Most marketers do it wrong, but here are four top secrets for getting it right.
Every business I know creates content, and for various reasons -- exposure, engagement, authority and sales, to name a few. But very few do it well. So, what are the secrets? For insights, I turned to my friend Jeremy Knauff, CEO of Spartan Media. He’s a digital marketer, entrepreneur and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. Recently, he presented on all things content at the Military Influencer Conference (MIC2019) in Wash., D.C. and broke the process down into four key elements.
Content is vital, Knauff says, in that the more effective exposure you get, the higher your sales. But he adds that while your content needs to be fairly constant, it’s also vital that you get in front of your prospective audience with the kind of information they want. They’ll learn your values and your brand personality, and they’ll learn to trust and rely upon you for the right expertise.
If you hit the right emotional buttons, your content allows people to engage, to trust you and to want to talk with you rather instead of about you. Even polarizing content can serve a purpose if your company sells a product that some people might consider controversial, like workplace drug testing, that can cause big reactions from the people who see it, whether pro or con.
We have a lot of employers who are in favor of testing for safety reasons or are even required to test for regulatory compliance. But others may see the matter as intrusive and a violation of privacy or personal rights. Neither side is likely to have their minds changed. But ideally, your content should compel the right customers toward you while repelling the wrong ones away. Your information may provide all sides with factual education that enables them to think more productively and deeply about the matters that will come into play.
If marijuana is medically prescribed, is it okay for some regions and roles (such as office work), but less advisable for others (like airline pilots or operators of heavy equipment)? What about the workers who cross state lines in the course of their business into arenas where some states consider marijuana illegal and others do not? By providing information that is practical and thoughtful, you may spur insightful dialogue that can garner a deeper level of thought and greater respect from both sides of the aisle.
Whether it’s content you write or the places you appear as an expert source or a quoted advisor, your ability to share value-add perspective and information makes you a known and trusted authority. Share your knowledge freely. It will compel your audience to purchase more from you, not less, and to think of you first when they have a need. Knauff has an equation he cites: Expertise + Social Proof = Authority. What’s social proof? It’s the authority you gain by proxy when you’re associated with something, whether it be a highly ranked publication or citation in the news or the speech you give at an event. Google coalesces these results into a trail that provides you with independent validation (as the press or the conference found you worthy of including) that your expert opinion is sound.
Related: 12 Content-Marketing Trends You Should Be Following
Now, with so many good reasons to produce content, what are the biggest pitfalls that trip most organizations? Here are the top four.
In all, thought leadership publishing continues to be one of the most valuable things your organization can do, but heed these secrets to ensure your own endeavors go well.