Your brand sets the tone
Most of us have a favorite musical genre (or two) and can easily classify what genre a song falls into based on a few key factors. What instruments are prominent in the song? What speech patterns are the vocalists using? Are there any lyrics at all?
In content marketing, your brand is your genre. Just like a genre sets parameters for what type of songs will fit into it, your brand guidelines define your company’s tone and, as such, who your content will appeal to.
Similar to how a musician will identify with his fans, it’s critical you define your brand and your personas before investing in content creation.
Mix it up
While songs within a certain genre will all have similar qualities, it can get really boring and repetitive if every song on an album sounded the same. The Beatles didn’t rise to stardom by creating replicas of “Love Me Do”. They wrote ballads, experimented with new recording techniques and instruments, and even let Ringo sing once in awhile!
Similarly, your content mix – the articles, videos, white papers, interactive surveys – creates a great journey towards further engagement or conversion. As an experienced content marketer, you already know that through creating a variety of pieces, you have a better shot at appealing to a wider audience. But you don’t have to go too crazy – there’s no need to appeal to every single person who has access to the Internet.
While they loved to experiment, no matter what they did, The Beatles could still be classified as a rock and roll group. They weren’t going to release an opera album out of the blue just to try and attract a new crowd. The same practice can apply to content marketing. You don’t make content for everyone – you create it for specific personas, target accounts, or even customers.
Content and experience go hand-in-hand
Even the greatest track must be listened to on quality headphones or speakers to truly be appreciated. For example, if your speakers don’t support the low bassline in your favorite tune, it’s not going to sound all too great. Bad for the artist, and bad for you.
In the same vein, even the greatest content mix must be combined with a quality user experience or it too will fall flat to your audience. Say your latest article isn’t formatted for mobile devices. For everyone trying to access it from a cell phone or tablet, that journey is going to end prematurely.
It’s all about the journey
No musician wants to be a one-hit-wonder. Even though you could probably identify Rick Astley’s greatest (albeit, most annoying) hit, “Never Gonna Give You Up”, you’d probably be hard-pressed to name another of his tunes, much to Mr. Astley’s dismay.
To produce an entire album of great tracks is hard, but it pays off if you get it right. Plus, with great sound engineering, you can create a seamless flow between songs that allows you to create an exceptional end-to-end journey.
Much like satisfying your prospects at the top of the funnel with a great content mix served in a great experience, you’ll want to lead them to the next ‘track’ – converting them to a lead, then a customer, then a bigger customer! That’s the makings of a great content journey.
Also, don’t become complacent when your strategy goes platinum. Where do you think the music world would be if Michael Jackson stopped with the Jackson 5? Continue to evolve your workflows and implement content strategies in other areas of your organization, beyond the marketing team.
Recorded, mastered music is great. But nothing beats a live show. It's on stage where artists connect with their fans, where they change up their tunes, try new riffs in a jam session, and keep things fresh.
Likewise, your content experience needs to remain fresh and relevant. That's why it's critical that you, as a marketer, have the control to move things around, test different calls-to-action, and create micro-experiences that are timely for an event or season. Make sure whichever platform you choose to manage your content experiences scales with you and puts you in the driver’s seat. Your audience may start out small, but in a few months or years you could be selling to a Madison Square Garden-sized crowd and having a tool that’s only built for open mic night at a local bar won’t cut it.
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