Your copycat content is making you boring!
How many pieces of content did you consume today?🤔
Maybe you spent some time looking through your Facebook newsfeed or scrolling past ads on your Instagram feed. Maybe you enable pop up notifications from your news app on your phone or consume your news more traditionally with a newspaper? And, then there’s all the newsletters you subscribe to. That’s a lot of noise to filter through each day!
Now put your business hat on🎩…How easy is it for you to catch the attention of target buyers with your marketing content in such a crowded space? It can’t be by doing what everyone else is doing－though blindly following industry trends is often our go-to move. In reality, copying what your competition does won’t help you cut through the noise. In fact, it’s kind of boring.
During the ‘ How to make your content zig while the industry zags ‘ broadcast, we locked-down a tangible framework you can follow to ensure your content is unique with Konrad Saunders － Founder, CEO & Content Strategist at The Creative Copywriter .
Here is an overview of our key takeaways:
- Know your audience!👂🏽
To create engaging content for your target audience you have to know them. Arrange to interview current customers and prospects who didn’t buy from you. Find out what their daily challenges are. What keeps them up at night? Where do they want to get to in life? Who do they trust? And, particularly for unsuccessful prospects, what stopped them from buying from you?
A good way to do this is to ask questions that touch on the five rings of buyer insight.
- Priority Initiative — What caused them to seek out the type of product you offer?
- Success Factor — What are they hoping to gain? What words do they use to describe this success? This produces fantastic ‘voice of customer’ data which can be used in your content and inform a keyword list for SEO management.
- Perceived Barriers — What prevented them from buying? What obstacle did they face within the sales cycle?
- Decision Criteria — What factors did they use for comparing your business to competitors?
- Buyers Journey — What was their role in the journey? Were they the sole decision maker? Who do they trust and take advice from?
Interviews are much better than surveys at generating unfiltered responses from your target buyers. Take these customer insights and use them to enrich your content, buyer personas and keyword lists.
Top Tip: Remember to observe your industry. 👀Look at your competitors content and find the gaps that you can fill. Ask yourself “what are they not doing?”
2. Define your tone of voice 🗣
Think about the purpose of your company’s content. It should be what makes you stand out, fill your top of funnel, define your point of view as a business and help to build an understanding of your brand with your target buyers. To do this you need to differentiate yourself!
Situate your tone of voice on an axis like this…
Formal — — — — — — — — — — — X — — — — —— Informal
Serious — — — —— — — — — — — — — X — — — —Humorous
Detached — — — — —— — — -X — — — —— — — —Warm
Professional — — — — — X — — — — — — — — — — Casual
Tasteful — — —— — — X — — — — — — — —— —Unrefined
Wordy — — — — — X — — — — — — — — — — — — Concise
Once you know what your tone of voice is, you can be consistent and build an identity for yourself.
Top Tip: Define which words and phrases to use and which to avoid to chisel out your voice.
3. Structure and format differently ✍🏾
This is where you can really be deliberate about the types of content you produce and the way you produce it. If you have done your due diligence in creating a unique tone of voice for your brand, the next step is to make your content unique. Don’t automatically copy the types of content that is already circulating. Particularly if you are a start-up, you will be competing with companies who may have bigger brand awareness and resources. If your content is exactly the same, you’re setting yourself up to fade into the background.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Are people in your industry writing short 500 word blog posts? If yes, then maybe you should be writing granular 3000 word posts instead!
- Is everyone writing ‘How to’s’ or ‘Checklist’? Perhaps you should write anecdotal stories instead or write interactive blogs framed around quizzes.
No matter what you choose to write about, remember to reference what your persona’s want. Do they have time for long form content and what format will appeal to them?
Top Tip: Look to other sectors for inspiration. Sometimes — even when we don’t want to — we can colour within the lines set for us within our industry. If you operate in the tech industry for example, have a look at what businesses in the creative industries are doing to market themselves. This may help you think outside of the box.
4. Differentiate your audience 🍎🍊
One approach to content marketing is to make yourself uniquely relevant and appealing to one particular demographic. You can do this by openly defining the audience you are targeting, giving them their own unique name. A cool example is Nerd Fitness which is a fitness blog that helps “Nerds, Misfits and Mutants lose weight, get strong and get healthy permanently.” They have honed in on a particular niche audience which weren’t being catered for, which helps them stand out.
Naming your audience can engender the same relationship an artist has with a fan club. A sense of ownership and belonging engenders loyalty to a brand.
Top Tip: Don’t know where to start? Look back at your ‘voice of customer’ data and insights. What particular challenges does that persona have which hasn’t been covered in depth within your industry. Finding a micro niche will help you find your angle and be the go to expert for that subject matter.
5. Differentiate through design 🤩
Work with a brand designer to create a unique and powerful visual identity that carries through your blog and social content. In fact, every instance where you and your target prospects interact should be thought about: Website, Office, Work Attire etc.
Top Tip: Don’t use stock photos as they come. Brand them as your own with filters or logos. Lots of other companies will have access to those photos so you must be sure anything you put out can’t be mistaken as belonging to another brand－especially in the B2B world.
6. Have a strong point of view 💪🏻
Decide what your industry stance is! This should be your selling point; something that helps differentiate you from your competitors.
Having trouble pinpointing what it should be? Ask yourself what it is that grinds your gears. Hone in on your POV as a business and then focus your messaging to include the customer. Why should they be interested in a business that thinks like you do? What value can you give them?
Top Tip: You are more likely to get other publications to share your content if you have a strong POV. If you can invoke conversations, you will reach a wider audience.
Watch the full video of Konrad’s talk on-demand on our Youtube Channel and hear about these concepts in detail.
At Sales Impact Academy we are constantly striving to expand our course catalog and find better ways of communicating our educational content, and our blogs don’t get a pass. Particularly in education, we are guilty of regurgitating ‘Tool Kit’s’ and ‘Checklists’ which can sometimes feel overused. Slightly guilty of doing that with this post🙈but old habits die hard! If you have any feedback on our blog pages, please leave a comment.
Unique content is a key bit of the marketing mix and can help your teams fill your sales teams top of funnel and deliver impactful campaigns on budget. Our Sales Impact Academy Compel with ContentTM course touches on this and what else you should be doing.
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Originally published at https://www.salesimpactacademy.co.uk on August 6, 2020.