Integrate Lean Content Into Your Content Marketing
The result is high-impact content at lower costs.
What content marketer wouldn’t love that?
As background, lean content has its roots in the principles of James Womack and Daniel Jones in their book, Lean Thinking.
Their 5 core principles to create lean organization can be adapted to lean content.
- Provide value from your customer’s point of view. Think in terms of your customers’ problems.
- Distinguish the relevant steps in each process and remove the steps that don’t add value.
- Sequence the value-creating steps to ensure that process(es) flows smoothly.
- Enable customers to get value from the next upstream activity as the process flow improves.
- Repeat this cycle until all waste is removed from the process.
10 Elements of lean content
These 10 key elements of lean content are part of an iterative content cycle.
Together they create the lean content definition.
- Lean content is cost effective. Businesses can minimize content investment. Often this is achieved because the work is done in-house.
- Lean content focuses on the customer. To this end, it’s critical to know your customer and to develop a marketing persona for each distinct segment.
- Lean content eliminates redundant steps in the content creation and distribution processes. This means that content creation is a continuous process that results in content that’s more effective at attracting readers and converting them into customers.
- Lean content re-imagines each major piece of content to minimize content creation efforts. Todd Wheatland, head of marketing at Kelly Services and author of The Marketer’s Guide to Slideshare, recommends creating 20 pieces of content from each major content effort. As a result, each piece of content is contextually relevant and can be distributed across owned and social media platforms.
- Lean content exploits the power of content curation. Content creators tap into the power of other people’s content by providing quality context and commentary. This includes user-generated content (aka UGC).
- Lean content spotlights visual content since people consume it 60,000 times faster than text.
- Lean content is mobile friendly to ensure that it reaches the mobile-only and mobile-first audience segments. This means that your content must render well on both smartphones and tablets.
- Lean content is formatted for easy consumption. The objective is to avoid THDR (too hard, didn’t read).
- Lean content utilizes the power of social sharing and viral distribution through the use of social media, community, influencers, search optimization and email.
- Lean content requires rapid improvement. As a result, an environment where content creators are allowed to test different options to determine what’s best is necessary. The combination of experimentation, tight feedback loops and related performance assessments yield effective, branded content.
5 Lean content benefits
Regardless of the size of your organization, you can take advantage of lean content. Understand that you don’t need to use lean content for all of your content marketing.
- Builds 360° brand. Incorporates your brand into every piece of content to ensure that it’s recognizable.
- Ensures the customer is at the center of your content marketing. Concentrates your efforts on creating content that your target audience finds useful: product information, customer FAQs, how-to’s, styling and ratings and reviews.
- Facilitates content consumption with effective formatting. Ensures that potential readers can get and consume your information on a range of devices. It also provides for easy-to-consume information.
- Supports your social media marketing strategy. Since lean content leverages the power of social media for content distribution, it ensures that you have content that’s contextually relevant for a variety of social media platforms.
- Reduces content marketing expense. Focuses your content marketing efforts to eliminate waste. With advance planning, streamlines content creation process.
While you may not want to restrict your content marketing to solely lean content, lean content is useful to supplement other content marketing efforts in that it allows you to stretch your marketing budget while experimenting with new ways of doing things.
Have you used lean content? If so, what have your results been?
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According to research by Nielsen, 70 percent of global consumers trust online consumer reviews and rate reviews as the second most trusted form of advertising. And according to BazaarVoice, when it comes to trust, marketers may as well eliminate their own brand websites as a fountain of customer trust as only 16 percent of US consumers said they trust the content on a brand's website compared to the 51 percent who trust content generated by other users.
Today's digital currency is arguably authenticity, and what attracts customers - especially the digitally dependent, savvy millennial - is not just content. It is the delivery of authentic, unvarnished content from their peers.
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