It’s early January, 2018. The time of year that ushers in a slew of blogs and articles making predictions about the year to come.
Some of those predictions will turn out to be correct. Many will not. In fact, the only thing that can be accurately predicted is that there will be multiple articles making predictions. And that the only thing they will accomplish is to get clicks and eyeballs.
Because who doesn’t love a good prediction list?
To be fair, many of the prediction articles we’ve seen do make sense. One in particular said that “Quality Content” will become king.
This, of course, is an update of the old adage, “Content is King.” This came into being as technology became more important in people’s lives, and they had more choices than ever for information and entertainment.
In order to capture and retain people’s attention, the logic went, you needed content above all else. Sure, you could have a slick web site and a clever ad. But you needed to have content, and lots of it, if you hoped to compete.
To a certain extent, that’s still true. Content is just as important as ever, but too many marketers have opted for quantity over quality. The more you have, the thinking goes, the better off you are.
This isn’t really the case anymore. You may have noticed that the internet is loaded with content.
Good content is another matter. People are starved for it, and if you can be the one to give it to them, you have a better chance of winning their attention, loyalty, and of course, sales.
So if providing quality content is one of your marketing New Year’s Resolutions (and it should be), here are some tips for doing that.
Meet your customers where they are
People have a lot of options when it comes to media consumption these days. Gone are the days of a few channels on TV and a newspaper at your doorstep every morning.
Today, people consume more media through a phone than any other single device. But to think of a phone as a single communications conduit would be a mistake. On their phones, people watch YouTube videos, spend time on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, read/watch the news and even download full-length movies.
One thing you should take from that is you’re going to have a hard time getting people to start consuming your content on yet another channel. The best thing you can do is invest time in understanding where your customers already aggregate, and meet them there with your content.
A great example of this is Lowe’s, which unveiled a series of mini-stories on Instagram. Knowing they wanted to reach a female audience, they understood that Instagram is a preferred channel of that audience, and provided inspiring, empowering content.
Put your product in context
One of the hallmarks of quality content is that it is not overtly sales- and promotion-oriented. People stopped responding to feature/benefit sales pitches a long time ago, yet many marketers persist in creating it.
Instead, you should understand what your product (or service) really means to people, and the context that surrounds how they use it. Chances are, your product is not at the center of your customers’ lives. Life is.
When you understand what’s important to your customers, and what the correct context of your product is, that helps you produce content and tell stories that will resonate with people better.
One example of this is Sonos, the wireless speaker brand. Under the old approach, they might have touted their technology or slick design. But they know those things are not what’s really important to their customers.
What is important are the little moments that people have while listening to music, and the moods and emotions music can create or change. So in their content, Sonos put people at the center of their stories, and their products in the background.
Don’t forget your most important ambassadors
Many companies are represented by their products. But some are represented by their people. Employees, in many cases, are a marketer’s most important audience, and should be the target and/or the subject of their quality content.
Communicating to and about employees might be some of the most fertile ground for producing quality content. It’s an area that many brands simply haven’t explored.
But it has so much potential. At a basic level, it is an effective means of inspiring, teaching and motivating employees to be the best brand ambassadors they can be. But it can also be used to reach customers, putting a human face on your brand and showing how much you care about them.
Of course, some companies do this well. One, in fact, created content to extol the virtues of future employees. In an ad last year, 84 Lumber compared the qualities of the people they look for to those of astronauts.
We think creating quality content will be one of the most important, if not the most important, things building products marketers can focus on in 2018.
Technology is changing so fast, who knows what or when the next big technological disruption may be. But the thing that has always been constant is content. And quality content is in short supply these days.
Will you be the ones to provide it?