By Eric Bradford
We’ve reached a point of content oversaturation. According to Statistic Brain, approximately 190 million Tweets are made each day, over 1.3 billion people are active on Facebook each month (the vote is still out on what percentage of these users are “real” people) and a whopping 92 billion YouTube views are made each month.
Standing out in the crowd
That’s a lot of text, images, videos and shares. We are neck deep into the data age. Another shift that we are seeing is a greater movement from manufacturing to service oriented business initiatives. The right content marketing strategies could spotlight your company’s services and introduce your products to thousands, millions or billions of consumers.
During the Internet’s early days, you could publish a dozen or more articles or blog posts a week, enhancing this content with press releases and one to two weekly business videos. Today, that could very easily equate to a weak content marketing strategy. Why? It’s the same strategy that thousands of other companies are taking, which is what has brought us to content oversaturation.
So, how do you distinguish your business from the crowd?
Business Insider puts it this way, “Branding, among its many traits, is also about differentiation. That doesn’t mean you should start wearing bow ties, but positioning yourself so that you do stand out.” The American Bar Association tells its student attorneys that, “It’s important to build your own personal brand and your “unique selling proposition.”
Have you ever walked down New York’s jam-packed 7th Avenue on a Friday evening, the time of day when employees are just leaving the office? Pedestrians look like one big mass of people until your gaze catches sight of a woman dressed in a sharply designed brightly colored skirt suit, the silky fabric causing you to wonder if the suit is imported.
Clearly, this isn’t a suit that came off a mainstream store shelf. The fact that the woman is walking with her head erect, confidence boosting her mood, doesn’t hurt. Before long, you’re coaching yourself not to stare at the woman, her suit, her stride, but you stare anyway.
Upgrading your content marketing strategy
Your business content marketing efforts should set your content apart in similar fashion. Pulling this off requires nothing less than the best content. You have to genuinely care about your readers. Instead of focusing on what readers can do for you (i.e. more ad clicks), focus on how you can use content to teach, inspire, guide or encourage readers.
Tips to consider while upgrading your content marketing strategy include subscribing to popular news feeds, digital business periodicals and blogs. This will help you to develop a keen eye for what’s trending in the business world. You could also use mobile apps developed by companies like Electric Web Marketing, FIKSU and Appency.
Marketing app companies should identify your target audience, determine that you are a good fit for the services that they offer and use a multi-platform (i.e. social media, SEO, press releases, public speaking) marketing approach. A multi-platform marketing approach can get your products in front of more members of your target audience. For example, if your products target recent college grads, you could build and offer a free download of a new, unique and exciting app to each person who purchases your new novel.
Include hard-to-find statistics in videos and written content. Consider adding infographics to your content marketing strategy, as infographics help you share loads of valuable data in short spaces. Videos that appeal to human emotion, thought, sound and vision are great. Check out these 10 tools that American Express shares that you could use to create and market videos.
Regardless of the video creation and marketing tool that you use, focus on being unique. A great way to pull this off is to create the videos of yourself, your team, events your attend, etc. Not only will your videos be unique, you’ll own the rights to them. As with any other tool, avoid over-using videos. It might not seem like it now, but in a few years, consumers might tire of having one video after another pushed out to them online or on their smartphone.
Absolutely avoid copying content from other sources. Even if you cite other sources, it’s a good idea to steer clear of rewording or rewriting existing content.
Ask yourself if the content that you develop fascinates, educates, inspires or intrigues you. If it doesn’t, there’s a chance that readers won’t be fascinated or intrigued by the content either. Some experts advise business owners to steer clear of automated content management systems. However, if you combine automated systems with real-time posts, you may be okay. Great posts may qualify for press release attention, especially if the posts include quotes or interview material from industry leaders.
This isn’t often shared, especially in the age of social media, but it’s a damn good idea to build your own content management systems and databases. You could do this by creating a customized newsletter database (one that you own) and direct email database (to send information about coupons and discounts). Why is this important?
Should social media networks close or slow down (think MySpace), you’ll still have the consumer contact data that you own. Be patient. Even if it takes you two years to build 5,000 contacts in your private business database, that’s 5,000 more than 0. Also, encourage shares. The more shares your content gets, the high value search engines place on the content, which equals higher search engine rankings.