a ‘news’ section or a blog. Why?
Because an active blog says “We’re here, we’re active, and we connect with customers and prospects by publishing regular, engaging content for them to consume and share.”
Blogs are generally super-simple to set up and publish to. So, find your stories, write them, enhance them with some images or video, and publish away. If you’re not a confident writer, you can find one or hire one to help you write, edit or proofread as required.
Resource’s stable of freelancers and contractors do this a lot—we know it’s a common issue for businesses.
TWO: Share it!
Your blog is like the centre of a propeller. That propeller needs efficient blades to make it spin and push your business along.
With your stories at the centre, and your blades of distribution—your social platforms, your promotional emails and the like—doing their thing, you’ll broadcast your shareable headlines and links and draw interested readers back to your site to consume the content in full.
And don’t you even think “We’re on Facebook, we don’t have to send email campaigns anymore.” We are massive fans of good quality email. Give us an email address over a Facebook like any day. We’ll touch on email in another blog in the near future.
But it seems like so much work, right?
Doing it right does take some effort, sure, but the advantages are many.
With a sustainable pipeline of stories being added to your website or blog, and broadcast across your social platforms and e-newsletters driving traffic back to your website, you’ll build familiarity, trust, likeability and, with luck, good quality leads.
‘People buy into you before they buy from you’, as we say.
Not only that, search engines love having new pages to index on your website.
Some Tips on Tone
- Be as human as possible with your storytelling. If you wouldn’t talk to a friend that way, don’t put it in your content.
- Being too sales-y is a sure-fire way to give people the irrits.
- Don’t bite of more than you can chew. Pick a few actions and platforms, and focus on them.
- Start slow and scale up if or when you can.