In the society we live in, we are constantly in competition with thousands, millions, or even billions of other people to fulfill certain goals in our personal and professional lives. It’s no surprise to hear that within a world filled with 7 billion people, there are many individuals who have an insatiable need to strive for uniqueness. Thanks to the rise of the internet and the digital marketplace it has created, this notion has never been truer.
Today, we do business in a world driven by digital marketing and more specifically, digital content. The websites that get listed in your organic results when you perform a search online are all based on the effectiveness of someone else’s digital SEO campaign. The digital ads that pop up on your screen are all based on how much money certain companies spend on paid advertising such as pay per click. Even when you are watching videos or reading a blog article, you may be secretly getting coerced by well-placed subliminal ads from certain sponsors. If you are a business owner, then it is likely that you know of at least some of these techniques and hope to put your own spin on them to create a completely unique approach to digital marketing.
It’s a nice idea, but easier said than done…
Remember those 7 billion+ other people living on the planet with you? Well, just when you think you have stumbled onto a content marketing idea that you believe to be unique, the odds are that dozens of other savvy business people have already had the same epiphany. Don’t get discouraged, your innovations should never be ignored, even if they turn out not to be as unique as you think they are! At the same time, there is no reason to spend 100% of your time and money striving for originality when you can simply borrow the best content marketing ideas already in practice. So stop racking your brain for just a minute and absorb a few of these borrowed concepts instead!
This idea from Ann Handley who is the Chief Content Officer working at MarketingProfs entails shaping each story that you tell to cater to certain personas depending on the delivery channel. This is a stark contrast to simply repackaging content because instead of rehashing the same exact idea, you can take the same base elements to create something new and extraordinary.
SAS (A business analytics software company) has built on this idea by organizing content meetings once a week; a concept any organization could utilize. Their massive content marketing team touches on everything from email marketing to SEO to HR, with separate vacuums for each. Yet, by having weekly meetings, content is re-imagined far easier, branding is unified, and nothing is ever duplicated (even on a massive scale).
Creating a Content Product That Mirrors Perfection
Serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis came up with this idea by describing ‘perfect content products’ using five characteristics:
Real-time – Stay in the now and stay away from bending timelines.
Fact-driven – Don’t embellish, don’t tell white lies, and use (clearly labeled) opinions sparingly.
Visual – paint a picture with words and then embellish on it with real visual data like photos and infographics.
Efficient – Keep the audience engaged, but don’t flower up your content or go off on tangents.
Curated – Select, organize, and present your content with authority. Always have a plan for keeping each piece alive longterm.
Many of the top websites worldwide recognize this code and because it is easy to follow, you could easily adapt these principles as well. You can even apply these ideas to your social media presence since operating in this atmosphere becomes far more effective by following the code to deliver useful, interesting, and helpful content that solve mysteries, problems, and pain points affecting your customers.
Social Media 411
Andrew Davis, who is the author of Brandscaping, developed Social Media 411 to be used as a sharing system to create greater visibility within social landscapes amongst influencers. In principle, for each six content items shared via social network, four should be from your target influencer while still remaining relevant to the audience, one should be promotional or sales related (such a coupon), and the other should be an original piece of content created to educate your audience. It’s a simple formula to help keep your content varied and presented in the right fashion.
Mistakes and Useless Processes
Acknowledging your mistakes is important because if you think you are not making any, then the chances are that you are just not taking enough risks. This makes it easy to fall into a lull of ineffective processes which author Peter Drucker has identified as the useless notion of executing tasks efficiently that should not be done in the first place. Being stuck in a comfort zone will never allow you to take your business to the next level. Instead, you must cease processes that have become ineffective, even if it seems scary.
This idea was developed by Todd Wheatland who is the VP of Thought Leadership at the billion dollar HR outsourcing giant Kelly Services. Wheatland decided to monitor keyword variations to pull the story ideas derived from them to produce 20 unique content pieces. These are not limited to simple blog posts, white papers, or emails. Instead, all sorts of unique content is adapted including infographics, Slide-Share presentations, research reports, and even eBooks which are all delivered from every new brainstorm.
Content: Codeword for Communication
This last idea is close to home as it comes from Molloy Business Development Group’s founder and CEO Dan Molloy. Since starting the company more than a decade ago, Molloy and his team have analyzed more than 60,000 business sales conversations. Their findings show that while the majority of people know how to talk about ‘the technology’ and ‘the data’, more than 95% lack the skills needed for effective communication. Furthermore, Molloy BDG understands that each piece of digital content published is nothing more than half of a conversation waiting to be answered by potential customers. In all facets of business, building trust and generating action become the cornerstones of producing commerce. This means that beneath the SEO, META tags, and other technical aspects of any published content, the author must strive to make the context of each piece meaningful to the reader in a way that educates them while conveying both passion and intent. This can act as a call to action, motivating readers to call or visit the business and ultimately become long term customers.
Does the presence of all these great ideas mean giving up on the dream of making a unique digital marketing breakthrough?
The short answer is no. The bottom line is that you likely got into the digital marketing game as an innovator with a dream of creating a new break-through methodology for delivering content. Don’t give up on it! However, there is no reason to sit idle in the meantime either. Also remember that the ideas highlighted above are a chosen exceptional few in a sea of many. By borrowing any of these great techniques (or others that you feel would work better for your business), you will always have the framework for creating an effective digital marketing campaign while you continue to strive for greatness through originality.