On average, content marketers spend 33 hours per week creating content. That’s what more than 100 marketers told us as part of Casted’s “State of the Content Marketer” report. With the 7 hours they have left in their workweek, marketers somehow have to fit in their many other responsibilities, such as managing campaigns and vendors, acting as a media liaison and even handling agency communications. When audiences showed an interest in video and audio, content marketers added those tasks to their plate, too. But, it all comes at a cost.
That cost is, in part, a shift away from creating work to please, delight, intrigue and motivate your audience. All those blog posts, videos and social media posts have slowly drifted toward another goal: higher SERP ranking, feeding the engines with quantity at the expense of quality. But what’s the alternative? Most content marketers would tell you they must do it all. They’ve got to churn out more new content all the time with the hope that the more they make, the better chance of getting some eyes on it. Audiences now find themselves in a market crowded with mediocre options — they’re touted as one-size-fits-all, but by aiming to reach everyone, the content doesn’t really reach anyone.
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Expectations have never been higher.
Something’s gotta give. How much new, high-quality content can you produce at a breakneck pace before you lose the battle and slowly slide into a “good enough to go live” outlook? Once you’re there, it’s all downhill. Your work can’t inspire you. With a focus on quantity over all, you lose sight of your audience. And they can tell.
Today’s audience expects more than ever — I call it Netflix-ization. Everywhere your audience watches, listens and reads, they’re looking for the best. They want a high-quality experience that’s creative, fun, helpful, interesting and feels like it was made just for them. They’re savvy, too, which means they know when what you’re dishing out is a thinly veiled ad, and they’ll close the tab.
How are you going to compete with all that other content — and believe me, you’re competing with everyone for the time and attention of your audience — when you’re just throwing together what you can, hitting “post” and hurtling toward the next piece on your list? You need a better strategy: one that takes advantage of the great content you’ve already made, centers on creating a real connection with your audience and helps you show the value of your work outside the walls of the marketing department. You need an amplified marketing strategy.
Bring the focus back to your audience.
Amplified marketing is a way to get your precious time back and return to your focus: creativity and connection, in service to your greatest priority, your audience. And it doesn’t stop there, because it’s designed to incorporate tools that show you what’s performing well with that audience so you can give them more of what they want and demonstrate the value of your work. You can do it all without losing your mind in the race for quantity.
So, where do you start? Think about your audience. What do they want to know? What do they care about, want to learn about? What questions do they need answered, and how can you inspire them? Before you do anything else, answer these questions.
Find the right person.
Now you’ve got an idea of what your audience wants, a list of topics, questions and interests that’s burning a hole in your pocket. Good. The next step is the most important. It’s what will make your content stand out, make the most of your time and renew your commitment to the kind of high-quality work you want to make but never think you can afford to. Find the best person to speak to the needs and interests of your audience.
You’re looking for someone with experience, enthusiasm, knowledge and passion for sharing their insights. Maybe it’s an expert who can break down an opaque topic. Maybe it’s a veteran of the field who has stories and wisdom to share. Maybe it’s someone who made a big mistake and lived to tell. Whoever it is, their expertise will breathe life into your content. Instead of researching a handful of topics and writing blog posts with the limited resources you can find, tap into people to foster a connection with your audience.
Once you’ve found the right person, have a conversation and record it. It sounds simple because it is. That conversation can come in the form of a podcast, a webinar, a virtual video chat or even a live event. Use whatever equipment you’ve got: Teams, Zoom, Skype or simple gear for an in-person conversation. However you decide to talk, make it a rich, meaningful conversation by seeking out answers to your audience’s burning questions, digging deeper for solutions to their problems, introducing unexpected directions and teasing out fresh perspectives. Do it all with a focus on how the dialogue will serve your audience.
Now that you’ve found an insightful voice and captured a relevant conversation, you’ve got to share it. But don’t just share it once and move on. That’s how you got into this mess, spending time and energy on a blog post or an email only to change directions entirely, starting with a blank screen and a ticking clock.
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Amplify that conversation.
Share that deep conversation over and over, in lots of different forms. Use the creative, connective video and audio as fuel for a whole suite of content that appeals to your audience and connects to your past work, pushing the conversation forward with a variety of posts that take advantage of the best moments you gleaned from that expert voice.
The process of squeezing out that goodness instead of spinning your wheels to find the next thing is at the heart of an amplified marketing strategy. You’re making sure your audience gets every drop of value out of the rich content you made. As part of that process, you’re also solving the quantity/quality dilemma. With an amplified marketing approach, your podcast can be broken into key moments that become video or audio clips in social media posts. Or embedded in an email campaign. You can use the transcript of a webinar to build a series of blog posts with short, embedded videos that lead back to that rich conversation.
And when I say share it over and over, I mean don’t ever stop. With the right tools, you can reach back into all your content: video, audio, even written content. Search for something great you created and then forgot about, some blog post or interview that ties into the next conversation. Don’t be afraid to revisit gems you know your audience will love in a new form! By treating your creative, connective work as building blocks, you can save time without sacrificing quality.
Measure the impact.
But how do I prove the value of my work to the powers that be? And how do I know for sure what my audience can’t get enough of? Great questions. You have to measure the impact of what you make. There are lots of reasons to do this. The key one? You need to figure out what resonates with your audience and run toward it. To accomplish that, you need technology that offers actionable data beyond vanity metrics.
These brand awareness and demand indicators offer a place to start:
- Audience growth
- Traffic growth
- Social shares
- Social media mentions
- Traffic to conversation-driven content
- Conversions from conversation-driven content
- Content’s impact on the buying cycle
- Revenue attributed to content
Robust metrics help demonstrate the effectiveness of your creative work both to your teams and to business leaders focused on their bottom line. With that knowledge in hand, you can forge ahead with a focus instead of a directive to produce, produce, produce with no way to know what’s working.
Once you’ve done this process once, repeat it. Keep digging for what your audience needs, keep finding voices that inspire them, keep powering your content with connective conversations and maximize its value in post after post. Measure the impact of what you’ve done, and pursue creative work in the direction of your audience’s interest.
In the race to appease the search engine gods, no one’s winning. Marketers are burned out, content is lackluster, and audiences get left behind. Amplified marketing is a path back to creativity, human connection, a better way to do what you love — and show its impact.