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How Great Content is the Key to Better Ad Performance

Randy Wootton, the CEO of Percolate, recently penned an article for Forbes on how content has become king (or queen) in the advertising landscape. What Wootton points out so wisely and obviously, but that many marketers miss, is that everything you are advertising is “content,” from ads to the intro paragraph on your website. There is a big difference between content and “copy”—content should tell a story. It might seem easy to write ad copy, but ads that actually are part of the overarching narrative of your brands or products? That takes a little more thought. Here is how to think about all of your marketing as content to drive better experiences that result in better outcomes.

1. Identify your audiences

Don’t just think of your audiences as customers and prospects. You have current employees, future employees, partners, journalists, influencers and more. You should be trying to reach all of them with a specific storyline. Plot your value prop and key messages across each audience. And then from there, build out a messaging strategy to start developing specific content ideas.

2. Identify who and what you want to tell stories about

Don’t just think about your products when developing content. You should be able to weave stories around your actual offerings, even if they’re something “dry” like B2B software—maybe your technology has a lovable name or avatar or someone dresses up like it each year for Halloween or the company anniversary. But don’t neglect the people component. Maybe you hire a lot of engineers from abroad and have cultivated a wonderful multi-national culture that is a selling point for recruitment. Maybe there are even individuals with powerful stories to highlight—someone who grew up in poverty who is now an executive, a single mother who rewrote your flexible work policy.

3. Identify your formats

Not everything has to be written. Video, audio, animated graphic, ebook—it’s all up for grabs and it can all have paid advertising run against it. If you are low on content writers but your in-house designer is a pro with a camera, consider focusing on video over written. Or create Canva tiles for social posts so you can have them ready to go in advance if you have no full-time social media strategist.

4. Identify your channels for dissemination

You don’t have to do “everything.” Yes, blogs are standard these days. But you don’t have to do every social channel. You can reach your multiple audiences via a few different channels. For instance, on a medium like Twitter, you can sponsor ads that support your narrative and target each of your audiences. You can segment your blog and website for these difference audiences, have difference segments in your email system.

5. Identify your cadence

So you have a bunch of audiences, a bunch of stories, a bunch of formats and a bunch of channels. How do you manage and schedule it all? Consider a few bigger campaigns you’ll want to run throughout the year and how their related assets can be used in between to keep your narrative going without having to create new content. The key is consistency—you don’t want to start out posting a blog post every other day, for instance, and then drop to once a month. It’s not just bad for search results, but it’s bad for brand awareness. Commit to a schedule you can actually stick to.

Photo from Creative Commons

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