Charles Darwin was born 205 years ago on February 12, 1809.
At the heart of Darwin’s theory was the idea that each species adapts to its environment. From this process of change, new species arise. This has implications for content marketers seeking to spread their message; let’s call it content marketing evolution.
During his journey aboard HMS Beagle, Darwin noticed that each island of the Galapagos had its own type of finch. While these birds were closely related, they differed in important ways. The same holds true when you distribute your message across different platforms.
Darwin theorized that the organisms, both animals and plants, best suited to their environment had a greater chance of surviving and reproducing. They passed along the characteristics that helped them survive to their offspring.
Similarly, marketers use content marketing to distribute their brand message via different channels. In each channel, it competes to get noticed and acted upon in an attention-scarce environment. Therefore, context and relevance matters. Otherwise, the message disappears hindering the brand’s ability to survive.
Content Marketing Evolution Framework
To work, content marketing, like natural selection, requires a number of things to happen at the same time.
Here are the 5 key theories Darwin outlined in On the Origin of Species, what they mean and how they apply to content marketing evolution.
While species come and go through time, they change during their existence.
Content marketing isn’t new. Companies and brands have always needed content to survive. Content has evolved over time. It started as stories told around the fire to teach and entertain family and friends.
Ensure your brand can evolve with the times. One way to accomplish this is to use stories about your business. Storytelling is how people remember your brand.
Stories have built-in guideposts to enable memorability. Based on major themes, they have a beginning, middle and an end. Encapsulate your brand’s information concisely to be memorable.
Among the questions for your brand to answer are (BTW—Here’s a full list of brand questions .)
- What does your brand do for your prospects and customers?
- What does your brand represent?
- How does your brand stand out so that it will survive?
2. Common descent
While organisms descend from one or more common ancestors, they diversify from the original stock.
Diversify your content. Use a variety of different content formats. Your objective is to provide your audience with the information they need in the format that’s easiest for them to consume.
Over time, man’s ability to communicate has changed. We’ve gone from telling stories in real time, to creating drawings, to writing portable texts to other forms of media.
As a marketer, offer multiple types content to extend your reach and increase its chance of yielding results. Use both short and long content formats. Among the key options to use are:
- Audio / podcasts.
3. Species multiply
Diversification involves the population of one species changing until they become two distinct species.
Enable your company message to multiply. This means continue to create additional content around your core brand and products.
As your messaging expands, it moves from a single core brand message to more tailored messages around each product and aspect of your business. Think of this like search moving from core key words to more refined phrases.
Ensure that your content provides your prospects with the following 5 types of information.
- Answer customer questions.
- Provide product information.
- Educate customers how to use your products.
- Show customers how to style your products.
- Share customers’ ratings and reviews.
And make your content shareable to broaden your audience. This is another way to extend your message’s reach.
New species don’t occur suddenly. Rather evolutionary alterations happen with small incremental changes inside populations.
Distribute your content. Without getting your message out to more people you risk that it won’t achieve its objectives.
Modify your content to work most effectively in the appropriate context. This means that content distribution requires more than just pushing it out. You need to adapt it to be appropriate for each platform. Many marketers overlook the power of this step.
This means that you need a regular schedule to continually create and modify your content for various platforms.
- Create an editorial calendar.
- Distribute your content effectively.
5. Natural selection
Since evolutionary transformation occurs due to differences between individual creatures, some variations provide improved chances for survival.
Just as natural selection talks to competition, each piece of content must struggle for mindshare. It’s not just about getting the most readers but rather to attract those readers for which the information is most relevant.
Create content that breaks through the noise of competing messages existing within a channel. Successful messages survive, get noticed and acted upon.
Package your content to stand out and compete. With content, it’s more than the core of your message. It’s dressing your message to stand out. Among the factors to consider are: (BTW—Here’s the full list of how to dress your content for success.)
- Craft great headlines.
- Outline your content.
- Add images.
- Use bolding.
As a marketer, think about the content you create in evolutionary terms. Your content must be strong enough to break through and deliver your branded message.
Do you see content marketing as having evolved?
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Branding, by definition, is about imprinting our identity onto others. Traditionally, it’s been about telling people, “if you want to fit in, first you must buy in.”
In this manifesto, CJ argues that Belonging is more powerful. When you’re in the business of helping others design their identity, you access something deeper and more permanent than their desire to just keep up, you access their desire to matter.
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