February 04, 2014

With Content Marketing Becoming Ubiquitous, How Will You Stand Out?

Content marketing is now growing at an unprecedented pace. In fact, recent research has emerged from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) indicating that 93 percent of marketers now use content marketing. And Loyalty Marketer’s Association indicates that more than half of marketers plan on increasing content budgets even more over the next fiscal year.

As more and more companies invest time and resources into creating content marketing strategies, however, a problem is beginning to emerge: oversaturation. Content is spreading across the Internet at a rapid pace as companies are churning out blogs and articles in hopes of staying relevant on the Web—specifically on Google. According to the Loyalty Marketer’s survey, quality, quantity and relevance are now among the greatest challenges that companies are facing when it comes to developing content plans.

The question therefore remains: how do you stand out amongst the crowd with so many companies trying to edge you out of the market? It all starts with taking a deeper look at your content creation and distribution best practices.

If you’re looking for effective ways to step up your content marketing strategy, here are some ways to break apart and become an industry trendsetter:

Supplement your blog with visuals:  Consider the age-old tactic that authors of children’s books use to keep kids reading: pictures. Children’s books are chock full of images that keep them focused and engaged with the copy. While words—and the right words—are critically important, don’t get so caught up with your blog posts that you fail to please the eye. Pairing your blog with an infographic, chart, graphic or image is a great way to accomplish this. Research shows that 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than text, so this could be all you need to set your blog apart and make it “pop.” 

Focus on strong storytelling: A common pitfall in the content marketing industry today is that everyone is so focused on establishing their thought leadership that they forget one of the most important aspects of creating copy: the storytelling component. Instead of trying to turn your content into mini instruction manuals or technical “how-tos,” focus on the larger picture—the emotional response you hope to get from your audience.

According to CCO of Contently Shane Snow, storytelling will be the number one business skill of the next five years due to a story’s ability to stand out from the crowd, incite change and spread important messages.

“Good stories surprise us,” Snow said in a recent post. “They have compelling characters. They make us think, they make us feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that numbers and texts on a slide with a bar graph don’t.”

That being said, you don’t have to abandon traditional number-driven marketing strategies. Just remember to tell the story of why the statistics you use are important to show your readers why they should buy into your messages.

Get creative with your content: One example everybody should be paying attention to this year is Pepsi’s new augmented reality (AR) driven content strategy. In preparation for the 2015 Super Bowl, which Pepsi is sponsoring, the company released a series of cans for this year’s Super Bowl that are AR-enabled. By scanning the side of a specially marked soda can with a mobile device, consumers can gain access to special footage and content. Additionally, fans can win tickets for next year’s big game.

While you don’t have to go out and invest in such a massive marketing endeavor, it’s important to think outside of the box in terms of how you deliver content to your target audience. In Pepsi’s case, the content is not necessarily mind-blowing. The delivery tactic, however, is unique enough to garner national attention and get people excited enough to buy the product. It also keeps them focused on the brand, and creates dialogue around the product—two key components of any content marketing delivery.

When looking for ways to make your content stand out, don’t be afraid to take a risk. Try a direct mail campaign, or send out an email blast linking back to your website. The more creative you get, the more your content will stand out apart from other cookie cutter information cluttering the Web. 

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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