There has been no shortage of posts and articles regarding the onslaught of content in all areas of marketing. Yes, everyone’s a publisher. We are all competing for attention with the Googles and LinkedIns of the world. But what’s on my mind is this: Are we, as content marketers, creative enough with our stories and our distribution options? Do we do the same things our competitors are doing? Are we just trying to tell the same story incrementally better? Shouldn’t we look to carve out something new?
Peter Theil, co-founder of PayPal (with Elon Musk) and Facebook’s first outside investor, believes that most businesses copy other businesses, and thus fail. “Figure out something that nobody else is doing and look to create a monopoly in some area that’s been underdeveloped,” he says. “Find a problem nobody else is solving.”
Yes, Theil is specifically talking about entrepreneurs, but the same goes for content marketers. We need to get more creative. We need to truly focus on our niche audiences and provide hyper-targeted and relevant content. We also need to rethink our distribution.
Here are a few ideas that may help:
Rethink podcasts and books
In the latest Content Marketing Institute/ADMA content marketing research on Australian marketers, we looked at the gap between what effective marketers do compared to ineffective marketers. The biggest surprise to me came in two nontraditional packages. Effective content marketers are seeing amazing results in both podcasts and printed books. Of course, these two are not at the top of marketers’ usage list; 22 per cent leverage books while just 24 per cent leverage podcasts. I smell an opportunity here to get in before the rush.
Kick a few platforms to the curb
The average Australian company creates content for six (yes, six) different social-media sites. How can an enterprise dominate a content-marketing niche by focusing on so many channels? I don’t believe this can be done effectively. Dump the underperformers. Initially, the thought for enterprises was to have a presence on all social platforms. I believe this is bad advice. It’s more important for us to develop amazing content that our consumers will share on their platform of choice than to develop content for a specific platform (some social experts are gasping as I write this.) Focus is king in content marketing. If you are not a leader on a particular platform where your audience is, it’s time to adjust the strategy. Double down on what works.
Print is hot
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but print is cool again. Marketers who look to cut through the clutter are finding sanctuary in print. For example, I had no idea what or who Chango was until I received this amazing magazine, The Programmatic Mind. I would never have come across any of Chango’s content online. But they got my attention with this well-designed and extremely relevant print magazine around programmatic advertising, an issue that is becoming increasingly important in the native advertising space. But don’t take my word for it. Our survey results reflect print’s value too. This was the first year in a long time when the use of print magazines did not go down. Some marketers are obviously paying attention.
M&A is real
We have our examples from the past. Adorama, the photography supply store, bought the photography enthusiast JPG magazine. L’Oreal purchased Makeup.com. These are outliers, but content M&A activity is on its way to becoming trendy. Just recently, I had a discussion with an APAC CMO for a Fortune 1000 company who is actively looking to purchase media properties where the company can associate itself with active subscriber bases. Where are your customers hanging out on the web? Yes, we have a choice to build the content factory, but we also have the choice to purchase it. I smell BIG opportunity.
Joe Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, which partners with Haymarket on the upcoming Content Marketing Sydney (16-18 March, 2015) and Content Marketing Singapore (19-20 March, 2015).