The Content Wars

In today’s hyper-connected world, the winners of the content wars will be the brands who have created and shared exceptional content.   The best brands recognize that people – not ads or messages – are the new voice of their companies.    In a crowded digital landscape, it has become harder than ever to ignite and connect with a community of loyal advocates for your brand by engaging them with good content – and here’s why.
People Consume Content Differently Today
If your content strategy hasn’t changed dramatically in the last five years, you’re probably losing the content war.  Think about the content you read.  The competition for your time is almost endless. To get attention, content needs to be compelling, experiential and tell a great story or solve a real problem. The best brands are finding ways to engage prospects by creating exceptional online experiences and scaling their core message across relevant digital properties. One way to achieve scale is to take content and repurpose it.  Take one research paper, turn it into tweets, blogs, videos, webinars. Another way to achieve this shift is to engage bloggers to promote your message to their communities to extend your reach above and beyond what you can produce on your own.
Prospects are Jaded about Marketing
Consumers are getting shell-shocked. They’re the targets of too much messaging. That’s why good content needs to mimic a conversation with your customer that creates meaningful engagement.    The right conversation will help to solve a problem and build a relationship with your customer that will be sustained and reinforced with each interaction.   Consider mapping out an editorial calendar as you publish content. Lay out your web site in a way that’s designed as if you were having a talk with your customer on a topic that interests them. Your brand voice needs to connect over multiple interactions before you can move to a selling conversation.  Prospects will let down their guard if you become a trusted source of information.
Only the Exceptional Will Stand Out
Fortune favors the brave.  Good content needs to be relevant, differentiated, and compelling.  Your brand voice needs to connect in a meaningful way with your audience.  It needs to be provocative or interesting and it needs to come at the speed of an old fashioned PR machine, rather than a slow-moving marketing production schedule.   If you don’t have a journalist on your marketing team, you may want to consider hiring one. Exceptional content at scale, with speed is the objective.
So while content marketing has been around as long as people have been telling stories, the laws have changed and the battle for attention has intensified.  Many companies are slow to move from the traditional focus on outbound messaging to a targeted content strategy geared toward building engagement, collective awareness and buzz.  The transition is a hard one—it takes a lot of work to shift your entire content strategy. The new winners will be those who can engage, delight, entertain, and teach.
How are you building engagement with your customers?  Are you winning the war, or just adding to the noise?

Tami Cannizzaro IBM, Director of Marketing

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