Creating content that matters and using it well
By Rick Grant
Coming as I do from from a trade journalism background, when people talk about content to me I’m often thinking about something different than they are. The marketing world has come to the realization that content is king, and in that they are quite right. I’m just not sure they know why they are right.
As I meet with experts in mortgage industry firms around the country, I often hear about the processes they have put into place to generate great content. They’ll speak about press releases, articles, blogs, white papers, and multimedia, like video, podcasts and webinars. I call those documents or media files and from the perspective of the journalist, they are all just tools to aid in the production of the story. In the end, the story is all that matters.
Content marketers don’t talk about story enough. In my experience, the companies with the best stories and the ability to tell those stories effectively through the most channels are the most successful. We used to do that by getting articles in the trade press. Today, we use content marketing and we are taking responsibility, to a large degree, for getting our own stories out to the market through a range of channels.
When we get that job done right and the industry gains access to the stories about our companies, brands and executives, we can generate a lot of buzz and add credibility to our businesses.
Creating content that matters
In the intensely competitive mortgage domain, where a lot of mortgage product and service
companies are competing for the attention of originators and servicers, quality content will set your company apart, providing a clear differentiation between your firm and your competitors’. But what is quality content?
In short, quality is judged by the reader and so quality content is information that matters to and benefits your reader. Talking about troublesome industry issues, providing your perspective on industry happenings and helping your peers and prospects solve problems are all examples of quality content. There are many more.
Portraying your products and services in a manner that will positively project your brand is a little more difficult. It takes both effort and time. It can be tricky because if the reader perceives that you are using their time to sell them something, they will surely tune you out. This is why content marketing experts build content funnels that guide buyers on a journey that takes them to a place where they are eager to learn more about the company’s offering.
Along that journey, readers will be offered information in many formats, but don’t get caught up in the format of any one document. Stay focused on the story. In that way, you’ll be prepared to create stories that can be used and reused in many ways to deliver more leads, prospects and sales.
One thing I’ve noticed is that once a company gets good at generating stories that matter and getting them out, they often fail to put tracking metrics across the various marketing channels to figure out what is working for them. Most others end up under utilizing the best content that they have produced.
Making the most of your quality content
Here are some ways a company can utilize the content they create most effectively:
1) Generate stories, not documents
One good story will provide the material for a range of content delivery tools. Too many companies pay for a white paper and then pay for a feature article on the same topic. This is wasteful. Every story you write should be sliced up and used to create many content assets that can then be used across your marketing channels.
2) Use sustained email marketing campaigns to keep your content visible
Plan a mix of HTML and text-based campaigns to keep your content in front of your your target audience. The more channels you use to disseminate your stories, the more visible you will be and the more buzz you will create. Since you are just telling the same stories across all channels, you will achieve brand consistency.
3) Always be building your prospect list from content engagement
Those that actively engage in online conversations about the content you create will likely be your best prospects. Capture those leads and build your lists so you can use them later to nurture those leads until you can close. Building lists in this manner is more affordable than investing time to either validate archive lists, source/buy lists or generate target market lists from scratch using custom research.
4) Keep your stories circulating with sustained social media promotions
You have created your social presence and are building relevant connections in your target
audience. Why not take this content that you have developed to them? You can promote every
piece of content in 10-12 different ways at different times, so that you have maximum chance of
being noticed Use a mix of text and image based posts. Use rhetoric’s to engage effectively with your audience. You can also use automation tools to schedule these posts at different times over the next few days/weeks.
5) Utilize targeted social media ads to find new readers
Use targeted ads to get in front of your target audience. This can be across Facebook, Twitter or
LinkedIn. Each offers several options to reach a specific audience. The ads could be pure text or graphical banners or can even be content promotional. The relevant landing pages could be built within these social platforms or you can direct them to a landing page on your website.
Mortgage companies must plan their end-to-end content marketing initiatives well to ensure that
they achieve their marketing objectives. The keys are to tell stories that matter to your target market, tell those stories in every possible format and then promote them through all available marketing channels.