First published Digital Strategy Conference blog, authored by Tara Dong: Lover of learning, coffee and all things digital. Social media junkie, digital strategy consultant, SFU instructor and raiser of super heroes with puppy breath. Want to know more about me? Visit spryberry.co
When I read through a conference line-up and see a name such as Ann Handley, that same little part of my brain lights up like it does when I find out my favourite shoe store is having a sale. The cynic in me then says: the deals won’t be THAT good, they won’t have my size left, I’m sure she just has a great content strategy and PR team. Well folks, the woman ahead of me in line just handed me the last pair of boots I was lusting after. In my size. At 95% off.
Ann dove into Dear Diary: A Content Marketing Makeover with an terrifyingly accurate representation of my day. She claims that this is a fictional marketer character, and I appreciated her use of a highly attractive model standing looking wistful and lost in a field…rather than one of me (covered in mud and pulling out my hair).
Dear Diary: Today I created a blog post and I tweeted four times. No one commented or retweeted me. I felt alone, especially when I went to my company Facebook page, and saw that my PTAT score is -42. How is that even possible? Only our Google+ is hopping. (Ha! Just kidding)
We emulate publishers, but the question is:
Are publishers the ones to emulate?
We can borrow much from what we know about publishing and modify it, but it’s not enough to be a publisher anymore. We need to give it a makeover:
- Focus on empathy and experiences instead of articles and blog posts
- Focus on relevance and inspiration
- Focus on useful
Useful x Empathy x Inspired = Great Content
The multiplication sign here is key, because if any of the three elements is zero, the result is ZERO.
I know, it’s easy for Ann to say this, but how do I know if I’m inspired (My mother thinks I’m brilliant – does that count?)? Fortunately she provided us with an easy to follow list of questions to ask to ensure that you’re useful, empathetic and inspired.
- Who do you want to reach?
- What value do you want to give?
- What do you want them to do next?
- “Will my customers thank me for this content?”
If so, then you know you are doing it right.
And so began a wonderful wander through examples from what best-in-class marketers are doing to create content.
Pillar Properties, an apartment rental firm in Seattle, is getting it right. Check out their development, The Lyric. They are providing real content that is useful, empathetic and inspired. They are using a lot of “you and yours” and not “us and them”. They are sharing about the community, and in it they are building community.
Don Murray, Author of Lessons from America’s Greatest Writing Teacher puts it this way, “Does what you’re delivering to your reader make them say: ‘Now listen to this, Ira!’?”
Wistia, a video marketing platform demonstrates both through their initial series, “Top Hat Tuesdays” and its deconstruction demonstrate a profound level of mastering Ann’s formula.
Levenfeld Pearlstein, a law firm, asked their employees revealing questions like “what did you want to be when you were a little girl” “If you could time travel where would you go?” telling the inner story of their people.
How do you do this?
- Tell stories about people
- Use fun language (“Don’t want to sign up for our email list? It’s ok, but you’re breaking our hearts”)
- make a commitment to think about things differently
What about SEO, does it matter?
Relieved to hear that the best SEO strategy is to "write content for humans". @annhandley #dstrategy
— Annie Mullins (@anncouver) April 30, 2014
The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing,
it feels like content.
Be sure to ask for an Indigo or Chapters card for your birthday because Ann is releasing a new book in August: Everybody Writes: Your essential guide to publishing content you’ll be ridiculous proud of.
About the author: Tara Dong
Lover of learning, coffee and all things digital. Social media junkie, digital strategy consultant, SFU instructor and raiser of super heroes with puppy breath. Want to know more about me? Visit spryberry.co
~ Tara Dong ~