We eat, sleep and breathe content (honestly, we do), and recently we decided it was high time to draw on our collective (and individual) experience of producing content of all shapes and sizes, and discuss what we feel are the key ingredients required to cook up a sizzling content marketing strategy. Copious amounts of tea, coffee and the odd cupcake later, the Burning Red Content Marketing Commandments were born.
We created the commandments primarily for our own benefit to serve as a reminder when developing both our own and our clients content strategies. However, as content marketing strategy ‘how to guides’ have been done to absolute death (seriously, try Googling it), we also thought it may be useful to share the commandments with you to show you our effective tried and tested approach. Don’t expect them to cover every inch of content marketing, but do find them to be a collection of killer tips that we swear by.
Be you (or your brand)
If you take a look at the type of content which is most widely shared, it tends to be that which provokes audiences to laugh, cry, or cringe (or the holy grail of all three if you absolutely nail it). In other words, some kind of emotional reaction.
Who nails it? Dollar Shave Club
We love this clever and humorous video ad by Dollar Shave Club. Razors aren’t exactly the most exciting of products, but this ad proves that thinking outside the box and adding a sprinkle of entertainment value and creativity to your content marketing strategy can bring just about any product to life and make audiences sit up and take notice. Need convincing? Just ask one of the 18 million people who have viewed Dollar Shave Club’s video on YouTube. Or you could always try one of the 1.6 million people who have shared it on Facebook…
Bottom Line: if it creates an emotional connection, it is more likely to be shared, increasing the reach and success of your content strategy. Boom.
NB. We appreciate that in certain circumstances it may not always be appropriate to use humour, but if you can get away with it (or if you can at least add a little more creativity if humour is not appropriate), it is a tried and tested approach that can really help your content’s ‘shareability’ factor that shouldn’t be ignored. Who knows, it could even go viral à la Dollar Shave Club.
The power of providing useful information should not be ignored. What does your audience care about? How can you help them? And crucially, what information might they find useful that is currently hard to find? While it can often be tempting to treat most content like a sales pitch, a better way is to produce something relevant, helpful and educational to secure interest.
Who nails it? Recruit Packs
Recruit Packs is a great example of a brand always looking to produce insightful and targeted content to directly appeal to their specific audience. Their blog has been split via the different areas of the armed forces, which instantly directs users to where they can find the information most relevant to their needs.
Drilling down into each blog, there is a wealth of useful content aimed at their target audience – including training tips, equipment reviews, interviews, and shared facts and questions.
By not trying to be all things to all people and using their expertise to create fantastic content to appeal to their target audience, Recruit Packs have become a well known and trusted brand in their respective field.
Bottom line: Producing useful, relevant, and informative content will spark interest and increase the trust and reputation of your brand.
Displaying honesty in your content marketing strategy is a powerful tool. It signals confidence, builds trust in your brand, targets your desired audience (by not pretending to be all things to all people), and creates transparency – all of which increases the likelihood of a consumer making the crucial decision to trust you with their hard earned cash.
One of our favoured methods of displaying honesty is by creating an effective ‘About Page’ to provide a little history / context to an organisation, and introduce key team members to both humanise the brand and demonstrate experience.
Who nails it? Moz
We think Moz’s ‘About Us’ page is really awesome. It has a clear introduction to what the organisation is all about:
A cool timeline to display their history:
Plus clickable individual staff pages where you can find out more about each member of the team:
Bottom line: honesty is always the best policy. End of.
To ensure consistency of your content output, we believe that you won’t find anything much more effective than a good old content editorial calendar. We are big fans, as not only do they become our content marketing ‘plan of attack’, they are also brilliant at helping us to actually see our content output. Visually mapping out a month helps us to schedule content more effectively, and reveals a useful overview of what, where, when, why and who is required to ensure a steady content output. It really can be as simple as this:
Bottom line: ensuring a steady stream of content in your content marketing strategy output will ensure you capture your audience’s attention and help cement your place as a leader in your respective field.
It is vital that your content is a direct reflection of you and / or your brand. While many of the main reasons for this have already been discussed in the “Be honest” commandment, it is so important, we had to grant it fully fledged commandment status.
Think about your favorite restaurants, retailers and businesses. Most likely, they have a distinct personality and a character that you connect with. In fact, most of the biggest online brands are arguably known for their personality and style as much as their products.
Who nails it? Innocent Drinks
Innocent drinks have successfully created an incredibly strong brand personality, and we love how witty, creative and honest they are.
From adding a touch of cheeky personality to bringing a boring disclaimer to life – “If you don’t think our orange juice tastes as fresh as can be, we’ll come round to your house and squeeze some for you. Just send us your front door key.” …
And their frank and fun ‘about page’…
To their strong social responsibilities…
and creative marketing techniques….
Innocent have pretty much nailed the “Be you” commandment. They have also previously been named the top-rated social brand by Brandwatch due to their creative and shareable content – which isn’t too shabby at all.
Bottom line: you wouldn’t design a website which didn’t include your company’s logo or colour scheme, so you shouldn’t write content that doesn’t incorporate the correct voice and tone.
Keep your eyes peeled for our content special issue of HotSauce coming next week.
What do you think of our content marketing strategy commandments? Do you have anything to add or have any examples of awesome content strategies that you could share with us? What are your personal commandments? Please don’t be shy and let us know.
To get your own content marketing strategy cooking, please get in touch.