This is one of my favorite expressions when it comes to content strategy and content marketing. ‘The Right Content. The Right Place. The Right Time.’ It’s packed with meaning and not a word is wasted. Let’s take a closer look…
Advertising and marketing are built on experimentation. The great part of content strategy and content marketing is that there should be a healthy environment where “failure” is perceived as valuable lessons rather than, well, failure. Every “wrong” piece of content helps define the “right” content more clearly. In a world where we want results yesterday, this can be a difficult idea to accept. But, you can’t have creativity and innovation without trial and error. With a little persistence, customer research, and educated guessing, eventually you will find the content goldmine.
If you look at it too closely it doesn’t look like it’s English; it’s flat-out funny looking. But, it’s perfect here. The way I see it, content needs to do two things in order to be effective:
- Be relevant and engaging for targeted customers.
- Address a business goal.
“Right” speaks directly to these two core concepts. Whenever possible, content effectiveness should be measurable, be it analytics, lead scoring , customer surveys, retweets, emojis; whatever it takes to have a finger on the pulse. At the very minimum, trusted thought leaders within your organization should be able to vouch for the worthiness of content from the customers’ point of view. If you’re not pairing your content experiments with some flavor of measurable data, then identifying the wins, losses, and opportunities for improvement is going to be a challenge. If readers aren’t licking their plates clean and asking for seconds, and if content can not be directly linked to a business goal, there’s room for improvement.
“The Right Content”
Cold calls. Promotional emails. Door-to-door salesmen. Everybody has been ambushed by a solicitation; it doesn’t feel good.
There’s no need to guess what the right content is. There are people all around you that can help you understand the opportunities around you. Internally, there are salespeople, customer support, technical support, and key account managers that have their ear to the wall. What questions are they fielding, and how does that translate into opportunities to tell your stories? Similarly, it’s easy to get insights directly from customers. Social media engagement, web article comments, surveys, and forums are great resources. Also, a content audit is a great way to prescribe and collate content into each stage of the customer journey, which helps identify strengths and weaknesses of a content library.
Here are some questions I like to ask when thinking about content:
- What are three highly valuable pieces of content your customers will love?
- How can you “mine” a single piece of content into multiple pieces?
- Do you have content for all phases of the customer journey?
- Can you win search engine rankings organically, or do you need a PPC campaign?
- Can you curate content to lean on existing content out there?
- How does video, infographics, and other visual media compare to written material?
“The Right Content” needs to take into account both your customers and business goals. But, a click-worthy, shareable, viral piece of content will always put customers’ needs first.
“The Right Place”
Pairing content platforms and channels with the right messaging is a powerful one-two punch combination. “If you build it, they will come” is a dream. Launching a website and creating a Twitter handle just isn’t enough. Building a strong message on your platforms is a good start, but you also have to know where to promote yourself. People have their preferred websites, social media platforms, thought leaders they follow, etc. Tapping into these channels and platforms is critical.
- Where do your customers go to learn?
- How should your website balance e-commerce and marketing/product information?
- Is there enough information online for someone to educate themselves on the intricacies of your product?
- Is there an opportunity to become the thought leader with educational materials?
- Where do customers go to make purchases, and how can you leverage that?
- Can you place your content where your customers frequent?
- Where can you curate content from?
‘The Right Place” is all about push and pull. Where can you push your content in order to pull customers in? Once you have their attention, how can you keep it? These questions are big components of content marketing.
This concept also brings forth the importance of storing content in the right place internally. Nobody wants to spend two hours digging through hard drives to find materials. Visibility and version control are important parts of optimizing content marketing strategies. It’s also vital to content audits.
“The Right Time”
There’s a fine line between fashionably late and rude. Also, you need to understand the frequency or cadence that’s appropriate for pushing out content. Too little and you could be losing to competitors, too much and you could be overbearing. One of my favorite examples timely marketing is a location-based SMS campaign Scotts launched. Using customer records in their CRM, the lawn care company pushed informational and promotional texts to customers during seasonal changes and other time periods when lawn care was important.
They didn’t need to over-communicate, they already knew the right time to strike. Scotts provided value by being at the right place, at the right time.
“The Right Time” also applies to the customer journey and getting content marketing right. Pushing a contact form at the wrong time can affect a customer’s trust. Or, failing to send a coupon or appointment reminder might lead to opportunities slipping through your fingers. On the same note, organizations have found success with remarketing techniques to bring customers back to abandoned carts. Identifying these opportunities and building the right message to win makes all the difference.
- What’s the latest SEO standards for content posting and site updates to improve your Google presence?
- How often should you send emails to customers?
- What is the right amount of social posting?
- What are your competitors doing, and how often?
What are your thoughts on The Right Content. The Right Place. The Right Time? And if you have a favorite content marketing/content strategy expression, leave it in the comments.
Thanks for reading!