Minneapolis’ 2018 Digital Summit covered content marketing case studies, channel-specific best practices, and big picture perspectives. Here are our top five insights for elevating your content marketing program.
1. Want to weigh in on a cause as a brand, but avoid appearing inauthentic? You can!
Big Picture | Advice from Airbnb’s Liza Dunning
Brands often have the strength of voice and the experience to share a powerful perspective on a cause. But poor planning or a promotional tone can provoke backlash or raise cries of inauthenticity and insensitivity. Airbnb successfully began and built a movement of support when they started a campaign of inclusivity in response to 2017’s wave of anti-immigration sentiment. Liza shared tips for how brands can successfully create what she termed “community driven content.”
- Identify the tension facing your audience--what drives them or stands in their way.
- Research what conversations are already occurring around that topic.
- Create a unique message, coming from your brand, that addresses this tension. The message should be ownable but not branded. Your product or service should never be the solution to the tension.
- Share user generated content to amplify others talking about your message. This helps position your brand as a pillar of support, rather than the focal point, and also encourages more sharing—who doesn’t appreciate a Like or Retweet from a well-liked brand?
Need another example? Look at Nike’s recent move to feature Colin Kaepernick in a fall ad campaign. The brand aligned itself with a social stance supported by its target customer, and the result was powerful, with positive responses to the controversial choice (and the free publicity) far outweighing negative reactions.
2. Facebook video–it’s not just hype. You need it.
Tactical | Advice from GoDaddy’s Heather Dopson
Facebook’s algorithm looks for active engagement with content (think: commenting, sharing, reacting) and video consistently earns more of these interactions than other types of content. Video’s other strength is its bandwidth to elicit emotion, which trends to drive action more effectively than an appeal to reason.
- Experiment with Facebook Live Video for content marketing so your audience can share experiences real time. Worry less about looking polished and more about capturing a story that resonates with your audience.
- Focus on sharing human stories, not brand stories.
- Review your Facebook analytics so you know when your audience is active on the platform. You want to post at the time they’re likely to see it.
- For those seeking to implement a larger or long-term video project, a marketing agency can help manage your live video resources most efficiently and ensure that your initiatives are successful.
3. What company execs want from thought leadership content: new answers to old problems.
Big Picture | Advice from The Economist’s Heather Taylor
Capturing the C-Suite’s attention is often the holy grail for B2B content marketers. As a result, executives are overwhelmed by digital content choices. At the same time, they want and actively seek out reliable information to help them and their stakeholders succeed. Offer a fresh, well-researched perspective with your content marketing and you’re more likely to earn their time and attention.
- Identify the problems executives in your target industry face. What information will help them run their company better?
- Get outside experts involved—commentary from customers, media partners, and employees can bolster and add credibility your message.
- Based on the topic you’re covering, look at producing different content types. Think beyond white papers or Q&A and consider surveys, an industry report, or interactive content.
- At the same time, executives want to read. Incorporate, but don’t rely only on audio and video to convey your perspective.
4. Transactional emails are powerful customer touchpoints. When was the last time you reviewed yours?
Big Picture | Insights from IBM’s Loren McDonald
Transactional messages typically receive email open rates that are 2X higher than other types of emails. Because they are delivered immediately after the customer has completed an action, the user is primed to expect a follow-up email. These emails offer valuable real estate for getting in front of an engaged audience. But too often, the transactional email is auto-generated and left to run unchecked.
Marketing teams should understand all messaging throughout the customer's journey. Transactional emails can harness the momentum of the action taken by the customer to invite additional engagement. Include these emails in your customer nurturing process and look for opportunities and functionality for sharing more relevant, actionable content that inspires users to engage.
5. Your landing page has two jobs: keep the promise made by the CTA that drove the visitor to it, and make it easy for the user to know what they’re supposed to do. Make sure it does these both well.
Tactical | Advice from Brian Massey of Conversion Sciences
When a user arrives on a landing page, they’ve reached a high stakes decision point. Two key factors affect their decision: to convert, or leave the page. The first addresses the reason they arrived in the first place--the social post, email message, display ad, etc. promised something that was attractive to the user. And second, the page itself needs to clearly display a path–and incentive–for the user to further their relationship and convert.
- Landing page copy and design should echo the promotional piece that prompted the user’s click. Use consistent language or imagery so the user recognizes they clicked to the right place.
- If the promotional piece promised a specific offer or piece of information, it should be up front and easy to find on the landing page.
- Offer a clear, specific Call to Action. Don’t make the reader guess what they’re supposed to do.
- That said, you do want to use space to build the offer. Help the reader understand why they should take action.
- Go the extra mile and set up a usability test to understand how users navigate through the experience. Usabilityhub.com has free and tiered subscriptions.
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