A textbook mistake marketing departments make is disembodying their content strategy from their email marketing strategy. At the drafting table, most marketers design a content plan that is focused on types of content and then look to outlets to disseminate that information. Along with social media and websites, email is seen as another content marketing channel. Instead, email should be looked at like a hybrid between a marketing channel and it’s own content platform. While not all content cuts and pastes neatly into an email campaign, email marketing design can still accommodate content needs. In fact, it can not only present the info to a pool of subscribers, but it can also evolve and adapt the content to be reframed. Repetition There are a couple of reasons it’s advantageous to reframe content when considering how content can be designed to fit email marketing. First, there’s repetition. A commonly known marketing fact is that a viewer needs to be presented with the same information at least 5-7 times before being persuaded or influenced to make a decision. The same is true if you’re trying to inform or educate. Repeat exposure helps drill in the information you’re trying to get your audience to internalize and express it back in their own opinion. A McKinsey report on the customer journey showed that repeat exposure gets your audience through key gateways before they can convert to a loyal customer or audience member: Awareness Familiarity Consideration Purchase Loyalty Framing Framing is about how you position your message. What you can say in one format might not be how you want to (or can) say it in another way especially when you have to repeat exposure to a product or idea. Take for example a feature article you might write: 800 words are great for an in-depth publication but it’s too long for a blog post about that article. You can chop it down to 300 words for a summary in a blog post, but that’s probably still too much for an email campaign, especially if that campaign is designed to drive traffic to the original article. So while you’re reframing your original feature for email, you also need to consider how the audience best approaches the issue in a pool of email subscribers. This is where segmenting works really well, but you want to pair segmentation with smart email marketing design. Instead of just segmenting batches of email campaigns by demographics, age, or gender, why not try something far more intimately and scientifically tested -- like a Meta Program? According to Forbes contributing writer Christine Comaford’s article “How to Influence Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere,” Meta Programs increase conversion by 50% through looking at codes: Meta Programs operate on a range: we don’t usually fall all the way to one side or the other as an absolute. They are also contextual, meaning that you may have one set of meta programs in the context of work, another set when it comes to money, and yet another for romantic love. Though we generally have an overall set for how we approach life. Going back to segmenting, you’re going to design your email marketing based on another scientific principle, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), that looks at how people perform. ABA was something we discussed in an earlier blog post, and if you’ve been working on understanding your audience through motivators, you should have begun forming a model that helps you understand what motivates them and how they make a decision. Using that data, you can then apply meta programs to push content so that it drives behavior. The ultimate purpose of content is not to inform, but to persuade.
As a veteran content strategist, it’s always refreshing to come across new content inspiration that can get you thinking differently about content. When shuffling through The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I was surprised to find my newest source of content inspiration: tidying up. While I love things to be organized, I really take zero joy in domestic spring cleaning. I see it as a necessary annual burden that has to be suffered through. Reading through the pages on tidying up your closet, I immediately started thinking of content. When it comes to clothing, the book pitches a principle that serves as sort of a bottom line litmus test for every piece of clothing. The idea is that your clothing should inspire joy. Most of my clothing would fail that test. Clothing is just clothing to me. Content, now that’s a different ball game. When looking at my content game, I’m thinking, “Which of these pieces inspired joy.” Which piece, even after years of it sitting around after I was first excited about it, still inspires joy. So while obviously you might not delete old content like you would discard an item of clothing, the pieces of content that gave you joy are points on a map that guide you to what you’re really passionate about. Is there a running theme in what speaks to you the most? What did the process for putting that piece together look like? What made it so enjoyable and how would you love to revisit that? You might find that the act of collaborating sparked the most joy. Or perhaps you prefer creative or more technical pieces. Just like with clothing, it’s up to the individual, but either way you should start seeing a pattern in where you’re finding joy On the other hand, as you’re going through content, you could very well delete old content. There’s a very good reason why you might want to do that. As your content game has grown, you’ll find that your voice has changed along with your caliber as a writer or a content team. Some pieces just might not fit anymore. So you can either discard them and move on with the content that does appeal to you and reflect who are you as a brand. A third option is updating pieces. You may hate a jacket but might love to see that jacket turned into a vest; so you alter it. Same goes for your content. You might have been on the right track with a piece of content, but the work you put into it isn’t up to par with who are now. Instead of just deleting it, you could edit it. If you do take that route, be sure to indicate that the item has been edited. I would say that you’ve already put so much time and effort into a piece and at some point that mattered to you – and it will still matter to someone else. Rather than just deleting it, just breath some new life into it so that it’s still reflective of you and your brand, and still repurposed enough for someone else to benefit from it. With the average content piece taking about 4-6 hours, it would be a shame to just throw it away as if it didn’t have any more value.
Even the best of us make mistakes. Unfortunately, making mistakes with content marketing can be costly for your efforts. This is even true when you’re working with great content. Believe it or not, but there are several high quality articles, blog posts and videos sitting idle online. There is even more material that never stood a chance of going anywhere. When it comes to content marketing, knowing what to avoid is just as important as knowing what steps to take on the road to success. No Game Plan Creating great content can be exhausting. So much so that when the creation part is done, you may find yourself eager to move on to the next project and be done with it. Marketers from all walks of life fall into this trap, but it is probably one of the worst things you can do. Before creating your content, you must have a comprehensive strategy to accompany it, one that sees it making the biggest impact possible. Publishing your finished content is one thing. Nurturing and maximizing its potential is something entirely different. Failing to Take Full Advantage Are you doing everything you can to make a splash with your content? If you even have to think about it, the answer is probably no. You must commit yourself to the actual marketing if you want to get the most out of your content marketing efforts. This doesn’t mean you have to jump on every bandwagon that has come along, but doing things such as submitting your work to social bookmarking sites, sharing on social networks and including it in your email campaigns can go a long way in increasing its mileage. Targeting the Masses Maybe you are trying to reach hundreds of people with your message. Perhaps your message is aimed at thousands. No matter the size of the audience, you will fail at content marketing time and again if you are targeting the masses, rather than a specific segment. Hamilton Jewelers isn’t wasting time marketing its luxury jewelry pieces to everyone. Its efforts are focused on a well-to-do audience that is more likely to take those pieces off the shelves. This is the same targeting approach you should take with your content marketing strategy. Being Too Aggressive Treating content marketing as another sales tool is a big mistake several marketers are making. Sure, generating conversions and driving sales may be a part of the ultimate goal, but if you go into the situation thinking these are the only things that matter, you’ll probably end up with more fruitless bounces than you do conversions. Content marketing is more about being useful and helping the person consuming it than it is about selling. It is this type of value that will convince them to come back. Simply realizing this is half the battle. Giving up Too Early Content marketing can be tough, and success is not something that occurs overnight. It could be months or even years before you accomplish your goals and start seeing the kind of results you’re after. Expecting instant gratification, too many marketers get discouraged and throw in the towel when the good results don’t come right away. Just look at all the abandoned blogs, Facebook pages and LinkedIn profiles collecting dust on the web. Stick with the program, be willing to put in the work and you will find that a solid content marketing strategy can work wonders. Getting the most from your content may not be easy, but it can be accomplished with the due diligence. Know of some good content marketing points we missed? Feel free to share them in the comments.
Market research and analysis these days is mostly conducted off the web. The internet is more efficient, more cost effective and more readily updated. Whether you’re a novice or a pro in internet research data and analysis, chances are you’re going to suffer from information overload in different ways. Beginners struggle with too much data; they don’t know where to start and how to filter “junk” info from relevant data. Pros struggle with too much worthwhile data, which leads to new problems with organizing, prioritizing and accessing that data. Free to use, Pearltrees comes along and offers a solution for just these problems. Though it was perhaps not designed for marketing research and analysis, it is perhaps a perfect tool that might as well have been designed for just that. It lets you share just about anything you find on the web, organize it in place, access it from anywhere, use a simple interface for quick access and use the already sourced data from more than 200K Pearltrees users. The platform also makes it easy to collaborate on team projects, especially market research projects. Because Pearltrees is designed for the individual user to first set up his own network and data structure, and then for multiple users to share that data together, it becomes a great tool to share information and bounce ideas off each other. For example, user “Vasilis” has a tree called “Marketing Research Companies,” and each “pearl” on the tree is a part of the overall subject. (Note: make sure you opt out of the iPad app download to be directed to the page). Whether Vasilis is on your team, in your company or not, he’s already done a lot of the work. You can save time by using the information he’s already sourced, build on it and share it with others. Imagine if your tree was networked with more “pearls,” you could guide other team members to it and allow them to access your data. Curated.by works differently but has the same benefit to the research-oriented user. The site lets you “collect and organize topics based on content (including media, links, tweets) into bundles.” Each bundled is defined by a keyword, like \"marketing\" or \"social media.\" The site is as personalized (work alone or with a team) and as broad (either way, see what other people are sourcing) as you’d like it to be. A standard curated.by user homepage gives you a good idea of how the website functions. You can source topics by either searching for bundles, see a newsfeed of what like-minded people are stumbling across, and you can browse through popular topics based on your interests. Some people are saying Curated.by is a lot like Delicious, but Delicious is a sunken ship, albeit one of the pioneers of content curating. Still, it wasn’t adaptive nor did it evolve in the way that curated.by has to offer its growing user group a way to engage with both content and users. Content curation is the new trend in web and information analysis, and especially content marketing. Just like any other platform, its use can be tailored intelligently to meet your marketing needs. And just like any other good idea that pops up in the digital sphere, you can be sure that plenty of copycats pop up in its trail – some good, some useless. Our journey in exploring content curation and its possible applications for your marketing goals is just about midway through. Stay tuned in the weeks ahead for a spotlight on the brightest stars in content curation and how you can use them to give your business a competitive edge in the upcoming new year.