content marketing expand your toolbox

“Just because all you have is a hammer, doesn’t mean everything is a nail – it’s all about expanding your toolbox”. This is the excellent analogy that Pete Wailes offered me at BrightonSEO when I asked him about content marketing, following his talk.

So, just because a company only has the internal capability or inclination to write blogs, by no means indicates they should restrict their content marketing campaign to blogs. Pete’s point was that a different strategy is needed for distinct situations and every company faces unique circumstances (audience types, conversion rates, profit margins, etc.) – it might be that a fresh medium is the best way of achieving a goal.

Don’t create content just for the sake of creating content

During his BrightonSEO talk he had mentioned in passing how he was sick of everyone making infographics for the sake of it, which I was intrigued by as this content has been shown to have excellent results. Pete clarified by stressing that an infographic can be a great way of presenting data, but that brands should not do it just for the sake of it, only if they have data that will look good when presented visually. A completely valid point.

Another issue which he was passionate about was about having the freedom to try something new or do something a bit different – coming back to his toolbox analogy, why not try out a load of those other tools available externally (news, blogs, evergreen articles, videos, social, photo gallery, podcast, etc.), because they could help you create the most appropriate, engaging and profitable content.

Be free, be relevant

So what can we take from these tips? Well, firstly that Pete is a fairly no nonsense guy who is passionate about content marketing; but also that brands need to think about the most sensible way of talking to their audience rather than just jumping on whatever is popular at that time.

I asked him what brands could ask themselves before embarking on a new piece of content. “Is this a bloody stupid idea?” he responded, after a moment’s thought.

A major part of this involves knowing what you are trying to achieve and understanding your audience. Content is all about creating connections, but until you identify the constituent parts you are dealing with, how will you know if you need a hammer, a Phillips-head screwdriver or a glue gun? Know your customer, know your goal, then create the content that the situation requires.

Message to Pete…

NB – In case you read this Pete, I apologise again for calling you James. I had a think about this and the only explanation I can think of is that I confused your name with James Whale, the director of ‘Frankenstein’, who I recently watched a film about. Can I pretend I was being creative with the content of your name? No, I didn’t think so.