During all my encounters with content marketers, the same question kept popping up: how can I make my content stand out, make it more remarkable? In almost every industry, companies are investing heavily in content marketing. But as it turns out, all these companies are doing the same: creating some sort of FAQ page based on extensive keyword analysis.
In Google Search, brands are hopping over each other and the only solution to be on top seems to spit out even more content.
Luckily, there’s a better way.
Producing quality content, that’s what it’s all about. But extraordinary content doesn’t come cheap, so you better make sure to get the most out of your effort and investment. This can be done by publishing your content cross-media and in different ways.
With these 9 tips, you’ll have the complete recipe to create your own remarkable content.
1. Make Choices
Don’t try to know a little about everything, but instead, make sure you’re the best at one specific field. In the traveling business, for example, where everyone offers the same and are boxing for a few percentages, Mr & Mrs Smith suggests places starting from the desire of a specific customer: one who likes to spend their vacation in luxurious surroundings.
Think well and thoroughly about your sweet spot, and then go for it 100%. If you have a broad scope, break it down into different fields of interest. This way you’ll increase your content relevancy.
2. Reduce and enhance
What’s most important: having a busy content calendar or being noticed through remarkable content?
Every department in your business is dying to publish something about their amazing new process. Sounds familiar? But is your audience really looking forward to that?
Be selective and try to reduce your volume by 25%. Instead, make sure that your content doubles in value.
3. Think past useful
Useful is anticipating to questions people are already asking. You can discover what your audience is thinking by gathering feedback with one of the many tools and subsequently write remarkable content based on those insights.
But what about questions people are not thinking of yet? Or the ones to which it is impossible to anticipate because the trend has yet to be established?
Online fashion retailer Mr. Porter takes this particularly serious. Their weekly magazine offers fresh, unexpected stories which could easily blend into a magazine such as Vogue Magazine.
4. Tell stories
People don’t want to read about your brand.
Look at your product or market from a distance, turn it upside down, inside out, and make it interesting to your audience: what triggers their interest and reinforces your brand at the same time?
Patagonia is a brand which has been committed to living more in sync with nature. The stories surpass their product offering and tell you what they’re about.
In ‘The Refuge’ they even take on a very expressive point of view, where they stand up for the Gwich’in population in Alaska, which is being threatened by Donald Trump’s controversial pipeline.
5. Use data
You can use data in two ways: to figure out what people are looking for online, or to adjust your content to your reader.
On the marketing related blog of IBM, Think Marketing, content is managed by the virtual robot Watson.
This robot analyses your reading behavior and engagement with the site and based on that data it serves you the most interesting content.
There are a million ways to tell the same story. Why would I read yours?
Because it feels authentic.
Because you use a creative point of view which renders it different than all other stories in your context.
Because your production is so spot-on I absolutely want to see and share it with everyone I know.
Time and time again I’m charmed by Airbnb’s content. Their business model has been copied many times, but they still stand out because of their unique approach.
Their website shows a whole range of experiences linked to their available destinations. What do you think of a ‘bikes & bites’ tour through Harlem by Maxine or Hanif’s ‘flavors of Iran’ lunch? Remarkable content delivered in an original way.
7. Make sure you’re found and seen
Putting your SEO optimized content out there and patiently waiting isn’t enough anymore.
In countries such as the USA 20% of the budget goes to content creation, the other 80% goes to distribution and promotion. The rest of the world is inevitably heading that way as well.
That’s why the best way to be found and seen is:
Invest in building your audience;
Use a head-on approach with your content;
Build a network of influencers and ambassadors to share your remarkable content;
Find clever ways to get your content to your audience through owned, paid and earned media.
Write different tweets about the new piece, make sure the video appears in numerous articles and is put on different platforms. Don’t forget to update your most successful pieces once in a while.
9. Dare to be different
Brands will have to leave the familiar path and take risks in order to succeed at connecting with their audience and build a strong fanbase.
Content marketing is maturing, not only your competitor, but many related players are entering the terrain. With sharp, well-thought-out content you can easily surpass the biggest brands. If you want to be among this vanguard, you’ll have to kick it up a notch.
Koen Denolf is an author, speaker and content strategist at The Fat Lady, an agency where content and advertising meet. His biggest credo is that all communication should add value.