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Stand out from the crowd: 5 strategies for content marketers

Stand out from the crowd: 5 strategies for content marketers

Recently, I was working on a fairly large conference in Sydney. With me was a small editorial team including a photographer, videographer, an editor and a journalist. We had been commissioned to capture a two-day conference through a series of images, articles and interviews which were to be published to the event website and on social media.

The schedule was hectic with many presenters to cover, but I knew I had a strong team. The challenges began to surface early, as the client was having some scheduling issues and asked if our team could step in and assist by interviewing speakers on their behalf. My team was stretched, but I saw an opportunity to provide great customer service, so a quick reshuffle of tasks and soon I was being led backstage by security with the videographer and journalist to meet "The Talent".

We were not the only ones writing content that day, the event was using the Publish platform which allowed many teams to add content to their site. Shortly after, the doors opened and out came at least 10 people, from a different media teams... I couldn't help but feel a little intimidated as the three of us made our way in to conduct our interview.

Before long, our journo had written an article and our editor had reviewed it, added an image, a video grab. Within a couple of hours the article was posted on the event's website. Around the same time, the other media team was publishing their interview article on the same site.

After checking the site traffic analytics, I could see the results for different pieces of content and realised some things were working better than others. I was amazed at how some articles about similar topics could perform so differently, in some cases doubling the number of views.

How and why could this happen? It all came down to this:​​​​​​

Use the right people for the job

Articles by journalists and editors outperformed content made by other job titles. Interestingly though, these are not the people most brands are currently using to create their content.

Top five areas responsible for creating content: Corporate marketing (53%); product marketing (39%); subject matter experts (36%); PR/communications (32%); external agency/consultant (30%). (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)

There are intricate details that professionals (like journalists and editors) weave into their art form. These subtleties are what make a headline grab you, an image intrigue you and an article captivate you. I also felt that the very corporate look and feel to their articles screamed "Advertorial" which, while important from a branding perspective, may be doing a disservice in a content marketing context.

Cookie cutter headlines do not work

Which article would you prefer to read: "Insights from ...(speakers name)" or "A drone’s eye view of the disruption economy"? Both articles contained the same content but the headline made a huge difference in clicks. Be clear about why your content is worth the reader's time, the headline and excerpt has to demonstrate its worth!

Know your audience and create content they care about

In other words, "how does this affect me?". Journalists are great at finding good reasons why you should care about something. It all relates to who you are speaking to, what they care about and how it can help them.

Don't sell too hard 

One of the many reasons that content marketing exists is to push a certain product, service or brand, but it is arguably better to demonstrate your expertise with good content, rather than saying you are an expert with overly promotional content. Steer towards a more editorial tone for your content, rather than advertorial.

Images matter

Images are a great way to give your content context and tone. Don't underestimate the power of original photography and stay away from stock images as much as you can.

Objectives will always vary, but by incorporating these principles where possible, not only will you get better results for your brand, but you might also end up saving yourself a lot of money.

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