15 Ways You Can Beat The Content Marketing Odds

Is Your Content Marketing Living Up To Its Potential?

15 Ways your can beat the content marketing oddsIn 2015 the content marketing stakes are higher than they’ve ever been.

Understand that it’s not what you’re doing that’s the challenge.

People face more competition for their scarce attention. There’s just more information in different formats from multiple devices fighting for readers’ awareness. And this doesn’t include the people in their lives and the environment in which they live.

Situation: Your content marketing must make a good first impression to have a chance of getting noticed.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. Marketers have been creating new ways to get their message seen for ages.

Often, they insert their ad in places where prospects are otherwise engaged, from roadside signs to television ads. (For more information, check Pull Vs Push Marketing.)

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There’s one major media exception. The publisher was able to buck this trend. He’s not a major household name nor is he a marketing hero.

In fact the publication was never displayed in stores. Yet it sold like hotcakes via a discreet word to the cashier.

Additionally it’s one of the few publications that mails subscriptions to prisons, a list that’s routinely suppressed from magazine acquisition mailings.

Can you guess the answer?

It’s Larry Flint’s Hustler.

In fact, Hustler’s pull strategy success, where customer demand for the publication kept sales rolling in, prevented Flint from effectively marketing his more mainstream publications.

What made Hustler sell?

  • Provided information people wanted. Namely, nude photographs. As the adage goes: sin sells.
  • Took advantage of word of mouth. How else do you find out about a product that’s out of sight?
  • Made their product scarce. Being out of sight heightened the newspaper’s allure. The harder it was to find, the more people wanted it.

Chances are you’re not creating highly provocative sexually explicit content, so how can Hustler’s example help your content marketing break through and engage your prospect?

First, let’s look at how most magazines are merchandized.

Single copy magazines appear in newsstands located where people stop before catching a train or an airplane. Their placement is paid and key newsstand locations add an additional premium. Similarly, magazines are placed in racks near supermarket and drugstore check out to attract bored shoppers who make impulse purchases.

What influences impulse magazine purchases:

  • Placing your content where your audience is. Where possible, make your content stand out where your audience has limited options.
  • Attracting attention with your packaging. Of course, you have to deliver on this promise or you’re only going to sell your content once. Create value for your customers with what Jay Baer calls Youtility.
  • Offering your readers a solution to their immediate problem. Many impulse magazine buyers are seeking to overcome boredom and fill their time.

15 Ways you can beat the content marketing odds

Based on these content lessons, you can improve your content marketing’s ability to beat the odds and break through – but you have to minimize the competition.15 Ways your can beat the content marketing odds

Here are 15 ways to get your content marketing to beat the odds and get your prospects to read it!

1. Location, location, location.

Put your content where your audience is. Every successful retailer knows that you have to place your store where there’s foot traffic or you’re doomed to fail.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Distribute your content through your owned media. Include every element in your portfolio that’s relevant and provides an appropriate context for your content.
  • Leverage the power of your social media presences. Share your content marketing across a variety of social media networks. Make sure that you adapt your content so that it resonates with your key audiences on that platform. (BTW: Here’s the latest social media data to understand your audience.)
  • Optimize your content marketing to rank for search. Understand that this is a longer-term strategy. But don’t skip this step. Your content marketing should be a long-term marketing approach.
  • Incorporate third party media sites where appropriate. Accomplish this through the use of guest posts and republished articles.
  • Supplement content distribution with advertising. If necessary, give your information a boost where targeted and appropriate. Think of it as paying for placement.

2. Take advantage of word of mouth.

Just as word of mouth drove Hustler sales, it can work for your content.

Broaden your network of people to help spread your word of mouth.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Involve established influencers in your market. You can put together an influencer outreach program or get influencers to contribute to your content.
  • Increase social media shares. Leverage your social media and employee teams as well as adding social media sharing to the content.
  • Tap into current trends. Create content around trending topics. Of course, this requires a caveat: It must be in good taste or it can backfire.
  • Add PR, where appropriate. This doesn’t apply to every piece of content but a press release can be useful to expand your reach. This works best when you’ve got content that appeals to a broader audience that you may not otherwise be able to reach such as market research.

3. First impressions matter.

Don’t forget those lessons your mother taught you early in life.

As published content, most magazines use a combination celebrity photographs and headlines to draw potential readers in and persuade them to purchase.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Craft attention-getting headlines. Words matter, a lot. On a magazine, like your content marketing, a headline can make or break the circulation.
  • Include a photograph. Appeal to people’s visual nature. Select an image with at least one person since people relate to people.
  • Test what resonates best with your audience. Many high run magazines will try different covers to determine what works best. Incorporate a testing strategy to ensure that your headlines and covers maximize results.

4. Solve your audience’s problem(s).

There are 2 key reasons people consume content:

  1. To solve an immediate problem. Prospects are seeking an answer to a specific question. It’s often in one of these five types: product information, answers to their product questions, shows them how to use your product, helps them style your product or provides customer reviews.
  2. To be entertained. In this case, they’re looking to fill time or overcome boredom.

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Know your audience. Create a marketing persona.This is at the heart of all content marketing creation. If you don’t know your readership, you can’t provide the information they need.
  • Provide the key types of information your audience seeks. Since most shoppers are over 58% of the way through the purchase process before they contact you, make sure that they can get the information they need on a self serve basis.

5. Make your solution scarce.

While this option worked well for Hustler, it’s difficult to apply on to mass audience. As a result, it doesn’t work for most businesses.

It can work for your premium content where you don’t want to appeal to a large audience. Instead you only want your best, more engaged followers. (BTW—it can also work for highly targeted, expensive content products like investment information.)

Actionable Content Marketing Tactics:

  • Offer a limited audience access to your top priced product. Enhance your content’s value by actively participating. Because your presence is difficult to scale, it makes the product more valuable. Also, limit the purchase period to make it more alluring.

The bottom line for content marketing: No matter how great your content marketing is, prospects have to find it before they can read it. And if it doesn’t get read, it’s worthless.

Use a variety of these 15 tips to beat the content marketing odds.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Photo Credit:

  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/breatheindigital/4954416690
  • https://www.flickr.com/photos/mwichary/2858195129
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