By Becki Woods - Account Manager
Everybody wants to be like Coca Cola and have a content strategy and marketing budget that allows you to do things that go viral. Most companies do not have the budget and resource that they do; however, there is much that smaller brands can take away from bigger brands in terms of their content marketing efforts.
These things cost nothing in terms of budget and are techniques you can also use to bring content marketing and strategy success to your business, however small and locally based you might be. You don't believe us? Oh ye of little faith! Read on.
These things are as follows:
1. Big brands know their audience(s) really well.
Coca Cola knows its audience really well. They clearly have very specific personas in mind when they are coming up with ideas for content.
They also know that their products contain a lot of sugar (yes, even the unappealing Coke Life) so that their audience (and the parents of this audience) will probably be looking for something to make them feel better about that. This is why content like their Work It Out Calculator and their Tumblr in general is so successful.
How you can do this for your brand
Don’t assume you know who your audience is; do some research and find out for sure. Yes, you might sell office space but you may also be overlooking an audience segment or sub segment in your marketing. Worse still, you might have your audience all wrong.
For example, an office space seller writing content for business owners might miss out the operations manager that actually recommends what decisions are taken, or post expensively created content on Facebook instead of the LinkedIn profile followed by several of their key prospects.
Know your audience and audiences and make sure you are taking their needs into account. This will inform the direction of your content strategy. The start up, for example, will need more than “here are our offices”. They are likely to want to hire an office from a company who understands their unique and tempestuous position in the business world – demonstrate this to them and you have more chance of success.
Knowledge is power.
2. Big brands genuinely try to help/entertain their audience.
Big brands know that they need to engage their audience in order to be able to sell products to them. Smaller brands usually make the mistake of going straight for the sale in their content because they feel they do not have the time and budget to come up with campaigns that will engage better - either that or they don't know this is not designed to work for them in the way they want it to.
Skittles is a massive brand that produces content designed to make their audience laugh. This means that their products are displayed in a way that is appealing, engaging and original. The products are advertised but the audience doesn’t feel like they’ve just sat through a massive sales pitch. This latest Halloween video demonstrates this.
McDonalds is another brand that identified a need from their audience. This was to know more about what goes in their food. They then created a one stop shop for all food related questions that anyone can access. It’s an excellent example of content marketing and showcases the brand in a non-pushy way.
How you can do this for your brand
Okay, so you haven’t got the massive budget available to build yourself a microsite like McDonalds did; however, what you can do is cater for your audience by taking note of their needs, wants and concerns and addressing them in the content you are bringing out.
Look at the phrases your audience is entering into Google to get to your website, check out search trends and see what questions are being asked. Then…answer them in a way that genuinely helps your audience.
For example, if you are the office space provider and you can see from looking at Google search volume statistics that 900 people a month are asking questions like “what is a virtual office?” then you have the perfect opportunity to answer that question and provide genuine help and assistance.
Speak to your customer service team and ask them to list the questions they get asked the most. You could either put a blog post on your site that answers them all in an engaging way or go one step further and build an infographic/video.
3. Big brands get analytical and polish their offering as a result.
Brands like Coca Cola, Skittles and Pepsi have a suite of social monitoring and analytical tools at their fingertips to allow them to sort through and aggregate the data they collect from their content marketing efforts. This means that they can use quantitative data to determine what succeeded, what did not and why. Being armed with this information means that you can make your next offerings better and better.
One example of how big brands/companies use data to shape marketing for success is the email campaign designed to raise funds for Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Amelia Showalter worked on this campaign and did an excellent talk on how they A/B tested absolutely everything in the emails they were sending to people to get the donations coming in. Such close adherence to the data led to enough money being raised to run an effective campaign. It worked didn't it! Mr Obama won his campaign and will be the most powerful man in the world until 2016.
How you can do this for your brand
OK, if you are based in Poole and sell tires then such close analysis probably isn't going to be your bag (baby).
However, you can still monitor the response to the content you post on Facebook and Twitter as well as the content you put on your site. Making sure you have the correct Google Analytics tracking is pretty much all you need to do if your budget is low – find out how to do this here.
Analytics can show you how many people saw the content, how long they stayed on the page and also if they looked at any other pages afterwards. You can also sort and segment your data so that you can see what devices it was accessed from and the resulting engagement.
You can also invest in tools like the ones offered by Simply Measured, if you don’t have much in the way of budget then you can take advantage of the free tools they have on offer. The Facebook page analysis tools are particularly good.
4. Big brands post engaging content on social media.
OK, they have lots of budget and usually a whole team devoted to posting on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest and more. Tourism Australia did an excellent campaign where they created the “best job in the world” that paid $100,000 over six months to the lucky candidate. All potential candidates had to do was make a video explaining why they were the right person for the job. Facebook likes grew from 400,000 to 5.5 million.
This aside, you don’t need a big social media budget or even a team in order to be engaging on Facebook and Twitter. You can create and upload videos to YouTube using your phone and being funny and interesting costs you absolutely nothing.
This point links really well in with the next one!
5. Big brands understand WHY people share and like content!
Have you ever thought to yourself: “I’ll post our "two for one tires offer" on Twitter, it should get loads of retweets and comments”? If so, you’re doing your marketing wrong.
Yes, this next point relates to a point already made in this article and this point is that you need to really get into the minds of your audience in order to post content they will engage with and share with their networks.
Part of this involves understanding exactly why people share what they do and why thing go viral.
This article does an excellent job of explaining why. In short, we want to be liked and accepted, we are also inner narcissists who have an “ideal” version of ourselves we want to convey to the world. This is why people agonise over their facebook profile pictures and statuses.
How you can make this work for your brand
People will like and share content that corresponds to their “ideal” self. They won’t share your two for one tires offer. That “ideal” self is whatever is the most important to that person's self image. The writer of this blog post has a childish sense of humour and is likely to engage with content that is in line with that. More important, she is more likely to share content that also shows the world that she has a bit of a childish sense of humour.
The same goes if you pride yourself on being socially clued in, right or left wing, creative, cool, trendy, friendly or nurturing.
Upworthy have put together a really useful presentation about what makes content go viral here.
There are lots of ways to ensure that your content marketing is successful; over the next few weeks, we will be posting more tips and techniques for you, so keep coming back!