Earlier this month, Gilad de Vries (@giladdevries) of content marketing tech startup Outbrain spoke to Triangle AMA in Raleigh. He shared why content marketing is an important tool for us as marketers, and how we can get started.
Mindset changes for marketing agencies (and their clients)
If traditional advertising agencies are to succeed in content marketing, Gilad highlighted several mindset changes they’ll need to make:
- From Push to Pull
- From Advertising to Marketing
- From Campaigns to Always On
- From Sprints to a Marathon
- From Big Ideas to small insights
7 top tips on content marketing
As I help hesketh.com implement a content marketing strategy for our agency, these were my seven favorite points:
1) The brand should NOT be front and center.
- See RedBullUSA.com — it’s hard to find a reference to the actual product. Instead, the site is like ESPN for extreme sports. Red Bull focuses on event marketing, so the site is all about the events, not the drink.
- The tablespoon.com recipe site is from General Mills, but the brand isn’t the focus.
- Although the logo’s more obvious at KraftRecipes.com, the site has received 20,000 recipe submissions from users — not bad, considering it has 30,000 recipes altogether.
- And Procter & Gamble pays attention to its numerous segments — P&G has 1,700 content marketing sites, in 35 languages.
2) Create a new category.
eSalon created a new category, custom at-home hair coloring.
- If your market is too crowded, see how you can define a new category or sub-category.
3) Don’t skimp on content design.
But remember it’s for your users, not you.
- A busy, cluttered site may not appeal to someone in their 40s but may well appeal to a 20-something target consumer.
4) Don’t out-think your audience.
For instance, don’t change or take down content that’s already online. Build on it.
- Some users want timely content; others want evergreen content. They’ll find it.
5) Add a fourth bucket to agencies.
Media agencies are often split into three buckets — social, search, and display.
- Gilad believes agencies need to add a fourth bucket — content, which is where most of the brand dollars will go online.
An audience member asked for help convincing her CMO to do content marketing.
- Gilad shared how the book has great info on MVP (minimum viable product), intrapreneurship, and iterate-and-pivot, which can all help her make the case internally.
- If you have cash but not writing resources, a service like Contently lets you build an editorial calendar and then get articles from a network of bloggers (which you then own, as work-for-hire).
7) Find more resources online.
In the Q&A, I asked Gilad about resources on content design.
- For content design and other content marketing topics, Gilad recommended the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). [Note: I especially like CMI's "10 Must-Have Templates for Content Marketers"]
- And, not surprisingly, Outbrain has its own content marketing blog, too.
Using content marketing at your job
I realized I’d already seen Outbrain’s content marketing work already. Sure enough, when I went home and checked the “more from around the web” boxes on several sites, they were all powered by Outbrain (look for a “?” link). I was surprised to learn from Gilad that their below-the-fold widget gets a 6.5% click-through rate, which you’d never see in traditional online ads.
The part about defining a new category got me thinking — hesketh.com specializes in websites and online marketing for non-profits and other mission-based organizations. In theory, it’s easier for us to do content marketing than a general agency, since our market is more narrowly focused.
I’m looking forward to applying what I learned, including what I’ve been reading at the Content Marketing Institute. And I bet you have some new ideas, too.
Question: What’s your favorite tip for content marketing? You can leave a comment by clicking here.