Carefully Crafted on May 07

The "Look at This" Approach to Content Marketing

From blogging and pinning … to creating videos, tweets, status updates, ebooks, enewsletters and white papers — content marketing has become a catch-all term that encompasses all kinds of information marketers are creating, disseminating and tying to objectives.

But, how do you know what kind of content to share? And, is it actually working?

Jason Falls offers the “Holy Smokes” test:

He says the idea is anytime you are engaged in marketing, you want your audience to consume the message and think, “’holy smokes,’ this message is: incredible, sad, awesome, beautiful, intelligent, informative or some other declarative response.”

More often than not, brands are so focused on posting X tweets a day, or updating Facebook X times a week that they get sucked into the day-to-day minutia and lose track of the strategy driving content. That’s why you end up reading post after post about the latest product development, or some totally random quote or photo. That’s not effective content marketing.

“Look at This” vs “Look at Me”

I find myself spending more time on Instagram lately than Facebook. Why? Huffington Post’s Bianca Bosker summed it up when she wrote this about Pinterest (which I think also applies to Instagram):

Twitter and Foursquare screams, “Look at me,” Pinterest posts urge, “Look at this.” At least for now, the site offers a refreshing haven away from the boosterism and boasting that plague so many sites.

If people are craving less “look at me” updates (hence the popularity of Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and similar sites), why not apply the “Look at This” approach to your company’s content strategy? It will attract people to your brand’s online presence, while piquing  their interest in ways that can’t be accomplished with the narrower “Look at Me” focus.

If you commit to the “Look at This” approach to content creation, then you have to figure out how to incorporate that into the right kind of content — content that makes people say “Holy Smokes” that still strengthens your brand’s positioning, conveys key messages, drives engagement, and syncs up with your overall communication goals (whether that’s changing behavior, shaping perception, driving sales, generating leads, etc.). That’s when the magic (read: results) happen.

Time spent online needs to be time well spent. By committing the extra resources and creativity to develop “look at this” content that aligns with your big-picture goals, organizations can establish a more compelling, effective online presence.

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