How many times have you scrolled past a Facebook ad and scoffed at how hard it was trying to blend into your feed?

The sad truth for brand marketeers is: people are becoming wiser and more skeptical when it comes to advertising.

Even Facebook, the darling of digital advertising, is fast losing its sheen.

According to Adobe Digital Insight’s 2017 Digital Advertising Reportcompetition for eyeballs is now fiercer than ever; the cost of digital advertising is going up five times faster than inflation; and there’s a huge gap between what advertisers think people want, versus what people really want.

For brands and advertisers, it’s adapt or die.

This is why content marketing is on the rise. When you create content that addresses your customers’ daily hassles, you build trust and goodwill.

They’re more likely to buy your product simply because they love what you have to say.

So in this ruckus of advertising noise, how can you craft better content that speaks directly to your customers’ deepest desires?

Here are some things to keep in mind:

#1: Know your purpose

Where does your brand stand in a wider societal context? What purpose does your company exist, other than to make money?

People rally behind big ideas that they believe in, and by telling stories that illustrate your brand purpose, you create a loyal following that become your best brand ambassadors.

Case study: Procter & Gamble

Procter & Gamble’s Always brand sells feminine hygiene products.

After realising that young girls often had confidence issues during puberty, Always tackled the societal issue head-on by making it their mission to bring puberty education to millions of adolescent girls. Their 2014 #LikeAGirl short film was the fourth most viewed ad in 2014 on YouTube and sparked a chain of similar videos.

#LikeAGirl

#2: Create micro stories around your tribe of loyalists

Your brand is never the hero of the story. Your customers are.

People should be at the heart of stories, not brands. Use authentic stories to reinforce your content and increase brand advocacy.

Zoom into the micro and create personalised stories about your users. By showcasing other people, you illustrate how your brand can help others.

Customers buy a product once because it’s functional. Loyalists buy into brands that help shape them into better people.

Case study: Airbnb’s community stories

Airbnb connects local home owners with travelers — a business that is rich with user stories.

The Airbnb Community showcases deeply personal stories about hosts:

airbnbcommunity

Airbnb’s series ‘When Strangers Meet’ tells stories of two strangers who met through chance encounters on Airbnb:

Airbnb when strangers meet

#3: Stop selling and start giving

People hate being sold to, but they love to buy. What can you offer that’s of value to them?

It’s now less about selling, and more about creating content that helps people learn and grow.

In content marketing, you have to give (a lot!) before you receive. By offering genuinely informative content, you can also build up trust as an industry authority. This is especially true for B2B brands.

Case study: Lenovo’s TechRevolution

To increase brand awareness, computer technology company Lenovo launched TechRevolution, a content hub that focuses on educational content for its target audience.

TechRev_GalleryImage002_RAW

Besides ungated content like videos and blog articles, TechRevolution also offers gated content (in the form of informative white papers and reports) to generate leads.

At the end of the day, whether you’re a B2B or B2C company, content has one main goal — to build up brand loyalists.

Crafting content is an immensely fulfilling journey. It’s no longer about churning out words or images in the isolation of your room, but creating genuine connections with the people who matter.


This article was first published in Want Things Done’s blog.

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