Content marketing is all the rage in our communications profession these days. After decades of putting our press releases on the “leading premier solution in the industry” and years writing Facebook posts and tweets, we’re finally starting to realize the most important driver in mass communications: the story.
So now that we are all on the same page, here are three ways to supercharge your content marketing and storytelling in 2015.
Make it someone’s job: I still see too many corporate mar/comm departments – and agencies, for that matter – with siloed job functions. One group does media relations, while another handles creative and yet another manages social media. While job specialization is still vital, putting up walls between content developers is the quickest way to kill your narrative. The smart way to avoid this pitfall is to make it someone’s job to oversee how the story is told across different platforms. This requires someone with good editorial skills, savvy project management abilities and the political wherewithal to bring together disparate groups that don’t always play well together in the sandbox. Here’s an interesting job listing for a content manager at chemical giant DuPont. While I like the job spec, I think they are making one huge mistake. This position requires a minimum of only five years’ experience. I find it hard to believe that someone with only five years’ experience is going to have the shrewd diplomatic talent to balance the competing interests of so many corporate stakeholders.
Think quality over quantity: Too often, communications professionals become trapped on the content development hamster wheel. “We need 25 tweets this week. We have to shoot at least two videos a day at our conference. We must blog five times a week to optimize SEO.” Sure, volume is important; you need to keep that steady stream of content flowing. But don’t sacrifice quality for quantity. Always ask yourself what’s the most compelling, emotionally relevant story we can tell. Like the boy who cried wolf, if you are always shouting at your audiences (Do you really have to announce every new hire??), they’re less likely to listen when you do have something important to say. Do us all a favor: For one week, make quality your most important metric, not quantity. Here’s a great post from Dori Fern, who explains this much more eloquently that I can.
Keep it simple: With all the fantastic new content development tools at our disposal – from data visualization software to cheap DSLRs that shoot broadcast-quality video – it’s tempting to always push the technology and creative envelopes. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. For example, someone please tell me what story this infographic on the potato lifecycle is trying to tell. Great stories simply told should be your goal. One excellent instance of this comes from New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s “Amazing Things” campaign. Just former patients in black-and-white videos telling their stories. I challenge you to watch three of these and not get emotional