2017 trends: 3 rules for better content marketing

Summary: What went wrong with content marketing during 2015 and 2016?
What are the 3 critical things you must do to produce successful content that creates buzz for 2017?

This blog entry is part of the DrKPI #Trends2Watch Video Series for 2017.

The series’ main focus is trends, without giving you a checklist to solve everything. Instead, we point out what went wrong and what things we must change to succeed next year. In fact, it’s best if you start implementing these suggestions right now, while putting together content for your next blog post.

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1. What is Marketing?

Marketing is often misunderstood as being the same as sales. However, marketing focuses on the needs of the clients. Theodore Leavitt put it as follows:

Selling is preoccupied with the seller’s need to convert his product into cash; marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally consuming it.” – Theodore Leavitt (see https://hbr.org/2004/07/marketing-myopia)

Thus marketers must learn their customers’ needs and how the company’s current products satisfy them.

In turn, gaps can be identified and with the help of R&D, for instance, new products can be developed. The product can then be sold because it solves another important problem your client may have.

2. What is Content Marketing?

The above indicates that content marketing is also often misunderstood. Thus people produce content that tries to sell their product or put it in the spotlight.

However, good content marketing supports our efforts in general marketing. That means the primary focus for content marketing must be helping us understand customers’ needs. While redundant at first glance, content marketing supports our efforts for better understanding of what the client needs as part of our overall marketing strategy.

Content marketing focuses on clients’ and prospective customers’ needs and problems. It tries to address these by providing content that answers questions clients need or want answered. Good content provides solutions or new insights to issues or problems that matter to our target audience.

There is a large group of customers that appreciate content that solves real or assumed problems. An example is:

How to do your make-up in 30 seconds every morning

Content marketing addresses the needs of clients. This may be as simple as:

“How do I build my own bookshelves?” or
“How should I organize may sales activities each month?”

Of course, if your blog focuses on sustainability and the blog entry talks about aquaculture, your content is a bit more complex than if you explain the make-up bit. But if that is what your target audience needs, that’s the kind of content you want to try to create.

3. Improving our Content Marketing for 2017

In a customer support forum it is perfectly all right to talk about how to better use our product. The same applies in a product blog, where we update readers. For instance, we may have power users share their insights and tricks with others. We may also report about upcoming product updates or possibly workshops being held nearby for users of our software.

While the above helps with current clients, it may fail to attract potential clients. The latter do not necessarily want to know about our product or updates. Instead, their focus is on solving their own problem(s), such as:

  • how to shop for clothes that make you look great,
  • the 10 best restaurants in Torino, Italy, and
  • how to show how my content marketing helped our bottom line.

Some of these issues and possible solutions I point out in the video below.

VIEW the 1-Minute Video below for more details
Download the slides used in the video (500 KB PDF).
3 takeaways: How to make sure your content provides value for your target audience.

1. Avoid preparing generalised list content, such as “10 best tips….

Whatever it is, focus on providing added value or solving a problem that is of concern to your target audience. For instance, 3 points that help you make a better video than the one I made above. That will get my interest, guaranteed 🙂

2. Talk with your clients.

  • What concerns do they have (“making sense of web analytics is tough”)?
  • What are their pain points (how to…) for which they would love to consume content (e.g., slides, video, blog entry)?

3. Get client feedback about your content.

You wrote about a problem, because of the input you got about the topic from clients (see point 2). After it is published, call your source and ask them for feedback about how useful the content is or what is missing. Even better, ask them to do so in the form of a comment on the post. You can then can reply to further help your audience.

4. Have your say – join the conversation

Source: 2017 trends: 3 rules for better content marketing

What is your opinion?

  • When was the last time you read interesting content on a corporate, fashion, music or hobby blog?
  • Do you like to get slides or checklists to download in a blog post?
  • What irks you the most when it comes to corporate blog content?

The author declares that he had no conflict of interest with respect to the content, authorship or publication of this blog entry (i.e. I neither own any of these brands’ products nor are they our clients).

Short content with little depth will not do

These days we are inundated with data on our newsfeed, social networks (e.g., Instagram images), YouTube, etc. Some of us even read newspapers in digital or, surprise, traditional format.

Here is a short video from 5 marketing influencers (how did they become marketing influencers?), that talks about the evolving content marketing trends for 2017.

Six minutes in length, of which only 1 minute by 1 person provides this viewer with some value. That is a recipe for failure in Content Marketing for 2017. It also means that those that supposedly know may not know that much more than you do. Pity.

If you have not already done so (of course you have!), please make sure your content for 2017 has added value for your clients 🙂

 

Guess who says something that makes sense in the Content Marketing Trends Video for 2017.

If you watch this video and have the feeling that you now know what 2017 will bring (i.e. challenges or opportunities for those creating content), you are way ahead of me – so please share!

Urs E. Gattiker

Professor Urs E. Gattiker - DrKPI is corporate Europe's leading social media metrics expert (see his books). He continues to work with start-ups. Urs is CEO of CyTRAP Labs GmbH and President of the Marketing Club Lago, a member of the German Marketing Association (DMV).

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