Six Content Marketing Insights to Help Your Content Strategy and Calendar Back on Track

Your planned content calendar just got kicked into next year. How do you adjust your content marketing? As content marketers, we start our days in our content calendars. What content pieces are planned for creation and distribution today, tomorrow, next week?

Six Content Marketing Insights to Help Your Content Strategy and Calendar Back on Track
Six Content Marketing Insights to Help Your Content Strategy and Calendar Back on Track

But now your content calendar just got turned upside down and kicked into next year.

Business and marketing leaders are experiencing daily challenges, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. As consumers, our perspective has changed on just about everything. As marketers, it is our responsibility to understand our consumers’ needs and wants and talk with them accordingly through key empathetic messaging that connects and resonates.

In this article, CEO of Mintent, Matt Dion will discuss the 6 Big Questions & Answers for Content Marketing Success, knowledge acquired from his 27 years of business and marketing experience. How should my content marketing strategy change? How do I talk to my audience in these unprecedented times? What should I stop doing?

Content Summary

Content Marketing Mastery with Matt Dion, CEO of Mintent
Question 1: How Do I Stay True To My Brand Promise In Times Of Economic Uncertainty?
Question 2: How Can I Create More Authentic Connections With My Customers?
Question 3: What Should Businesses Stop Doing?
Question 4: If There Are More People Online & Fewer Competitors Advertising, Should I Spend More on Advertising?
Question 5: How Can I Keep My Current Customers?
Question 6: With All The Obvious Negatives, What Positives Can We Take From It?

Content Marketing Mastery with Matt Dion, CEO of Mintent

Business and marketing leaders are experiencing daily challenges, unlike anything we’ve ever seen. As consumers, our perspective has changed on just about everything. As marketers, it is our responsibility to understand our consumers’ needs and wants and talk with them accordingly through our key messaging.

On a personal level, many of us are using our extra time at home to reflect on what we need and want, how we will move forward, and what the future holds for us after social distancing. Or is this the new norm? Businesses are also doing the same. With the typical means of delivering goods and services effectively blocked for the foreseeable future, many businesses are evaluating ways in which they can continue to operate and some are even finding new ways to thrive.

So how are these organizations identifying opportunities within their operations and can you do the same? First of all, understand what your customers struggle with and then communicate how you solve their problem. This is content mastery.

Matt Dion, CEO of Mintent, is an industry veteran with more than 27 years of experience in marketing, content marketing, digital transformation, e-commerce, and business development.

In this article, he lends his years of experience to answer six big questions organizations should be asking to discover unseen opportunities. Each answer is followed by a content marketing takeaway.

Question 1: How Do I Stay True To My Brand Promise In Times Of Economic Uncertainty?

The uncomfortable truth is, if you have not developed a brand promise (which is communicating to your customers exactly what they can expect from you), you are at a bit of a disadvantage already. And now, more than ever, customers are looking for reassurance your brand and business are trustworthy since they can’t ‘look you in the eye’ or seek personal assistance if your products or services fall short of their expectations.

Trust is everything. After the initial rush and stockpiling, consumers are beginning to tighten up their finances in anticipation of tougher times ahead. They are less willing to take a chance on a company that doesn’t make them feel confident in their customer service and provide social proof of it.

Show your empathy. Companies either blind to our new reality or seeking to profit from their customers’ misfortunes will be penalized. No one wants to feel taken advantage of. Recognize your customers’ worlds have changed and offer ways in which you can help. It’s as simple as this.

Don’t stop delivering on your promise. What does your brand promise to boil down to? Can you find new ways to deliver on it? If it revolves around personal face-to-face attention, how can you provide the same without in-person contact? Can you offer a virtual appointment? What about a guided online shopping experience? Can you ship samples to a customer’s location, so they can ‘try before they buy’?

Recognize everyone is in the room. With the digitization of the entire consumer journey, every interaction is potentially on display. Protect your reputation by maintaining professionalism, empathy, and integrity with every transaction you take part in. This approach will build trust and your business in turn.

Content Marketing Takeaway #1: Strengthen your online presence with a coherent brand promise. Tell customers exactly what they can expect from you. Tell them how they can interact with you if they aren’t satisfied with your product or service. Provide social proof and a guarantee. Then back it up at any cost.

Question 2: How Can I Create More Authentic Connections With My Customers?

A shared experience is unifying and right now, all over the world, people are in isolation, together. What can be more unifying than this? What are you feeling as you go about your work at home? Are you missing family, friends, your favorite restaurants? Does it help to know everyone is feeling the same way?

The real question is, what is stopping you from having conversations with customers about your own shared experiences? A recent Facebook ad and this Freshpet ad both do this incredibly well. Can you trigger emotions with a shared experience in a similar way?

This is where smaller organizations have an advantage. Large organizations typically have complex layers of approvals or ‘brand speak’ to go through, which can inhibit them from reacting quickly to rapidly changing circumstances. Small businesses can more readily adapt and use social channels to reveal how we are all sharing the experience of isolation, together – and it’s a powerful feeling.

As your customers’ personal lives change, how can your business realign to demonstrate empathy? For example, some restaurants are offering meal kits instead of prepared meals for pickup, as they recognize time in the kitchen was once a chore. Now, preparing a favorite meal together is valuable entertainment.

Content Marketing Takeaway #2: Produce content revealing how you share experiences with your customers. It can be as simple as an Instagram story about working from home or a multi-faceted campaign about how your business has changed. Aim to inspire, delight, amaze, or simply connect with your customers.

Question 3: What Should Businesses Stop Doing?

Businesses should stop trying to cash in on people’s problems, period. That’s a very short-sighted, cynical approach. If you’re taking similar actions, you’ll be penalized by your customers and potentially the ad platforms you appear on.

Avoid overtly selling or using ‘hooks’ like discounts on overpriced merchandise. Your customers will notice and call you out. Instead, asking the question: ‘How can I help you?’ will yield a more positive response.

Don’t judge success by sales alone. If you’re thinking long-term (and you should be), treat every interaction as a step forward with customers, even if it doesn’t result in a sale today. In a recession, businesses have to work harder and the sales cycle is longer. You should make a regular and concerted effort to nurture your prospects, showing them the value of your offering and giving them good reasons to make a purchase decision.

Don’t wait for things to ‘go back to normal’. There is good reason to believe some effects will be permanent. While the devastation families feel at being isolated from one another is real and the economic realities are concerning, there is also a tremendous opportunity for positive change. Peer into the future and see what positive changes you can make today for the health of your business tomorrow.

Content Marketing Takeaway #3: Be patient and resist the urge to focus on selling. Build relationships with your customers and weave this into your content. Describe the value you offer customers and give them ways to interact beyond a direct sales pitch. Offer advice without an obvious sale. Let your customers know you intend to serve them today or tomorrow – whenever they are ready.

Question 4: If There Are More People Online & Fewer Competitors Advertising, Should I Spend More on Advertising?

It’s tempting to make assumptions about what your competitors are doing and max out your advertising budget, but note the points above. You want to maintain your position today to keep your presence, but also recognize many people are not in a buying mindset right now.

Unless there’s evidence your business has improved (and many businesses have, for example, booze and video game sales) exercise caution and test your assumptions before spending.

If your messaging doesn’t create a connection, instill trust, or inspire a customer, then increasing your ad spend will only set you up for disappointment.

Take a hard look at whether your product is relevant to your customer today. Clothing, cars, and luxury goods are tougher sells. It’s difficult to justify purchasing designer clothes when no one will see you wearing them. In this case, focus your efforts on creating content and putting your product in a context that aligns with your customers’ current values and needs.

Be wary of offering discounts and other perks. This triggers a ‘how low can it go’ mindset. People who think the prices of goods have yet to go lower will wait for a better deal.

Avoid hyperbole. With people reacting to actual shocking news headlines daily, it’s unlikely you can shout loud enough to be heard.

Content Marketing Takeaway #4: Reacting too quickly or not quickly enough is a real quandary for business owners. There’s no playbook for what’s happening in the world. Reflect upon what your product offers to a changing customer environment and consider how you can adapt your key messaging to connect with your audience before pulling the trigger on increased spending.

Question 5: How Can I Keep My Current Customers?

In times like these, some of your customers may be swayed by deals and new offers. How you maintain the customer relationships you’ve worked so hard to cultivate will set you apart. You can start with empathy. Keep your customers as the focus over the long-term, after all, a customer secured is a customer you don’t have to ‘win’ again. Unless you make the mistake of failing to recognize what a treasure they are.

Communicate with your customers early, and often, but not too often. Don’t be part of the chatter. Start with empathy and honesty. Communicate when you have something of value to say. After all, we’re all in this together and every brand is experiencing as much change as the customer is.

Offer flexibility. A one-size-fits-all solution isn’t going to work for everyone and with budgets shrinking and changes happening daily, offering flexible solutions is one way to earn continued loyalty.

Ask for input. Invite your customers to tell you what they need. You can also make use of your website search tool, if you have one, to identify search patterns and to see what matters most to your customers.

Get to know your customers better, now. Make a personal connection with them and ask them how you can better serve them. Seek out ways to reward existing customers’ referrals or positive reviews. After all, social proof is more important than ever.

Content Marketing Takeaway #5: Your customers are connected through you. Learn from them and share their knowledge through content. What are the common questions you are being asked? Can you help your customer solve a problem before it arises? Customers appreciate being asked to share input. Use this information to improve your offering and make your relationships stronger.

Question 6: With All The Obvious Negatives, What Positives Can We Take From It?

Physical distancing is a two-edged sword. It has shaken the foundations of many industries and has rattled how we feel about our safety. However, it has also crystallized a few things for us. What is important? What do I care about? How can I make the best of a bad situation?

The answers and results are pretty inspiring. It has created unlikely partnerships. It has inspired innovation. It has brought about cooperation and collaboration at an unprecedented level, even in politics. It has prompted entire generations to realize the importance of things they once took for granted.

Businesses need to take time to reevaluate what it is our brands are cultivating. How do we serve our customers? How do we deliver on our promises? How do we make our customers’ lives better? If we can’t answer these questions today, we need to be able to soon or our competitors will pull the rug out from under us.

We also need to plan for an uncertain future. We know how this could happen again. We should be using our time to develop a crisis roadmap to determine how our businesses will react and respond to future crises. We can take what we’ve learned today to help us weather the storms of tomorrow.

In closing, there’s one common element in all of these situations and suggestions; focus your attention on genuinely helping others in everything you do. Without this, all of your marketing efforts will fall flat because the customer is paying closer attention to your true intent than ever before.

Whether it’s defining how you serve your customers best, finding ways to better connect with them, offering valuable content, or earning trust and loyalty, the end goal must be to surround your business with people who are invested in your success because you are invested in theirs.

Content Marketing Takeaway #6: Never forget the human element in everything we do. Take the risk of being different, authentic, and collaborative in how you engage with your customers. It’s worth it.

Source: Content Mastery with Matt Dion, CEO of Mintent

Thomas Apel Published by Thomas Apel

, a dynamic and self-motivated information technology architect, with a thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to system and network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. I enjoy the technical writing process and answering readers' comments included.