6 ways to entice your audience with your content

Delving into content marketing? Make it good, don’t blab about yourself, and pay attention to your data, says this expert. Tennis videos work, too.

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Content marketing? Piece o’ cake. Shoot some photos, crank out a blog post bragging about your whizbang gizmo, and you’re there, right?

It’s not that easy, says Maggie Fox, CEO and chief marketing officer of Social Media Group. You’ve got to step up your game—and the results can be big.

“You’re broadcasters,” she says. “You now have the chance to go directly to your consumers. You don’t have to go through the filter of the news media.”

That means producing top-quality content yourself.

Fox spoke at Ragan’s conference, “Breakthrough Strategies for Communicators” at SAS headquarters in Cary, N.C. Her session, “The art and science of content marketing,” is available on Ragan Training.

RELATED: Learn how companies like NASCAR drive engagement through content marketing at Ragan’s Content Summit.

Fox’s Social Media Group has helped major brands in Europe and North America get social, such as Ford Motor Co., SAP, 3M, and Thomson Reuters.

Here are a few of her ideas:

1. Create content that’s good enough to steal

You’re competing for attention with Hollywood and the music industry, she says. You need to make content that’s good enough to steal.

“They have a very interesting problem in that their content is so good, people are stealing it,” Fox says. “That’s your competition. You want to talk about noise? Your competition is free, entertainment-quality content.”

2. Avoid sales-heavy pitches

It’s true that even as a communicator, your goal is to sell something. If you give your audience the information they’re looking for, you will convert interested people to customers.

American Express’ Open Forum draws small-business owners with its high-quality content about finance and business, Fox says. Testimonials from satisfied customers are also effective.

“People saying you’re great—as opposed to you saying you’re great—is about three times as credible,” she says.

3. Make it easy to spread

Partner with your marketing team to create content, and strategize how to share it through paid, earned, and owned media.

“Where is this going to be published?” Fox says. “How is it going to be created? … How will you ‘manifest’ your story, because there are multiple formats that you need to do that.”

Royal Bank of Canada produced a 45-page white paper that was stuffed with data. Social Media Group turned it into a series of infographics about how much it cost to live in various markets in Canada, with headlines such as, “Can you afford to buy a new home in Calgary?” Those graphics were widely used and shared.

4. Remember that it’s not all about you

SAP produces business management software, so naturally, it cranked out all kinds of geeky content, right? Well, actually, the company also sponsors the SAP Open, an annual tennis tournament, so Social Media Group produced a series of video tips by hulking Canadian tennis sensation Milos Raonic. Topics included “How to Improve Your Backhand.”

They were a hit. The goal of the campaign was to generate four marketing opportunities for SAP, Fox said. The result was 16.

“It doesn’t have to be all about you, and it probably shouldn’t be,” Fox says.

5. Broaden your distribution outlets

Among other suggestions, Fox recommends paid placements through StumbleUpon, Digg.com, and Outbrain, whose syndicated content recommendation engine serves up more than 50 billion content recommendations per month, she says.

6. Pay attention to your data

What you typically see in a marketing environment, Fox says, is “spray and pray, or set it and forget it.” You can’t do that anymore.

Compile the relevant data, and figure out what’s working well. Once you have an engaged audience, use those data to inform the next cycle of content creation.



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