Hallelujah! It’s Friday, which not only means that the weekend is upon us, it also means that it’s Friday Fix Day! Woohoo! Well, that warm weather we shunned at Christmas is now nice and wintery (but now I miss the warm weather; this realization has led me to conclude that the weather is like a husband on a ‘90s TGIF sitcom; there’s no way he’s going to get it right no matter how hard he tries to give me exactly what I asked for verbatim). My dysfunctional relationship with the weather aside, we’ve got a fully functional Friday Fix lined up for this lovely January day. First, we look at how you can have your best content marketing year ever (no, really), ways to launch your content marketing into hyper drive (and get it with the times), storytelling strategies, why you need visuals for engagement, and more! So, snuggle up to your space heater warm up with the Friday Fix!
Best year ever? Yes, please, Quinn Whissen. Early on, Quinn quotes Vertical Measures’ Arnie Kuenn in saying that 2016 is the year content marketing will (finally) “hit the mainstream”, and I agree. Recently, I’ve observed friends with businesses “liking” more content marketers pages in my area, and a friend whose (well-established) career was in journalism just transitioned to content marketing. So, if 2016 is the year of content marketing, how do you ride the wave? For starters, you need strong SEO and visual content. Speaking of content, trying out episodic content is another of Quinn’s guidelines for your best content marketing year yet.
To me, Mark Schaefer’s headline reads, “Extra! Extra! Content marketing behind the times!” And then I toss the paperboy a nickel to grab a copy because I thought content marketing was leading the times. As it turns out, I was wrong. Mark reveals what he learned at a conference on the future of technology and journalism at Columbia University, and as it turns out, content marketing is getting left in the dust by journalism. A few nuggets from the conference and Mark’s article include the need to “think like a fashion designer” and to embrace new platforms “with urgency” and to embrace “at-a-glance” storytelling (similar to episodic storytelling in some ways) among other things.
This season of Modern Family had an episode where Claire pitched “creative” closet design ideas even though she was a “suit”. It didn’t go particularly well (okay, it ended with her covered in pigeons, which thankfully isn’t the norm when we try to differentiate), but Pam Neely’s article reminded me of that because most traditional marketers and content marketers probably never envisioned that telling stories would be among the most important paths to their audience (at least not the way Pam breaks it down). Thankfully, while, yes, some are more natural storytellers than others, the art of telling great stories can be learned.
Unless you’ve been hiding in a nuclear fallout shelter for the past 30 years (this could happen…I saw it in a Brendan Fraiser movie once, so it must be true), then you know the prevalence of YouTube as well as the importance of going visual (specifically video-visual) with your content marketing. Everyone knows this, you say; it’s evidenced by the zillions of YouTube videos that are out there. True. Well, if you want to standout, take Erin Sagin’s advice with these five tips for creating more memorable YouTube video ads. Erin suggests looking for ways you can leverage emotion, surprise, nostalgia, and other memorable qualities in your video.
Continuing with the rhetoric on the super powers of images, Jim Yu picks up the reigns to reveal this incomprehensible fun-fact: within the first 50 milliseconds of arriving on your website, people form their first impression. Slightly easier to wrap your head around is the fact that they’ll make their decision to stay within 10 seconds (I assume that’s how long it takes for us to process those first 50 milliseconds). Not to overload you with facts, but Jim also notes that images can be processed in a mere 13 milliseconds (meanwhile, I’m just trying to process what a millisecond is). So, obviously, images and videos –things that are attention-grabbing are important. Check out Jim’s article for how to leverage them.
In this piece, Judith Aquino interviews Richard Krevolin, a screenwriter and consultant who touts that “the best brand narratives are about customer allies instead of heroes.” At the essence of this idea is that even the best story can “fall flat” in terms of content marketing and branding if audience’s don’t connect to it. This goal is best-accomplished, according to Richard, if you let the brand act as a the customer’s ally that helps them achieve their goals. It’s a simple change in approach but is one that makes a world of difference. See what other insight Richard reveals to Judith in this fascinating interview.
Amit Bapna’s article focuses on the concept of “brand connect” and the even scarier question of whether or not “great filmmaking makes for great brand-building?” In other words, is the focus on engaging content yielding too subtle a brand-message? Bapna gives an example of Indian clothing company Biba that concludes a 2-minute video on societal bias related to arranged marriages with the brand logo (as otherwise, viewers wouldn’t know Biba had any involvement with the video). Throughout the article, Bapna questions the measurable success of this method and discusses shifts in various media and marketing formats (like TV and digital) before concluding that the subtle brand-content journey is a long road if it’s to be successful.
Tyler Williams’ article starts by arching a critical eyebrow at adopting a “one-size fits all” approach to content marketing as well as to other foibles; what he says content marketers must do, instead, is work around what’s called the “customer lifecycle”, which is where the customer is within their relationship to your brand (i.e., are they new, established, on the way out, etc.?). This is important because you’ll want to employ different methods and materials for content marketing to each of these types of customers. Thankfully, Tyler includes a handy dandy infographic to who both a typical B2B customer’s lifecycle as well as the suggested content forms for each stage (phew).
If you read Quinn Whissen’s article, then you know that 2016 is (projected to be) a big year for content marketing, and if you’re like many, you’re just getting on the CM trolley. No worries if you’re just getting on board or just getting the hang of it; Nicole Kersh dives in with three savvy tips on writing smart content: be purposeful, think outside of the box, and embrace humanity. Check out the article for the details on how to execute these things and why Nicole pinpointed them.
It’s easy to have a knee-jerk response to this question especially if you’re operating on a slim budget, but Shaik Mahmood brings up a few relevant points for thought that may compel you to realize that outsourcing content marketing is the way to go. For example, precious time is precious money, and if you lack the existing skills, time, and infrastructure to effectively handle your own content marketing, you could be spending way more trying to DIY than you would to outsource. Additionally, Shaik urges readers to consider that content marketing is “dynamic” and is constantly evolving (which means you have to evolve with it if you want to stay ahead of (or even on) the curve.
Have you ever met someone who’s said, “I don’t really have a story to tell?” Well, I’ve found that it’s usually the most humble with some of the most profound yet simplistic stories that tend to utter this (inaccurate) refrain. If you’re company is like The Storyteller Agency, then you often do work with inspirational organizations and foundations that represent those in need (people or animals). This post looks at some of the relationships and stories Storyteller has cultivated with and through local organizations with whom we passionately work and with whom we intend to continue working in 2016 and beyond.
Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect.
Connect with Amy: LinkedIn