OR Reinventing the Way Stories are Told
Did you read Kneko Burney’s recent blog article where she discussed why Sellers no longer find credible the leads given to them by their Marketing colleagues? Kneko pointed out that while Content Marketing is still ‘in vogue’, without a linkage to a lead generation program, even the best-produced content will fail at engaging clients and generating opportunities for your sales force.
Let’s face it, the client landscape has changed and marketers are under increasing pressure to adapt evolving and often fickle customer preferences while figuring out how best to connect with their audiences to keep the brand front and center and entice engagement. Not surprisingly, more than any other group, Millennials are proving to be a challenging market segment. Marketers need to stretch their creativity to reach and resonate with this group of emerging decision makers.
There’s another factor we need to consider. Advertising effectiveness – including ad buys online, has dropped dramatically, resulting in renewed interest in specialized content. With a growth in ad blocking, buyers are saying no to ‘interruptive’ advertising. What an opportunity for marketing departments to create positive and helpful experiences that doesn’t add to the people’s already stressful lives! Creative marketers who focus on IT-decision makers will have an edge of their competitors if they can discover new ways in which buyers discover, read, and share interesting information.
Anyone in the business of producing content has seen the early signs of a massive transformation taking place in how people discover, consume, and share information.
In his article entitled “Fall of the Banner Ad: The Monster That Swallowed the Web,” The Times tech reporter, Farhad Manjoo, writes: :“[Banner ads] have ruined the appearance and usability of the web, covering every available pixel of every page with clunky bits of sponsorship. More than that, banner ads have perverted the content itself.”
Ad blocker usage surged 30% in 2016, according to a new report from PageFair
This trend has forced brands and industry publishers to re-think how to build trust with their readers - - authenticity is still the name of the game. Successful brands don’t establish trust through continuous display advertising, instead, they demonstrate it by using continuous and captivating storytelling produced and delivered through credible, authentic, authority sources.
So it would seem that the goal for any marketing organization should be to develop content that will be seen as valuable and break through the content clutter with a purpose. Successful B2B brands like ADP, Cisco, Boeing, Salesforce, (and in the consumer space, REI, Patagonia, Soul Cycle, and Warby Parker) are doing just that.
These companies are shifting away from the practice of merely using generic social media content to support their products to a more targeted and purposeful approach where every appropriate and available influencer channel is used to tell stories that reflect the personality of the brand, tailored to that channel. Every appropriate and available influencer channel is used to tell stories that reflect the personality of the brand, tailored to that channel.
Tech companies often see the value of generic content marketing, but don’t know how to find and leverage effective storytellers into sharing experiences that clients can relate to. Merely producing content for content’s sake – without a strategic purpose - is not effective and kills your precious marketing budget.
So Why Use Influencers to Tell Your Stories?
Are you convinced? Yet, it’s important to note that when embarking on this journey many marketers fail. Why is that? Companies that leverage individuals with a lot of followers - converting cash to awareness and hoping for influence - is a bad approach. First off, it’s not measurable and secondly, those individuals lack authority and credibility, the two critical components of true, influencer marketing. By contrast, a better approach is to seek out only individuals whose sphere of influence is well regarded and whose reputation stands on its own merit.
To help you, follow these (4) steps:
1. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS with a small group of influencers (6-10) that have relatively few followers but high engagement rates. To do this find well shared content that is highly relevant to your area.
2. DELIVER VALUABLE INFORMATION
3. IDENTIFY AND ON-BOARD REAL SMES
4. PUT MEASURABLE CONTENT IN YOUR STORIES
The advent of the digital age has transformed the way content is produced, stories are told, and information is shared. There’s nothing better than getting lost in a good story - - an immersive, experience rooted in authenticity to share with your prospects and clients. With the obvious link between storytelling and social sharing, it should be a foundational element of any company’s marketing strategy.
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