I trail run regularly with my faithful black lab Pepper and she’s a perfect trail buddy protecting me from wildlife and setting a mean pace. But every now and then she picks up a scent and disappears just out of sight, but not out of earshot. I’ll hear her bark, and she’ll come sprinting back to me. One year, she brought back a black bear close on her tail. (She did that only once. She learns from her mistakes like us humans.) But I always wonder what she sees when she ventures off – the things I can’t see. And I’m reminded I need to strap that GoPro camera onto a harness to get a peak into her world.
GoPro changes perspective. They might sell action video cameras, but their mission, and the story they tell is about changing perspective and capturing and sharing your world:
They provide all the tools to be able to create very cool video and then they take it a step further by providing a platform to share that content. They shine a light on the members of their community featuring a video each month and in so doing inspire and attract new members. It’s a fairly stunning loop of content marketing perfection.
And its how you build immunity to the idea of content shock or saturation in the marketplace. Because every brand is hopping on the content bandwagon now. The differentiation lies in the ability to complete that loop.
What’s that? The cute puppies and the top ten lists are getting you likes and shares but not sales? That’s what I thought. And the giveaways? Did Quicken’s Final Four Bracket Billion dollar giveaway increase their sales? According to USA Today, the contest was a home run – for creation of buzz, but the last I checked, you can’t make payroll with “buzz.” And I can’t find any evidence this did anything but create buzz.
In 2009, I wrote about how excited I was that Pepsi was replacing it’s Superbowl ad campaign with a social media campaign. Pepsi Refresh awarded grants to entities with community building projects. I didn’t have too much to be excited about. The program was discontinued in 2012, when Pepsi’s market share declined dropping them to third place.
A lot of content misses the mark.
The problem, said Digital Tonto’s Greg Satell is this:
“Nobody is going to believe that the CEO of Pepsi wakes up in the morning thinking about how she can build better after-school programs and bike trails, which is why Pepsi Refresh didn’t resonate.”
If you want your content to work for you, it has to align with the company mission AND these three things:
Think like a publisher; add value; be helpful; solve don’t sell.
Instead of thinking of your customers as buyers, think of them as your readers/viewers/listeners and they all have problems, questions, and obstacles. They have common interests; are inspired and entertained by similar concepts and philosophies. What are those? Tap into that and create content from there. Like a magazine would. This could also be known as: establishing that emotional connection.
But what if you aren’t the maker of very cool action video cameras? It’s not so easy, is it? Wrong.
A friend in Colorado is working with a startup marijuana testing lab. The owners of the lab are focused on having the very best lab. That’s admirable, but customers (owners of pot shops) don’t really care you have the best lab or are the leading provider. They are concerned about compliance and not getting shut down. Therefore, their entire content and engagement plan is around providing information to help their customers stay compliant.
Highlight your community
Most of us love to be recognized. Post your best vacation photo on your hotel’s Facebook page; submit your video to GoPro. In turn, you have the opportunity to be shared or featured on their sites. Bank of America features it’s small business customers in it’s commercials.
By helping their customers be successful and achieve their goals, and sharing those stories, more customers like them will want to do business with them.
Be into it
“Phoning it in” doesn’t work when it comes to content. You and your team need to be dedicated to it. And you only make that shared connection through a shared love for something. Embracing it means you have an opinion or perspective you stand for and it shows because there is passion at the content development level. I don’t care if it’s action video cameras, marijuana compliance, or small business success. The connection occurs when the publishers of the content are doing it because they love it; not because they can now say they are doing content marketing (and more than likely then prove that it doesn’t work.).
It’s all or nothing.