Back in the day, advertising was about settling on one message and getting it in front of possible buyers as many times as possible. Ad men came up with a winning slogan, paired it with an earworm of a jingle, stuck a highly-recognizable package picture in, and did their level best to make sure that prospects saw and heard it over and over and over. The shopper went into a store, caught a glimpse of the iconic red and white can, and the basal ganglia took over. “Soup is good food,” she muttered, reaching out like a robot and grabbing a can.
Actually, advertising can still be a lot like that. But content marketing is not advertising. Consumers have a lot of control over how they consume your content. They see your tweets because they choose to follow you, they read your blog on purpose because they believe it will answer their question (when it comes up in search) or because they believe it will be entertaining and informative (when they subscribe). They download your white papers and ebooks intentionally and they seek out your Pinterest board.
That’s completely different from advertising. Ads are more like jumping out at people from behind a door and shouting. Content marketing is more like having great stuff behind a door and letting people come in. People won’t seek you out or accept your invitation if they know they’re just going to hear your jingle again. You have to offer them something they actually want. we promise you, 55 more iterations of your core message is not what they want.
However, content marketing is also about marketing. You still want to sell that soup, if we can let soup stand in for your product for the sake of this discussion.
Here are some ways to coordinate your content, to make sure that your content does its job:
- Pay attention to branding. Get that iconic can into your photos, use the full name of the product in your recipes, don’t let people overlook the source of your entertaining content.
- Have a meta message. Your content can’t be all about “Soup is good food,” but focusing on the tastiness and nutritional value of that soup reinforces the underlying message and reminds people.
- Create an overall strategy. Producing plenty of top quality content is key, but it’s also essential to make sure that each piece of your content leads to the outcome you want. Starting with a strategy makes that happen.