A Content Marketing Framework To Cut Through The Noise
CEO at RightMetric, a marketing research & insights provider that helps consumer brands and agencies build winning digital strategies.
As marketers, we've all heard the phrase "content is king," and there's plenty of evidence to back it. Content marketing is a core piece of an effective marketing strategy today. Content marketing is a necessary facet of earning the attention of audiences for brands, and it helps engage potential customers by informing, inspiring, educating and entertaining them.
Despite this, competition is higher than ever for audience attention, and conceptualizing and producing meaningful content that will land with your brand's target audience can be incredibly challenging. While being introspective and reviewing your own brand's past content-related activities and impact is a necessary practice for continuous evolution, that does not mean what you've done previously will continue to drive impact just because it worked before. The question then becomes one of how your brand avoids repetitive and stale messaging, while also taking risks on content innovation that doesn't totally flop.
What's necessary is to identify content opportunities in the existing white space that will help you innovate while also appealing to your audience. With the right framework in place, your brand can conceptualize and produce the right content at the right time to engage your existing audience and earn the attention of new potential consumers.
The Challenge and Opportunity of Content Marketing
Now all of this sounds easy in theory, but it's worth noting that effective content marketing isn't easy. It's indisputable that different content formats and types vary in effectiveness depending on the digital platform that your brand is focused on. On top of that, audience preferences on different platforms are constantly shifting, which adds another layer of difficulty to us as marketing strategists. This ultimately has led brands to find themselves struggling to keep up with consumers and produce effective content that contributes to relevant objectives across their different digital channels.
However, this task is not impossible. There's a framework that can help tackle this struggle, regardless of the brand, industry or digital platform. To start, it helps you find ideas that may be fresh for your brand but that are already resonating with your target audience. Additionally, it allows you to actively avoid topics that your audience dislikes or that your competitors have overdone. Finally, the framework differentiates by social platform, meaning you will be equipped to understand how white space is best utilized regardless of platform.
Seems too simple, doesn't it? The truth is that the framework is truly that straightforward. Before we cover the framework, let me walk you through an example of how I put this to work. In my previous life, I worked in digital marketing at Red Bull, and it's no secret that the brand has built a reputation for creating incredible content — and a lot of it at that. In order to maintain a consistent flow of content to our audiences, we needed to have a way to ensure that what we were producing would resonate and drive impact with the intended audience. With some teamwork and creativity, we came up with the Raw 100 concept, a video format that was exactly 100 seconds long, free of music and free of slow-motion video. This devised content format has since generated over 100 million views. And the best part is that we did it by using a simplified version of the framework I'm about to share with you.
Now that you know the power of the framework, let's dig into how to actually implement it.
1. Measure high-performing content. To begin, we measure. This means measuring those content pieces that are performing best in your brand's category. Applicable metrics for this include video views, engagement volume, engagement rate percentage and shares. There are many tools out there that can be helpful with this, such as Semrush or Unmetric to name a couple. Once you have this data, you can then categorize these existing posts into meaningful themes. Naturally, patterns will begin to emerge, showing what is currently resonating with the audience. Note: While it would be great to outsource this to software, that won't work for this process. The "themes" we are discussing are too nuanced to be parsed without human intervention.
2. Repeat with key competitors. Duplicate this process, but with the content of your primary competitors. When you start to see patterns, you'll notice that these themes are those that your competitors are already saturating in the market.
3. Review your content themes. Now that you know what your competitors are up to, review your own list of content themes. This will help you identify items that are resonating with the audience and are not oversaturated by your competitors. The content that meets those two criteria are the white space opportunities you and every content strategist you know are seeking.
4. Repeat as necessary. Use this process on every social platform of concern for your brand and audience. This will allow you to be intentional and nuanced, while also having a differing strategy across all of your relevant social channels.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, and I'd be lying to you if I said it was super easy. This process takes time, but it is worth it because earning someone's attention online is incredibly competitive. Don't believe me? As consumers, we all love content, and the statistics back that up. According to Statista, more than 500 hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube. If you multiply 500 hours by 60 minutes, that's 30,000 hours of new video content per hour and 720,000 hours of video uploaded per day.
While content marketing can be laborious, having a strong and impactful content strategy that cuts through the noise is possible, even in these times where the competition is highest. My team has leveraged this framework over and over again to great success for many leading brands, and your brand will undoubtedly be no different. Once you've implemented this strategy, you will have repeatable and engaging content for all of your key channels.