Kat French

Kat French

A while back, I offered up the Ten Commandments of Content Marketing here, and the always-smart Beth Harte posed a really good question:

“Can agencies participate in content marketing without crossing that ghost line (and helping companies to continue to be non-authentic)? Would the content fall more to the traditional side (while still be shareable/social?)”

Companies are always going to need content. As “the irrelevant corporate website” continues to become more irrelevant, the need for fresh, timely, engaging, useful content resources is only going to increase.

We tend to think “content marketing” is a corporate-friendly code word for “blogging.” In some cases, it is—the best problogging and corporate blogging have a content marketing mindset. But they’re not interchangeable terms.

In my mind, content marketing is… well, using your web content to market your business.

What’s the difference between a really useful blog post and an “article?” Do you really care who wrote it, if your primary interest in that piece of content is the value the content itself provides? Does making that content portable and easy to share make sense, even without a particular person’s byline? Does making it visually engaging and presenting it in a slick way make it non-authentic?

Yes, there’s a business case for having the company president blog to create warm fuzzy feelings between consumers and company. But for some companies, that’s a horrible idea and a bad fit for their corporate culture.

There’s absolutely a business case for using social media as a customer service response channel. But again, it depends on the company.

My main point (and I do have one) is that there’s also a business case for simply providing kick-ass, value-add content based on information that is either your business’ main product or service, or a by-product of your main product or service.

Transforming “information and data” into “engaging, portable, search-friendly content” is a huge, wide-open opportunity for agencies to provide value to their clients.

The beauty of this approach to content marketing strategy is that it scales down as gracefully as it scales up. Every brand, from individual consultants to multinational corporations, has a unique value proposition. Sometimes that UVP is grounded in the brand’s unique and appealing personality. Sometimes it’s grounded in a particular product, or feature, or the way the company does business differently.

It’s the “consistent, distinctive brand voice” that works equally well for a personal brand or a corporate one, and fits on the social web. And it’s time to face facts: the social web has become the mainstream web. (Hat tip to @ShivSingh of Razorfish.)

Your unique value proposition can be a great starting point for your content marketing strategy. Because it provides the “hook” that makes your content more appealing than the other guy’s (at least to the audience your business is centered around reaching).

(Extremely) Quick ‘n Dirty Guide to Content Marketing:

You* know stuff.

Offered in the right (friendly, engaging, portable) form, the stuff that you know can be helpful/valuable/entertaining to people.

People will like you for offering it to them.

People will tell others about you giving them good stuff.

Those people may well need to buy your product/service.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

* Replace “You” with “Your company/organization.” See? Still works.
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About Kat French

Kat French

Kat French is the Digital Operations Manager at CafePress. An exceptional writer both on the web and in other genres, Kat combines creativity with an agile, get-it-done attitude across a broad range of experience in community management, SEO/PPC, social media strategy and program management. She has worked with national brands like Maker's Mark, Daytona Beach Tourism, Optima Batteries and more.

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuartfoster

    Replace “You” with “Your company/organization.” See? Still works. (Ha…this is awesome.)

    Simply…add value beyond your initial cta/sales pitch. Expand your thinking beyond yourself and think about what would be cool for your customers/clients to see.

    • KatFrench

      Precisely. Be magnanimous.

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuartfoster

    Replace “You” with “Your company/organization.” See? Still works. (Ha…this is awesome.)

    Simply…add value beyond your initial cta/sales pitch. Expand your thinking beyond yourself and think about what would be cool for your customers/clients to see.

  • http://thelostjacket.com Stuartfoster

    Replace “You” with “Your company/organization.” See? Still works. (Ha…this is awesome.)

    Simply…add value beyond your initial cta/sales pitch. Expand your thinking beyond yourself and think about what would be cool for your customers/clients to see.

  • KatFrench

    Precisely. Be magnanimous.

  • KatFrench

    Precisely. Be magnanimous.

  • http://blog.ecairn.com/ dominic

    Thanks for the article.

    One point I would add is that the Unique Value proposition is usually specific to a target in other words, “the audience your business is centered around reaching” is multiple.

    As an example, if you're selling green cars, you have a different value proposition to the people in the “car industry” (where you compete with non green cars and other green cars) and to the people in the green industry (“where you compete with other way of spending money the green way – on the house, biking …). These are two different “virtual communities” on the web.

    This is to me essential. Any social marketing effort should start with strategy, targeting, identification of UVP and then execution. It's not easy but it's a key success factor in social marketing.

    Best

    • KatFrench

      Really excellent points, dominic. Strategy is both essential and foundational (it has to be there from the beginning, and continue to be developed throughout.)

  • http://blog.ecairn.com/ dominic

    Thanks for the article.

    One point I would add is that the Unique Value proposition is usually specific to a target in other words, “the audience your business is centered around reaching” is multiple.

    As an example, if you're selling green cars, you have a different value proposition to the people in the “car industry” (where you compete with non green cars and other green cars) and to the people in the green industry (“where you compete with other way of spending money the green way – on the house, biking …). These are two different “virtual communities” on the web.

    This is to me essential. Any social marketing effort should start with strategy, targeting, identification of UVP and then execution. It's not easy but it's a key success factor in social marketing.

    Best

  • http://blog.ecairn.com/ dominic

    Thanks for the article.

    One point I would add is that the Unique Value proposition is usually specific to a target in other words, “the audience your business is centered around reaching” is multiple.

    As an example, if you're selling green cars, you have a different value proposition to the people in the “car industry” (where you compete with non green cars and other green cars) and to the people in the green industry (“where you compete with other way of spending money the green way – on the house, biking …). These are two different “virtual communities” on the web.

    This is to me essential. Any social marketing effort should start with strategy, targeting, identification of UVP and then execution. It's not easy but it's a key success factor in social marketing.

    Best

  • KatFrench

    Really excellent points, dominic. Strategy is both essential and foundational (it has to be there from the beginning, and continue to be developed throughout.)

  • KatFrench

    Really excellent points, dominic. Strategy is both essential and foundational (it has to be there from the beginning, and continue to be developed throughout.)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brindey-Weber/5523768 Brindey Weber

    Hi Beth! What are your thoughts on a company finding their voice for their content? (You talked about fitting the blog to the image of the company and I was wondering if you had comments on that.)
    Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brindey-Weber/5523768 Brindey Weber

    Hi Beth! What are your thoughts on a company finding their voice for their content? (You talked about fitting the blog to the image of the company and I was wondering if you had comments on that.)
    Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brindey-Weber/5523768 Brindey Weber

    Hi Beth! What are your thoughts on a company finding their voice for their content? (You talked about fitting the blog to the image of the company and I was wondering if you had comments on that.)
    Thanks!

  • Pingback: Some (More) Thoughts on Content Marketing Strategy | Social Media … « Unemployment Killer’s Daily Blog

  • http://www.idealaunch.com/blog John Cass

    This is interesting Kat, I'm not really thinking of content marketing solely as social media. I'm really thinking of content marketing as writing good compelling content that typically solves problems and answers questions for people when they arrive at a website. That content does not have to be written on a social website like a blog.

    I'm starting to wonder if we need some sort of hybrid website. Not a blog, but a site where the content is not identified with a byline, but readers can comment. A wiki comes to mind here. Wikipedia is a good example of a site where its not immediately apparent who wrote the content. Though you can track that, and even comment on the content.

    Such a site will deal with those inauthentic issues.

  • http://www.idealaunch.com/blog John Cass

    This is interesting Kat, I'm not really thinking of content marketing solely as social media. I'm really thinking of content marketing as writing good compelling content that typically solves problems and answers questions for people when they arrive at a website. That content does not have to be written on a social website like a blog.

    I'm starting to wonder if we need some sort of hybrid website. Not a blog, but a site where the content is not identified with a byline, but readers can comment. A wiki comes to mind here. Wikipedia is a good example of a site where its not immediately apparent who wrote the content. Though you can track that, and even comment on the content.

    Such a site will deal with those inauthentic issues.

  • http://www.idealaunch.com/blog John Cass

    This is interesting Kat, I'm not really thinking of content marketing solely as social media. I'm really thinking of content marketing as writing good compelling content that typically solves problems and answers questions for people when they arrive at a website. That content does not have to be written on a social website like a blog.

    I'm starting to wonder if we need some sort of hybrid website. Not a blog, but a site where the content is not identified with a byline, but readers can comment. A wiki comes to mind here. Wikipedia is a good example of a site where its not immediately apparent who wrote the content. Though you can track that, and even comment on the content.

    Such a site will deal with those inauthentic issues.

  • http://www.sparxoo.com/ David

    I am a believer in content marketing strategy. You can provide valuable information and advice that starts a real dialogue.

    I like the suggestion of starting with your company's overall value proposition and using that to guide content marketing. Here's an article on developing a value proposition. Once you've got the value proposition…share what you know. Make it valuable.

  • brate

    Excellent post Faiza. You gave quite good suggestions for blog marketing. These suggestions help you gain pretty good amount of attention from the users. Though the outcomes of the effort are slow, but after a period of substantial wait, you can see a discrete increase in the website traffic due to such ads. Many such websites are provided that allows you to advertise freely. There are many such tweaks and tricks that are genuine, but not popular. Such techniques might certainly help you gain the market attention. . I am a doctor who recently opened a medical website showcasing my clinic over the internet. To step into the internet, I hired a web designing and SEO company named Medical Web Experts (http://www.medicalwebexperts.com). We had a deal of some keywords for which I need to have my website to be ranked over the top 5 list in google and yahoo. They are working on it. Thought it has taken time as they are working on it to bring a genuine traffic, but a distinguishable increase in traffic is felt slowly and steadily. And that’s the most important thing that I require.

  • brate

    Excellent post Faiza. You gave quite good suggestions for blog marketing. These suggestions help you gain pretty good amount of attention from the users. Though the outcomes of the effort are slow, but after a period of substantial wait, you can see a discrete increase in the website traffic due to such ads. Many such websites are provided that allows you to advertise freely. There are many such tweaks and tricks that are genuine, but not popular. Such techniques might certainly help you gain the market attention. . I am a doctor who recently opened a medical website showcasing my clinic over the internet. To step into the internet, I hired a web designing and SEO company named Medical Web Experts (http://www.medicalwebexperts.com). We had a deal of some keywords for which I need to have my website to be ranked over the top 5 list in google and yahoo. They are working on it. Thought it has taken time as they are working on it to bring a genuine traffic, but a distinguishable increase in traffic is felt slowly and steadily. And that’s the most important thing that I require.

  • brate

    Excellent post Faiza. You gave quite good suggestions for blog marketing. These suggestions help you gain pretty good amount of attention from the users. Though the outcomes of the effort are slow, but after a period of substantial wait, you can see a discrete increase in the website traffic due to such ads. Many such websites are provided that allows you to advertise freely. There are many such tweaks and tricks that are genuine, but not popular. Such techniques might certainly help you gain the market attention. . I am a doctor who recently opened a medical website showcasing my clinic over the internet. To step into the internet, I hired a web designing and SEO company named Medical Web Experts (http://www.medicalwebexperts.com). We had a deal of some keywords for which I need to have my website to be ranked over the top 5 list in google and yahoo. They are working on it. Thought it has taken time as they are working on it to bring a genuine traffic, but a distinguishable increase in traffic is felt slowly and steadily. And that’s the most important thing that I require.

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  • John Bond

    I love content marketing strategy. It’s such an interesting topic to me. I like it because I enjoy watching numbers rise and fall as we try different strategies.
    John Bond | http://www.dr-leonardo.com