Chances are good that you’ve heard this Oscar Wilde quote before:
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
This turn of phrase has been applied to all kinds of situations, but for our purposes here today, the takeaway is this: Someone will never achieve greatness if they’re just copying what those before them did.
However, Wilde doesn’t have any notable quotes about taking cues from your competition, differentiating, and then building upon these strategies to achieve greatness in your own right.
In this week’s Content Marketing Weekly, we’re serving up some content just for those purposes. We’ve gathered some of the top takeaways, hacks and even mistakes to avoid, so you can take these lessons back to your team, improve on them and leverage them for your own content marketing strategy. Let’s take a look:
Last week, industry professionals gathered in Cleveland to share their insights and network at the 2019 Content Marketing World. Now that the conference has wrapped, we can take a closer examination of some of the key lessons attendees learned from the Content Marketing Institute’s event.
"Not all content is content marketing. And when you have content marketers doing things that AREN'T content marketing, they grow to resent you." – @amandatodo #CMWorld #ContentMarketing pic.twitter.com/kjgYekyKQc
— Lauren @ G2 (@G2Lauren) September 4, 2019
G2’s Lauren Pope provided an in-depth summary of some of the most important and interesting advice from the conference, including the fact that many brands aren’t executing their storytelling strategy correctly. In fact, many companies are actually telling the completely wrong stories, and need to shift their approach to focus more on the pain points and needs of their customer audience.
In addition, conference attendees learned that, while content production in an overarching sense is certainly critical, not all of these efforts fall under the content marketing umbrella. For instance, while blog, eBook or case study assets are part of content marketing strategy, things like event signage or direct mail promotions aren’t a marketing prerogative.
Forbes contributor and leadership strategy expert Shep Hyken notes that currently, it’s all about the level of experience brands can offer.
“Even the term content marketing is, to borrow a phrase, ‘so last year,’” Hyken writes. “The updated term is content experience. Even if the customer has never done business with you before, everything leading up to the sale, including marketing, sales, advertising, etc. is the early part of the customer’s experience.”
“Everything leading up to the sale, including marketing, sales, advertising, etc. is the early part of the customer’s experience.”
This is a bit of a juxtaposition to Pope’s Content Marketing World takeaway that not all content is content marketing. However, Hyken makes a good point: Content marketing should serve to support the overarching customer experience, and not just the different phases in the sales funnel.
Many of Hyken’s hacks revolve around the use of video within content marketing, including the fact that customer preferences in many industries are shifting to video. Often, consumers will click a “Watch the Video” button before filling out a gated form to “Download the Report.”
Hyken also notes the importance of choosing the right thumbnail image and ensuring that video content still provides value, even if viewers have it on mute.
Entrepreneur guest writer and Red Wolf CEO Luis Garcia provides few missteps to avoid in social media marketing strategies.
Thankfully, Garcia goes beyond the classic mistakes, delving into issues like posting just to post, and religiously sticking to the brand’s marketing agenda.
Social media marketing should be all about engagement, and brands that share content just to keep to their posting schedule aren’t doing themselves any favors. If the post doesn’t offer value, and doesn’t serve to support engagement with your audience, it’s best to skip it.
Garcia also draws a line between product promotion and social media marketing. Many brands confuse the two and don’t focus enough on relationship building ahead of putting strictly promotional posts out there. It’s best to foster trust and a stronger connection with your social media audience first, as opposed to constantly trying to sell to them through social channels.
According to this strategy, Garcia recommends taking a 1:4 approach, with one promotional post for every four entertaining or informational posts.
And check back next week for more advice, takeaways, hacks and lessons that you can use to improve your own marketing strategy.