As marketers, we need to test and optimize our content and messaging regularly to get the best results. That notion popped up frequently at CMW, so it seemed like the perfect topic for my first post here at Digital Marketer.
The term innovation gets misapplied a lot, but a fresh new twist on familiar ideas is still a fitting definition. However, the real problem isn’t the precise use of the term “innovation” – it’s more the effort in trying to justify where it is applied.
In Ann Handley’s session, she explored the idea that innovation doesn’t come from having the biggest budget or status as the dominant global brand.
Unconvinced? Look at the sentiment for the new Guinness ad versus most other big beer brands (especially those which view innovation as a new can or bottle, not stronger product).
You don’t need the marketing armies and obscene budgets of brands like Nike, Coke and Red Bull to strive for innovation. But lets face it, you do need to try harder and break out of the herd mentality with content to stand apart and make jaws drop.
One awesome example: The WaterIsLife.com campaign using video, Twitter and other social channels to hijack the hashtag #FirstWorldProblems and alter the conversation from whiny tweets to attention for a serious global issue.
Is creating truly inspired content difficult? Usually. So is going to the gym, but if you’re persistent, and aren’t banking on overnight success every time, you will see the results.
We talk a lot about storytelling where content marketing is concerned. But how often do you like to read the same story over and over?
Playing to positive emotions has its place – it’s typically in the #1 spot, to the chagrin of Doug Kessler, who’s hit some content home runs with rants and more curmudgeonly, perhaps even abrasive, content.
Confession: I’m a fan of his SlideShare sensation, “Crap. Why the single biggest threat to content marketing is content marketing.” So are nearly 300,000 others.
Why is a slide deck called “Crap” such a monster hit? It’s the same reason Scott Stratten’s UnMarketing.com and the books he’s written resonate with us: Deep down, we know that we (or people just like us) are part of the problem. We feel a vague sense of guilt and shame, and we’re unsure of how to set things right in our own little world, much less the real world.
Now, when you tap into that emotion, like Kessler’s team did, or like the RainForest Alliance did with its deviously clever and funny Follow the Frog video (1.4M views), it’s the modern equivalent of rallying the townspeople with pitchforks and torches to go get Frankenstein. We’re lazier now, so we click, like, retweet and share, but if those are the actions we’re gunning for, playing nice all the time isn’t the best bet.
Most marketing buzzwords make me cringe, but I like the concept and wordplay of “youtility” as it’s not just another weak hackronym (hello “mocial”).
One key idea put forth by Jay Baer was that social media works best when it’s focused on helping people solve problems in their lives (both work and personal), not just pushing products and services. While this isn’t revolutionary, the problem is, that idea is often forgotten or misplaced.
Social media isn’t meant to be the world’s shortest press release, Baer says. And he’s dead on. How often do you care about every little thing my company does? About as much as I care about yours. If we like your page, follow you on Twitter, get your email updates, and even flat out love your company – we all still need a break sometimes.
Combine being helpful with not oversharing – i.e., be there when we need you, and be memorable enough that we’ll think of you first even without daily reminders – and you’ve nailed the concept of youtility.
Two cool examples were highlighted at the conference: 1. The Car Seat Helper App created by Phoenix Children’s Hospital (marketing staff of 1.5, according to Baer), which drew raves and high ratings, plus it helps the hospital’s mission by reducing injuries, and 2. Banff, Canada’s most famous cabbie, TaxiMike.com, whose DIY approach to helping his fares and area visitors with simple tools like a lo-fi website and pamphlet have done wonders for his business.
The common thread with these three themes? That outstanding content marketing really isn’t all about budgets or bandwidth, but the approach and how well you’re putting people first, with a creative twist. So let’s get cracking on that, and cut down on all of the crap. What do you say?