Questions on Content

By Pam Didner  |  September 13, 2013

Content Questions Image

As VP/Global Integrated Marketing Strategist for Intel Corporation, Pam Didner is a ubiquitous player of renown in the digital space. She agreed to respond to a “Content Kings” Q&A conducted by MSPC president Gary Johnson.

Pam, as expected, provided a highly interactive landscape from which to answer questions, ranging from storytelling and creative packaging to the paradigm shift in consumer purchase journeys. We’re sure you’ll enjoy her seasoned and expert perspectives.

If as Joe Pulizzi suggests, “stories sell” is accurate, what skill-sets and individuals are best qualified to compose and execute those stories?

I’d add two words: “well-told stories sell.” I used to say well-written stories sell, as my focus was mainly on print. With the rise of the Internet and social media, we’ve boldly gone where no previous generations have gone before. Now we tell stories through various formats such as infographics, videos, photos and audios. Not all stories sell, but well-told stories do.

“Two skill-sets I believe are incredibly important for future marketers are the ability to write well and the capacity to imagine.”

When adapting a novel for the screen, it is necessary to change the presentation to accommodate the specific media. The same is true when it comes to delivering a message or telling a story with social media. Today’s content providers need to write in a way that resonates with their target audience. But in the end, it comes down to the ability to bring your stories to life using various formats such as text, video, photos, infographics and PowerPoint presentations.

Secondly, it’s the ability to connect the dots between your imagination and technology, while delivering business results. I love this 2012 innovative campaign, Hijack, launched by Meat Pack, the trendy shoe store in Guatemala. Hijack snatched the 2012 Cannes Lions winner of bronze and silver in the Mobile category.

Instead of emailing coupons or sending QR code, they creatively enhanced their mobile app and hijacked their fans away from competitors’ stores by offering discounts in real-time. This innovative idea uses pervasive technology to reach their customers. At the same time, it delivers revenue and creates stories for their fans to talk about.

The customer purchase journey has gone from a funnel to a loop. Does this change the number of touch points and content opportunities there are along the journey leading to a potential purchase?

Customers certainly have more channels to get information about your products and services than ever before. For your message to stick, your content or products need to be viewed an average of six times or more. In addition to consulting with friends and family, they also listen to experts and even strangers. The marketing channels are so fragmented that marketers often feel overwhelmed.

Even though your customer may be everywhere (online or offline), it doesn’t mean that you also have to be everywhere. This is especially true for small and medium businesses, which have little or no marketing budget. Focus on the one or two channels with the biggest ROI.  For some, it can be your own website. Make sure it’s easy for your customers to find information on your website. For some, it can be Twitter or Facebook. For some, it can be billboards, print or local TV commercials.

“Understanding your customers’ journey is important. It’s even more important to identify the channels that drive your business.”

Name three content wins you’ve seen that are instructive for content marketers.

REI and Patagonia come to my mind right away. Both companies prefer long-form content.” 

REI’s employees are also their brand ambassadors. Employees create videos and write their opinions about product comparisons based on their personal usage. REI’s former “Learn” and “Share” sites had lots of useful product information in multiple content formats. If you click on any product on Patagonia, the product information is thorough. You can see detailed materials’ specs, even including the country the item was manufactured in.

Recently, I discovered Makers. I love that the videos are presented with the name of the woman they feature and a short copy about who she is.

“Instead of watching a speaker for four to five minutes, content creators inject photos and text into a speech to make the content stick.” 

These photos and texts enrich the storytelling and build emotional connections by giving viewers more context. The mixture of text and photos is nothing new and is easy to do post-production. They add so much color to a video. Well-done!

See examples from REI and Patagonia.

Read next: Content Marketing vs. Advertising: What’s the Difference, Again?

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