Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Key Message Is Dead: Hail Content Marketing

There is fat chance anyone is listening to your carefully crafted,
committee approved, centrally delivered key messages.  

A friend recently asked me "isn't content marketing what we've always done?"

In a way she's right.  Communicators have long practiced elements of content marketing -  messaging, knowing audiences, distributing information etc.   The difference now is social media,the mega paradigm-buster.

Social media has accelerated information delivery to breakneck speed. Everyone potentially has a publishing platform for their opinions, and all of us can precisely choose what information we let into our lives and what we block.

No one is dependent on what you say.  We are outrageously spoiled for choice when it comes to information and we can choose where we get it, when and how.

Let's say your company, not for profit or agency tells me something.  Instantly I can go online to check its accuracy or access a staggering volume of contending data, commentary or analysis.  Many hierarchical organisations particularly government bodies still find it difficult to accept that the logo on your letterhead adds little authority to their arguments. 

You can longer claim sole expertise based on who you are.  Google has made all of us experts ... or at least let us think we are.

There is a fundamental difference between old style PR and content marketing.  And it is this: unless we are prepared to provide audiences with information that is helpful, entertaining or both, we stand little chance of connecting with, let alone persuading them. 

The era of the one-way key message blasted from the hierarchical bunker is dead.  Perhaps it served us well in the past.  But today people want dialogue not monologue.  There is fat chance anyone is listening to your carefully crafted, committee approved, centrally delivered key messages.  

Listening, continuously offering valuable insights helping those we need to reach, shared conversation and letting others own your topic hold today's keys to successfully reaching customers, clients and citizens. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Creating Compelling Content For Footall Fans

 When Hawthorn player Cyril Rioli spectacularly marked a football last year he did so in the heat of the moment, for the team, for the game.

But Rioli's effort also provided a rich source of content for the 100 plus communications staff  employed by the Australian Football League (AFL).  

The flying mark, a unique feature of Australia's own football code, is a highly visual demonstration of the game's  athleticism.  

The communications staff quickly seized the Rioli moment as a content marketing opportunity to spread the imagery across its own multiple platforms and make sure it was talked about in bars, clubs and taxis throughout the football world.. 

The League's own online commentary team endlessly talked about it, the imagery was available to fans on their mobile phones and it was plastered across the official website which attracts 3.2 million unique visits every month.

The AFL is one of Australia's pioneers in content marketingThroughout the coming 2013 season the League and its clubs plan to offer fans a rich sporting smorgasbord of:
  • Scores and game highlights
  • Breaking news gathered by its in-house journalists 
  • Videos, images, ladders, tables, ratings and other graphics
  • Game analysis from its commentary teams
  • Online and on demand TV shows
  • Audio captured from the training park and after the final siren 
  • Player profiles and bios
  • Historical information and quirky insights
  • Fan comment
  • endless lists categorizing players, game highlights and other data in endless ways
This season the football playbooks will be matched by the content marketing playbooks of the AFL's marketers  singularly  focused on using compelling content to drive fan loyalty.

Thanks to a presentation by AFL Head of Content Matt Pinkney
at the recent Content Marketing World conference in Sydney. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

How To Succeed In Change Management

Changing behaviour in organisations is one of the toughest challenges communicators face. IABC Canberra presenter Tina Chawner recently offered insights on the subject based on her UK experiences.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Media Success for Sporting Clubs

  My recent presentation to 23 sporting clubs in Australia's national capital, Canberra. The seminar was sponsored by the ACT Government's sports and recreation program.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

6 Smarter Ways to Market in a Flat Economy

Baer spoke on content marketing in Sydney
At the recent Content Marketing World Conference US author Jay Baer unpacked his concept of Youtility: marketing so helpful customers would be willing to pay for it.   

And Youtility is what can make you stand out in a flat economyParticularly when people have limited money, short attention spans, an overabundance of information and are spoiled for choice. 

It used to be salespeople provided information then closed the sale with customers relying on them for product knowledge.  Now their job is to close the sale with savvy customers armed with online research and willing to move on if they feel something is not right.   

The role of the marketer is also transitioning - from hyping products to helping customers - offering accessible and timely information that will help their customers make decisions and become brand loyalists.

Jay outlined six steps to build a content marketing strategy to set you apart in a tight economy:

  • Discover customer needs through market research, keyword search, social chatter etc.
  • Map those needs to a specific service or product your organisation has.
  • Develop user-friendly information around that product through case studies, tools, tips, apps, videos and other devices.
  • Distribute and then market that content through the channels where your customers live.
  • Skill your staff to continually come up with information to help customers.

Most importantly recognise that helping customers is a process not a program and marketing today is a marathon not a sprint.  

Other posts:

The age of content is new again 

Four ways to drive content marketing


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Age of Content Is Here (Again)

 Content marketing is not new.  

That's the conclusion from day one of Sydney's Content Marketing World Conference where communicators explored the topic from Australian and US perspectives.  

Yes although the term may be recent, content marketing has been around since we were cave dwellers. The fact is we have always shared information with others - passing along knowledge, helping out and warning of danger.

But today organizations face an urgency to provide content to customers, citizens or clients at a time when they are less inclined than ever to pay attention.  Unless you provide something that entertains or informs people about issues they need to know or care about, your message blurs into the background noise of life. 

That's because:

  • All of us suffer information overload.  Too many people want our attention and often for their reasons not ours.
  • Traditional media models are broke.  They are being pushed aside by new communication platforms which arrive with ever faster speed and can be so very distracting.
  • People now openly mistrust brands, governments and other sources of traditional information unless they have a positive relationship with them.
So if you want attention, you - or someone you trust - must provide information that genuinely helps your audiencewhen they need your information not when you choose to deliver it. 

Content marketing may not be new but it can be challenging particularity for old school organizations wedded to blasting messages to their communities. 

See earlier post