Kelly Hungerford is community manager, evangelist and responsible for content operations at content curation company Paper.li. Kelly, who was a speaker at our Content Marketing Conference Europe 2014 in Antwerp, has an integrated view on content marketing.
She emphasizes the key role of community and of unconditional customer-centricity. Discover some some great content marketing lessons from Kelly regarding setting up a content marketing strategy, running content operations and related topics as she learned them in practice.
Content marketing in action for every type of organization and some great lessons to remember!
Lesson Nr.1: We are all accidental content marketers
Content Marketing is a discipline, not a department, and isn’t owned by one person. Content marketers can be sprinkled throughout teams and departments and you may be actually be a content marketer and simply not know it.
When I joined Paper.li my role was to start kick-start support and update our blog with a new feature releases. That was the extent of “content talk”. I associated my role with building a support organization and trouble shooting for our users, not content marketing. It took me long time to put 2+2 together: the support organization I built was founded on content that helped, educated and converted basic users to paying users. I was an accidental content marketer! It’s very possible you are too — or you will be very soon.
Lesson Nr. 2: Create 101 level content
Unless you are writing for a specific niche, which requires very technical terminology, keep your language basic and easy to understand for native and non-native speakers.
If the word strategy freaks you out, swap it for the word plan. Everybody’s got a plan…
Whether your content is to support existing users or attract potential customers it needs to follow a few rules. These are mine:
- Make sure you address your user’s PIN: problem, interest or need.
- Make it helpful and show some empathy!
- Keep your language clear and concise, cut out unnecessary fluff *(if you aren’t sure if your writing is too complex, then it probably is. Ask a friend or co-worker for a reality check).
- Smile when you write. It shows on paper. If you laugh, even better.
If you are creating video or a screen cast, follow the above, and
- Replace writing a blog post with story boarding. Make yours simple by putting three points down on paper that you want to cover
- Speak two times more slowly than you would when speaking to a friend
- Exaggerate your expressions when you speak to keep your voice animated throughout the video
- Speak with a smile and have fun. No one likes to be bored to tears.
Written or spoken, the easier your content is to understand, the more helpful, appreciated and well received it is going to be by your audience.
Lesson Nr 3: Craft your content around your customers
Whether the audience you are writing for is internal to your organization, or is a partner or customer, nothing says lovin’ like content inclusion.
Put real people from your target audience at the center of as much content as you can and get started converting your passive audience of readers to word of mouth marketers. Not sure where to begin? Start by using a question that they’ve asked to guide your content creation (note: at the event, Kelly referred to XPlane’s Empathy Maps as a tool for defining personas, as mentioned by Ashley Faulkes in his great conference overview).
A customer-centric content strategy is the quickest, most direct way to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones.
Oh, and if the word strategy freaks you out, swap it for the word plan. Everybody’s got a plan…