October 17, 2017
“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”
– Dr. Edward de Bono, physician, psychologist, and originator of the term ‘lateral thinking’
Let’s not beat around the bush here. Content marketing can be really challenging stuff. It’s way more than just drafting things with a, “if I make it they will come” attitude.
Not only do you have to craft comprehensive and compelling pieces that reach into the heart of your audience, you also must ensure that it is timely, optimized, drives business goals, and stays current.
And, as every producer who has been creating content for more than a day knows, at some point you are going to hit a creative wall. And it’s likely you’ll hit that wall so hard it will feel paralyzing at times.
So, what do you do when you reach this creative standstill?
You lean into it.
You find new ways to reinvent your process and materials that reinvigorates and animates your imagination.
Feeling a bit stuck, stagnant, or otherwise frustrated with your current humdrum content and ideas? Then check out these five content marketing tricks that you probably aren’t yet using.
1. User-Driven Social Takeovers
Social media takeovers have proven incredibly effective for brands like Stride gum who invited DJ Khaled to man the brand’s Snapchat account for two days. These types of events get followers (and fans of the influencer) to tune in, engage, potentially follow the brand, and convert.
What’s an even more engaging concept than letting an influencer take control of one of your brand’s social channels for a day is enabling your customers to run the show.
Through this approach, you can use social listening tools to establish some of your most prominent advocates to reach out to and ask for their participation. Alternatively, you can also allow customers to sign up for the event themselves.
This is a tremendously creative way to generate a massive boost in engagement and customer loyalty while simultaneously placing the spotlight on your fans and products/services.
The idea of followers getting to be a part of the brand’s story is an intriguing notion to existing customers and can engender a “fear of missing out” among their friends who are aware which, in turn, creates more buzz and engagement.
2. Brush Up on Psychology
Merriam-Webster defines psychology as, “the science of mind and behavior.”
Considering that you are trying to understand your audience and influence their behavior, comprehending this science seems darn important.
Through understanding the conscious and unconscious triggers that exist at the intersection of psychology and marketing, brands can cultivate specific feelings around a company and its offerings.
As these “triggers” are what largely guides a person through the marketing funnel and into the arms of a conversion, understanding what causes them to do so can transform an average campaign into that viral dragon all brands are chasing.
What you must understand here is that psychology-driven marketing doesn’t focus on products, features, or even value propositions; it relies on the desires, hopes, fears, uncertainties, and perceptions that arise from marketing materials. Notice that all those things I just listed are emotions.
What a basic understanding of psychology does for your marketing is it allows you to exit the creation process from a brand perspective and re-enter it from a customer’s perspective.
This re-framing is exactly what will enable you to leverage psychological hacks that will engage readers and amplify your content strategy.
3. Have a Sense of Humor
A lot of brands try to cultivate a certain “personality” or “feeling tone” for their business. The vast majority, however, end up falling flat and have very little personality, if any.
Humor (when executed properly and authentically) gives a brand a definitive voice in a sea of sameness. Also, if you haven’t figured it out already, this ties back to my point about psychology; content that is emotionally-driven.
Even more than emotionally-charged materials, comedic content releases a rush of endorphins that make us feel good; and if that rush becomes associated with your brand, your content is doing its job well.
There have been many examples of brands that use humor as a way of shaping their image and connecting with customers. Both Dollar Shave Club and Chatbooks created insanely funny videos to introduce their companies to the world.
Dollar Shave Club’s promo, while uploaded five years ago, has amassed more than 24 million views. Chatbooks has had its video up for less than a year and it has already received more than 15 million views.
The only downside of this method is that you must be legitimately funny; anything short of pure authenticity will come off as fake or like you are trying too hard.
If this sounds like your wheelhouse, however, then make with the funnies already. Your business is likely to be much better off for it.
4. Answer the Questions that Matter
Continually coming up with fresh content ideas is a colossal pain.
In uninspired states, we often look to what others are doing and saying online. While this is one of the oldest tricks in the book, it also doesn’t hold much benefit most of the time because a sizable number of creators are just rehashing the same topics again and again.
Instead of going that route, refocus your search for inspiration on your audience. Take to social media and harvest any questions that your brand is being asked. Ask your followers direct questions about their interests, pain points, sticking areas and anything else you can generate content from.
Furthermore, go outside of your audience and head to places like Reddit where you can “Ask Reddit” pretty much anything and get a slew of responses that you can then rework into compelling content for your customers and prospects.
No matter its difficulty or the copious amounts of content that exist online and continue to be published daily, content marketing is still at the bedrock of online success.
Take the time to really think about the content that you produce and how your audience is consuming, perceiving, and engaging (or not) with your materials and reimagine your strategy from the ground up. You’ll be amazed at how far a little creativity can launch a brand online.
What is your favorite strategy from this list? What content marketing strategy has brought you the most success?
Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach. Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.