Content marketing + inbound marketing are the future

I ran across this excellent blog post by Gregory Ciotti, on unbounce, about 25 business tips he offers based on academic research. They’re all fascinating and offer valuable insight for businesses and marketers. But let’s start with the five he outlines for Content Marketing.

As you know, content marketing is an effective strategy to reach and engage potential customers. Since most people these days are searching online for goods and services, and educating themselves with multiple sources of information before making a decision, well-designed content offers what they’re looking for.

Gregory has this to say about content:

Content marketing is one of the best strategies for customer acquisition available to bootstrapped startups operating online. When you can’t go toe-to-toe with the ‘big guys’ by throwing money into ad buys, creating amazing content is the strategy to stand out online and provide value to current and prospective customers.

Content can be any level of information and communication:

  • An e-book
  • Free information sheet or guidelines to download
  • A webinar
  • A video
  • A white paper summarizing research results
  • A checklist
  • A magazine

Great content that’s unique and targeted will help you stand out from the competition. It will also help move potential customers closer to that all-important decision.

Gregory’s 5 research-based tips for great content

1.) Evoke strong emotions. According to Wharton research on What Makes Online Content Viral?, the secret to viral content is in triggering strong emotions and creating things of practical value. The emotions cited in the study included Awe, Anger, Anxiety/Fear, Joy, and Lust.

2.) Create a controversy.Research from Jonah Berger (author of Contagious) has shown that when it comes to creating controversial content, the key is to create divide on an issue of “low-controversy,” or one that people love to argue about within your industry, but that isn’t controversial to the public at large (like politics and tragedies).

3.) Leverage the 3B’s. According to some interesting research on social identity, people are passionate about anything that stirs up feelings about their “3B’s”, or their:

  1. Behavior
  2. Belonging
  3. Beliefs

If you create content that either confirms (and supports) or challenges an important ‘B’ in a popular group, you’re on your way to creating a successful piece of content that gets shared.

4.) Create magnetic headlines. According to an Eyetrack study, people often evaluate a post by only looking at the headline. If you check out this list of 101 Popular Headlines, you’ll notice that the most successful headlines either promise a complete solution (‘X’ Results in ‘X’ Days), create suspense or mystery, get incredibly specific, or are thought inducing (“What if ____ could happen to YOU?”).

From http://unbounce.com/online-marketing/academic-small-business-tips/

Although many of these are “of course!” ideas, validating them with research really adds punch. And I’m sure I can use the “Behavior, Belonging, Beliefs” idea …

Add this to the recent studies we blogged about on the visual shift in online content–whether social, web or blogging–and you’ll have a direction to follow when you create content to boost your online presence.

Content is a vital piece of an optimized, online brand.

We advocate content that’s built around your brand persona and your key messages–the visual and verbal brand. When your story is told in different venues, with reasons to look further, you’ll engage your audiences and help them understand “what’s in it for me?”

These days many organizations have not yet created an online brand that aligns with their offline brand. Their printed materials (traditional marketing tools) don’t look or read like their website.

Yet an optimized brand is integrated and synchronized no matter where your audiences connect. To learn more about how to optimize your brand for higher response, download our e-book: 10 Steps to an Optimized Brand.

Or to discuss a content marketing strategy for your firm, drop me an e-mail or give us a call toll-free 866.363.4433.



About The Author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer founded Creative Company with two partners in 1978 in Salem, Oregon. Her training as a graphic designer has guided the company's focus on brand persona founded in design and message, generating the brand optimization methodology. Award winning design, on point messaging and strategic positioning have generated response for clients since 1978.

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