One awesome part about working at BuzzStream is getting to engage with so many incredible marketers every day. We get to work with a lot of link development/content marketing/digital PR groups – and so many of them are smart, driven people who are trying to make the internet a cooler place and drive great results for their clients and companies.
We talk with some marketers who are killing it – I mean just destroying it – and are putting up amazing numbers. And we talk to some marketers who are doing fine and making strong, regular progress towards their goals, but aren’t getting the results they’d like – yet.
So what’s the difference between these two groups of marketers – especially as they embark on bigger projects?
We see 5 big differences between the companies that are absolutely dominating their content promotion and link development versus the ones where it’s not really working.
Differentiator #1: Investment in Ideas
The companies that win in this space make absolutely sure they get the best ideas together before they go out and make anything or talk to anyone.
They do exhaustive research – what’s been done before? What’s hot right now? Can we ‘draft’ off a current event? Is there a ‘top of the funnel’ topic we can tackle in our market and absolutely deliver standout results? (For example, the people at Makana created a big content hub around sales compensation planning. I would suggest you go look at it, but they were acquired by a larger company.)
And more importantly, what will resonate with their target audience while accomplishing their business goals?
- Simple – What’s the Core Message?
- Unexpected - Violate a Schema, Create Curiousity, & Do Something Different.
- Concrete - Go away from the abstract and create detailed mental pictures.
- Credible - Either external validation or a level of detail and statistics to add trust.
- Emotional - Trigger emotions – even in B2B spaces – causes sharing and impact.
- Stories - Stories drive action and stick in our minds. Help people get the story.
(This framework has been adequately discussed by other marketers and in a best selling book, so I won’t belabor it here. Go read the book – it’s an easy, airplane-type read and you’ll learn something new about storytelling and messaging – both from the book itself and at a meta-level in how they write.)
In addition to hitting these 6 key points, successful content marketers do real research – often spending hours looking through scientific journals, obscure news sources, and forgotten pages on the internet, looking for great new ideas and angles. (And they don’t just ‘make it up’, as some content marketers do.) These marketers have seen that happen and been through a Reddit debunking – and know that bad research risks not only unsuccessful content marketing but ultimately brand damage.
Finally, the best content marketers test their ideas, before they ever put pen to paper or code to IDE. They send it to a few folks, and ask questions like “Is this a fit? How could we make it better? What would it take for this to be the best piece on the internet about this topic?”