Three Content Strategy Take-Aways from the Content Revolution Tour
Last week I attended Bridgeline Digital’s “Content Revolution Tour” and learned how to build a better content strategy. Here are three key take-aways.
Bridgeline Digital, the host of the Content Revolution Tour, invited people to join Content Marketing Experts Ann Handley (Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs) and Becki Dilworth (Vice President of Digital Strategy at Bridgeline Digital) for a one-hour breakfast strategy jam session. The goal: learn to build a successful content marketing program.
Before the workshop started, everyone received a complimentary copy of the Content Rules book, written by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman (Founder, Digital Dads). It was the material in this book that helped create the Content Revolution Tour and the subsequent topics I would learn about in the workshop.
I was actually presented with this book a few weeks prior the workshop by my boss, Tim. He suggested I start reading it because he really enjoyed it and thought it might benefit my work as a Mightybytes content developer. I managed to get through roughly 30% of it already, but was anxious to see what important topics Ann and Becki would touch on specifically.
Here are three of my favorite short and simple take-aways from the workshop in regards to building a successful content marketing program. Some of this material is also supported with excerpts from the book.
Build a Campfire
In this case, building a campfire is a metaphor for building up content. In order to have a successful campfire, you need to start out small with ignitable tinder and eventually add more and more wood until you have a big ‘ole roaring fire. It’s the same with content. With so many channels, outlets, and types of content these days, “it is essential to establish a solid foundation for your content strategy rather than randomly gathering content and hoping it all ignites in the end.” (p. 97)
Ann and Becki mentioned that Proctor & Gamble’s “Man of the House” website is a great example of how to build a successful campfire. Since Proctor & Gamble – one of the largest companies in the world - already had an established foundation, they went on to found this website that is geared towards the “real man revolution.” The site is unbelievably great because it contains engaging content and does a phenomenal job of creating an open community for “men helping other men become better men.” I emailed the website to my father (even though I’m not sure he could become a better man). Much love Dad!
Do Something Unexpected
It’s important as a company to be able to shake things up a bit with your content. Perhaps all of your content is written? Well, make some videos, record a podcast, or input some photo slideshows! If you make an effort with trying to be more creative without going overboard, your readers will notice this and respect you for it. In this process, you might also learn new skills and become more marketable, professionally.
Ann and Becki had a perfect example with Agilent’s “Puppet Chemistry” video. The company is actually one of the world’s premiere measurement companies, meaning that they make products like Atomic Spectroscopies, Bioanalyzers, and Liquid Chromatographers.
Uhh, excuse me?
So yeah, you’d think that they would have a hard time trying to come up with engaging and creative content for their products? Well, think again!
By creating this video, Agilent showcases the ability for a company (who realizes that their products are not that, how can I put this, exhilarating?) to be humorous and make fun of themselves. I personally think this video is hilarious, and it involves puppets for goodness sake! Yes, puppets.
It is absolutely crucial that when creating content, to write it in a manner that reflects the way you talk. Remember, you’re writing to humans, not robots. So many websites out there still have horrible, robotic content. Check out this example that was showcased in Content Rules:
Communicative Health Care Associates (CHCA) specializes in full speech-language diagnostic services, therapeutic care, and hearing screenings and through our division, Allied Rehabilitation Associates (ARA), we offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary rehabilitation services including physical and occupational therapies. (p. 32-33)
Wake me when it’s over, will ya? In the above content, important qualities like personality, tone, and voice that engage readers are non-existent. Instead, they are replaced with technical terms that many people might not understand. Don’t be that company, okay? Remember to relax. Your voice should be natural, loose, and direct. (p. 35)
As a magazine journalism major, it felt great hearing that both Ann and Becki came from journalism backgrounds before making the switch into marketing. I had the opportunity to speak with Becki afterwards, and she mentioned that many marketing companies are hiring journalists because of their talent to write creatively and their experience with researching a wide variety of topics.
If you haven’t already, please check out the Content Rules book. It is my new bible for writing great content, and I can’t wait to take what I learn from this book and incorporate it into content for my company and our clients.
Creating engaging online content is a must for any marketing-savvy company that wants to get the most from their online endeavors. What are you doing to create truly compelling stories? Let me know in a comment.