Manifesto for Content Marketing
Updated: Apr 29, 2022
Moving Audiences from Awareness to Advocacy.
We live in a consumer-led, instantly gratified celebrity culture that fuels the world. Everyone looks the same, and everything is for sale. Social media, mobility, and the internet dominate life, where people have an insatiable appetite to be engaged by and a curiosity for authentic experiences and content. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn have become the fabric of our lives and part of our social routine.
How can you best cut through the noise and communicate with your audience when they're being besieged with content?
Put simply; make what you want to communicate stand out from imposters, thieving magpies, and digital oxygen vampires.
1. Build audience-specific narratives and purposeful storytelling themes.
Know your audience by determining what they are most likely to need from your product or service, such as the forces at work that are driving change in their industry and business, the problem they are looking to solve, business performance target they are looking to achieve, or gaining demographic insights about their personas, such as; gender, income, interests, and location.
Position your product or service with your target audience and address the market need by providing the narrative to guide the messaging, ensuring all communication across all touchpoints is consistent.
Ensure your value proposition answers "why?" people need it, that it convinces them why your product or service will be of more value to them than similar offerings from competitors by showing how it solves problems or improves their situation. Define the key benefits and reasons for your target audience to believe by gaining a unique position in their hearts and minds.
Establish your brand identity through your purpose and values, personality, attributes, benefits, supported by proof that you are who you say you are, such as; achievements, awards, events, history, rankings — confirm your product or service truths.
Volkswagen's "Think small" campaign reacted to the overstated designs and ostentatious features of 1950s consumerism by taking a more skeptical and self-deprecating approach by expressing their individuality and difference as a sales tool.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "War is over if you want it" campaign was designed to provoke action to change minds by seeking world peace and bringing the end to war, in the spirit of; if enough people really want something to happen, then it will.
Nike's simplistic "Just do it" message is beyond explanation and coined a phrase in culture for people who wanted to push themselves to new heights, convincing people that they, too, can be athletes if they choose to. All they need is a pair of running shoes and "just do it."
Orange was a mobile network operator and internet service provider in the United Kingdom that coined "the future's bright, the future's Orange." Its advertising campaign began with a simple teaser that focused on the name and color to build a brand before people knew what the product was.
Apple's slogan, "Think Different." was a reaction to IBMs "Think IBM" and their monopolistic dominance of the computer industry. Positioning Apple as the difference, by pairing them with 20th-century pioneers who moved the world forward, like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Muhammed Ali, and Bob Dylan; "Because the people who are crazy enough to believe they can change the world are the ones who actually do."
The "3As" Content Marketing Approach
Focus on creating, publishing, and distributing purposeful content through your audience journey from when they first encounter your brand to when they make a purchase. It means targeting your audience and grabbing their attention with engaging content that wins mindshare and builds brand advocacy, and more willing to purchase products and services from you now and in the future. The approach is grounded in researching and understanding the market and industry forces driving change from an economic, political, sociocultural, and technological perspective.
Identify patterns, standards, and proven practices, and synthesize these insights to set future trends and scenarios that anticipate market shifts by identifying changes in tastes and preferences.
Develop and communicate strategic direction by driving cohesion and brand experience and flow across all touchpoints.
Formulate creative direction detailing aesthetic principles and brand identity, informed by market and audience research, to guide decisions differentiating from your competition.
Design and direct the aesthetic approach by creating assets that foster an emotional connection through purposeful storytelling and influential thought leadership that drives audience engagement and advocacy by proving business insights and establishing credibility and trust.
Prioritize and activate the proper distribution channels that bring content to target audiences effectively.
Activate communication vehicles, such as public relations and digital media, across owned, earned, and paid marketing channels.
Measure commercial impact and infuse insights into learnings that drive continuous improvement and innovation.
2. Show up where your audience are and make the difference.
The audience journey is the route your audience takes from discovering you, to consuming, then advocating your product or service.
Mapping the "3As" to the Audience Journey
The "Attract" stage is where your audience discovers a need and becomes aware of you through a search engine, word-of-mouth, website, testimonial, social, podcast, or blog post.
In the "Adopt" stage, your audience investigates further and conducts research by absorbing content, such as; product or service descriptions, reviews, Q&As, and then consuming the product or service. After purchase, the next step is to keep your brand top-of-mind and continue to get your audience to interact with you, such as; like or comment on your social pages, post, and make repeat purchases.
The "Advocate" stage is about nurturing and growing your existing audience by providing service after the sale, such as in-depth product and service insights, discounts, and loyalty programs to cultivate brand advocates.
Example 1: Video
Content published on YouTube to build brand presence and optimize SEO by providing target content to your target audience that's easy for them to consume, like, comment, and share.
Video A: Brand positioning
Video B: Topical point of view
Example 2: Documentary movie to inform and educate.
Example 3: These trailers consist of a series of selected shots from the documentary being advertised. Attracting the audience to the documentary where the excerpts are drawn from the most noteworthy parts of the documentary in abbreviated form.
Example 4: Blog
Capture influential perspectives that educates your audience about your product or service and expand your brand's visibility by giving search engines content to index and serve up in search results.
Example 5: Podcast
Inspirational conversations with experts and influencers that provide a voice on evangelizing and sharing perspectives, and stories topical that enable audiences to engage with you.
Example 6: Digital Poster
Package and communicate your intended message for a new product or services announcement and amplified across digital media to engage with target audience by creating a spark that builds awareness and generates momentum.
There are multiple other tools to consider in your content marketing efforts, such as; press releases to create interest factually and efficiently to get attention, make news, and generate publicity. Visual content uses images to convey valuable information in an engaging format, such as images with educational or inspiring text. Infographics to provide visual representations of information, data, or knowledge to present information quickly and clearly. Email helps promote products and services by making your audience aware of your latest offers by integrating them into your marketing automation efforts. Lead magnets to give away a free item or service to create sales prospects, such as; trial subscriptions, product and service samples, and free consultations.
3. Visualize your success, then make sure you actualize it.
Visualize and manifest by knowing what you want to do and how by creating a clearly defined mission statement, mapping the outcome you desire, the end-to-end system, and the sequence for actualizing the series of results. Proactively take daily action, make the necessary sacrifices by being disciplined, maintaining grit, and persistence to generate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) results, traffic, conversions, sales leads, and sustainable business results.
Develop an editorial calendar to plan content creation, publication, and promotion across all media channels, such as blogs, podcasts, social media, press articles, and events.
Measure outcomes by evaluating your return on investment of your content marketing campaign or program by using simple, relevant, and useful key performance indicators that measure the performance over time and across all aspects of the audience journey that show all levels of conversion, and capture the lessons learned: pitfalls to avoid and the keys to success to improve business performance.
Contact Unknown Origins to engage on creative strategy for brand, product, and service. Storytelling to communicate, educate, and connect with audiences to inspire action.
Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins, a creative studio on a mission to save the world from unoriginality by unleashing the power of creativity. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future."
Photo credit: Brian Smale
Thank you: Johnny Marr, Natasha Kay-Sportelli, Mat Bancroft, Ben Thornley, Dave Cronen, Sammi Wild, Anita Kunz, Malcolm Garrett, Cathy Murphy, Martyn Ware, Brian Smale, Devon Baker, and Microsoft.
Attitude. Imagination. Execution.
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