No matter the dramatic differences in trends as we switch to a new year, content will always remain queen in the marketing world!
In our decade-plus careers as strategists for Fortune 500 brands, we‘ve had front row seats to radical shifts – from the rise of visual formats to an exploding creator economy.
Yet branded content done right continues to sing its siren song to audiences across platforms, outpacing all promotion styles in credibility and conversion power through memorable storytelling.
So let‘s dive into 10 essential commandments based on research and firsthand lessons that can amplify your content engine in 2023:
But first – what makes great content tick in an evolving digital landscape?
Decoding the Core of Compelling Content
Boiling it down simply, magnetizing content solves a user need or curiosity through memorable information sharing. Sounds basic but achieving this involves an interplay of smart elements:
Relevance: Does the topic connect clearly to audience interests?
Personality: Is the voice genuine or stuffy corporate-speak?
Storytelling: Are insights woven into compelling narrative?
Multi-format: Is the medium aligned with message and platform?
Only at the confluence of the R-P-S-M principles can B2C or B2B content strike an emotional chord and forge durable mindspace.
Sure you can try fancier technologies like interactive video or augmented reality. But within even 200 words of text or 3 PowerPoint slides, the RPSM fundamentals hold supreme when crafting high-impact communications that compel action.
Why Should You Bother With Content Marketing?
In our current state of information overload with endless advertising, branded content done right cuts through the noise. Backed by data, here‘s why you need to double down on owned media:
63% of consumers feel fatigued by impersonal sales-y ads and actually prefer helpful content from brands. (Source: Adobe)
This opens massive potential for well-targeted educational and entertaining material.
78% trust content from brands more than information on social media. (Source: GlobalWebIndex)
Position your organization as a subject matter expert rather than anonymous airtime buyer!
51% of customers expect a brand to deliver custom content at some stage of their buyer‘s journey. (Source: Demand Metric)
Tailor communications matching motivations across awareness, consideration and decision stages.
Clearly, disregarding high-quality content creation deprives you of unprecedentedRelationship Marketing at scale in a fragmented digital world.
Now let‘s get into the 10 tips guaranteed to amplify owned-media effectiveness based on internal research and client case studies:
1. Create Detailed Audience Avatars
Remember we said relevance is the heart of engaging content?
To help identify topics and styles precisely matching your audience interests, assemble a detailed buyer persona guide including parameters like:
- Demographic – Age, gender, location, income level
- Psychographic – Values, beliefs, aspirations, interests
- Pain Points – Key problems seeking solutions for
- Objections – Doubts that prevent purchase
- Influencers – Publications, personalities they follow
While persona guides earlier had generic information, modern consumers expect ultra-personalization. Go as granular as mapping your audience‘s typical weekday schedule!
When IBM hypertargeted content to niche IT exec titles through their digital magazine Think, they saw 60% more downloads and 80% increased click-throughs to their site.
2. Set Measurable Objectives Per Asset
With passionate creativity, it‘s tempting to begin ideating content themes randomly including latest trends like Web3 or multiverse experiences.
But while inducing FOMO helps, each piece of owned media must align back to specific marketing and sales objectives.
Before drafting think through guideposts like:
- What part of the funnel are we targeting – awareness, consideration or conversions?
- Should the content support lead gen, newsletter sign-ups or social sharing?
- Is repurposing feasible for additional platforms? Can data be collected for retargeting?
Setting KPIs for every release keeps teams aligned on business impact rather than vanity metrics of views and applause alone.
When Microsoft aligned content to buyer journey stages, they increased conversion rates on branded assets by 5X over product-specific materials.
3. Track Both Established and Emerging Content Formats
While long-form remains essential to establish expertise, newer micro-content formats often attract higher engagement.
Based on client experiments, here are some trending styles we recommend brands tap in 2023 across both text and video channels:
Interactive Calculators and Quizzes – Instantly quantify user needs
Listicles – Enhance scannability with digestible takeaways
AMA Sessions – Boost transparency through unfiltered conversations
Reddit Talk Discussions – Enable text, audio and video chat options
Short-video Series – Maximize shareability and serial recall
Whatever you choose, ensure mobile-first and multi-channel optimization.
When packaged goods giant Unilever adopted TikTok‘s under-3 minute style for recipe content, they saw over 11 million views with 30% video completion rates, exceeding benchmarks.
4. Empower Through Education
Here‘s a secret seasoned content creators know.
The most clicked, liked and shared posts rarely highlight product capabilities directly. Instead they provide unexpected insights that intrigue audiences.
Rather than a dry features brochure, create an insider‘s guide to successfully using them. Explain surrounding concepts that build capability. Weave in adjacent use cases to showcase versatility.
Enrich educational value through interviews with practitioners using clever metaphors and visual explainer formats. Help readers self-actualize through the empowerment your solutions facilitate.
When cybersecurity major Symantec moved their blog from product pitches to cybercrime trends and security culture, traffic grew by 200% over 2 years with a 500% increase in leads.
5. Adopt a Cluster-Satellite Structure
With 100s of posts across channels, sustained content coherence is vital for SEO and findability. Rather than isolated blogs, curate content efficiently through:
Pillar pages on broad topics like major industry trends, buyer journey stages, primary solutions area. These become go-to hubs.
Surrounding these pillars, create cluster content – specific posts on subtopics, listicles on stability tactics, each satellite crosslinking back to its central pillar.
This interlinked hierarchy allows related content discovery while sending relevance signals to search engines about your domains of expertise.
When Epson redesigned their site with pillar-cluster architecture based on product lines, pages per session increased by 30% and pages receiving traffic jumped 55%.
6. Leverage Website Personalization
In a multi-device world with endless content options vying for user attention, experience differentiation is vital.
Rather than a generic website, identify regular visitors through login journey mapping or cookies. Show personalized recommendations for them:
- Behaviorally target anonymous users too based on current visit – guide seekers of pricing to related cost reports.
- Tailor by persona and role – Show only retail-relevant posts to store managers.
- Craft user journeys – those abandoning cart can be nudged with promo codes.
Personalized sites deliver 5-15% more conversions over one-size-fits-all approaches. When done right, the ROI warrants requisite tech investment.
7. Develop Proprietary Research and Data
While curating third-party statistics helps, truly authoritative content also produces original perspectives.
Conduct annual surveys, interview experts for insights, and test upcoming use case ideas with focus groups. Build an editorial calendar around data release to attract inbound links.
Also mine your internal data goldmine – from years of customer interviews across regions to operational statistics. Analyze for trends and packaged for public launch through research reports, topical analyses and benchmarking posts.
Publishing such exclusives establishes your firm as an innovator rather than information aggregator. when Fairchild Semiconductor began issuing annual trend forecasts, media mentions and speaking opportunities grew over 60% annually.
8. Relentlessly Analyze and Enhance User Experience
Having an award-winning studio churn out Oscar-worthy content is pointless if the website underperforms on experience.
Analyze user tests to remove navigation pain points and layout issues. Confirm minimal form fields and page loading speeds even on mobile. Fix broken links and showcase captivating headlines, multimedia, comments and sharing widgets.
Also track analytics for indicators like scroll depth, click-path patterns, and exit/entrance pages. Run A/B testing for enhancements. Enable site search, content ratings and user generated content.
By removing UX adoption barriers to access remarkable content, SaaS platform ON24 saw 14% more sales booked and 9% larger deal sizes.
9. Blend Competition Watch With Innovation
Rather than go it solo, also track content formats and campaigns that made your closest competitors shine.
Leverage tools like Buzzsumo to analyze their top performing themes and styles over the past year. Subscribe to their blogs and newsletters at an individual level rather than relying on impersonal social posts alone.
Reverse engineer why certain thought leadership stunts, joint webinars and interactive content saw sky-high amplification. Brainstorm ideas you can adapt uniquely with your strengths – whether exclusive data access, internal experts or branded tech capabilities.
When ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods took to LinkedIn to directly counter greenwashing accusations after monitoring conversations, the bold transparency drove record reactions and press coverage.
10. Promote Proactively with Tailored Targeting
Unlike the days when merely ‘if-you-build-it-they-will-come worked‘, over 50% of stellar owned media never gets its due discoverability.
Repurpose primary posts into snackable quotes, trailers and images for multi-channel re-promotion. Collaborate with employee influencers and industry analysts to amplify reach.
Split test promotion campaigns personalized via audience segment, geography, company size and more. Experiment with organic and paid strategies based on asset type – whether research downloads or intriguing event microsurveys.
When Adobe leveraged both owned communities and external partnerships tailored by niche, their 2021 global research assets saw over 15X more clicks and 12X more social impressions.
So there you have it – 10 hacks we‘ve validated firsthand to juice up your owned media engine as we usher in 2023!
Key Takeaways: Actioning a High-Impact Content Strategy
- Develop ultra-specific audience avatars: Primary filter for optimal topics and content channel selection
- Define measurable marketing goals per asset: Ensures content supports objectives beyond vanity metrics
- Track emerging formats: New styles tailored for platforms align better with fragmented attention spans + mobility
- Educate powerfully: Empower audiences by showcasing YOUR expertise rather than boasting product prowess
- Enable content discoverability: Interlink topics via pillar-cluster model for usage clarity and SEO wins
- Personalize experiences: Match content served to user needs and interests automatically
- Produce original research: Own the insights that make you unique as a thought leader
- Obsess on website UX: Eliminate technical barriers to leverage high-quality content
- Learn from competitors: Emulate what amplifies rival content while adding your special sauce
- Promote proactively: Repurpose and target key content across stakeholders via relevant channels
Stay tuned for our next posts on optimizing video marketing and measuring content return on investment!