One day, while coaching our team on impactful verbal communication, Steve Zaffron (Founder of Vanto Group, co-author of The Three Laws of Performance book) asked us a simple question.
“If you could only say one thing, what would you say?”
I remember this straightforward yet powerful distinction had hit home for me. In our ever-so-competitive modern-day digital horse race a.k.a. content marketing, even the giant global companies are struggling to break through the noise with their content strategies. Nevertheless, it certainly can be done. How is yours going?
Here are my two cents. While rules to win a gold medal in the content marketing Olympics may constantly change, the fundamentals, just like in sports, always remain intact – crawl before you walk, swing before you TikTok. For instance, take a look back at those nearly pre-historic times when we weren’t being hit with a gazillion calls-to-action (CTAs) per second. When Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin and the rest of us were unboxing our first PCs, most marketing took place through print, radio and TV (and I don’t mean the YouTube app on your phone!) costing an arm and a leg. How did the top marketers craft their messages back then and what can we learn from their methods today?
Two words – creative storytelling.
Many of us have a soft spot for these and other masterpieces of TV advertising, but as you may have heard, the days of relying on TV ads with enormous budgets (even the brilliant ones) to get your message across are long gone. 36 years after the introduction of Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing, we are back in the marketing jungle deeper than ever before – at this very moment, your prospective clients are wading through an infinite number of words, images, videos, podcasts, posts and tweets – some costly, most made for next to nothing.
So, what does creative storytelling look like in 2021 and beyond? How can it be molded into a winning content marketing strategy?
I am going to go out on a whim here and say that, from my perspective, an amazing piece of content starts with the same question we began with, paraphrased - if you could only write (film, photograph, podcast, etc.) one thing to make an impact, what would it be? Are you sure? Okay, do that. EVERY TIME.
Here are three recent pieces of fantastic content marketing from everyone's favorite industries, SaaS and beer, with very different production budgets:
I won’t waste your time with the same extensive lists of marketing how-to’s you’ve already read a million times. Once you’ve crafted your message and developed your campaign, believe in it - and that means invest in it. Amplify it with all the resources, channels, influencers, automation and online community you have available. Embrace new technology – a cutting-edge MarTech stack is undoubtedly worth it. Measure. Optimize. Convert. Repeat. If you build it, they will come.
One last thing. Dear CEOs and executive teams – your company cannot afford not to grow. If you want results, trust your marketers to do their jobs. Support their budgets, recommendations and decisions. You hired them for a reason.
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