How to stand out in your marketing by using native content that blends in

Imagine that you heard a radio spot about craft beer during your regular commute. That spot hit all the right buttons – you could almost feel the cold, Bavarian style lager with a complex malt character and floral hops hitting your taste buds. You drool, immediately call the number featured at the end of the spot and order a case.

However, if you were to see a simple link to the same sound file on Facebook would you ever buy? You probably won’t even click to hear it. What would work on Facebook is a status message that intrigues and teases you and an eye catching graphic with a direct link to a landing page on the brewery’s site.

Every platform has a native form of content that’s best suited to its strengths. Content with links don’t work on radio, TV or print. Twitter won’t support messages over 140 characters. Updates exclusively featuring kittens and cupcakes and GIFs will not gain traction on LinkedIn.

If you want to achieve mastery over a platform you will have to understand what kind of content the audience expects and then provide that. It’s not easy, but the philosophy is simple.

Creating native content across multiple platforms

So given that you are likely present across multiple platforms like print, social and mobile isn’t this going to tie up a lot of time and resources, creating unique content across all platforms?

Not necessarily.

You don’t have to start over everything from scratch, use it once and then throw it away. You have to create content that has a longer shelf life, and is versatile and then promote it. A few principles behind creating content that lasts

1. Solve the problems of your audience- You might be tempted to create content that’s all about you but that’s like going to a party and getting introduced to that guy who constantly brags about himself. No one likes that dude. Besides, attention spans have plummeted from 12 secs to 8 secs in the last decade and people have become impatient.

So the kind of content that you have to create would be user centric, and something that does not feel alien to what they expected when they logged into a particular network. Answer their questions, solve their problems, make their lives better and even create content that appeals to their influencers. Keeping these themes in mind ensures that your content will be widely shared.

2. Use a system to turn disorganized data into content- Brands today are dealing with too much data that can be potentially turned into content.

This is both a problem and if you are prepared for it, a tremendous opportunity. It’s a problem that costs you time and money if you have to do the same thing over and over again. But it’s a tremendous opportunity if you manage your digital assets and you are smart about repurposing them for different platforms- for example, by turning a research report into an infographic or turning a video into a blog post.

3. Make analytics your friend- When you are first exploring a new platform you will stumble, make mistakes and fall. That’s normal. But if you are unlike most businesses you can take the time to learn what kind of content is a hit on which platform.

Like chess grandmasters who study their opponents’ moves before a big game, you can check out what others have been successfully doing on a particular platform. And then you when you take a deep dive into your analytics, see what has worked for you and work on those insights you can create something even bigger and better.

4. Tell fun stories- Snagging a new contract, or acquiring a new customer is basically like dating. The process is psychologically no different from what viewers feel while watching a hit movie , or how readers feel when they are hooked to a book and HAVE to turn the next page.

You might not be able to craft the next whodunit but there is plenty of scope to tell fun, non-boring stories on a limited budget. You need imagination, a prepared team and a willingness to seize the moment. Kind of like Oreo’s “You can dunk in the dark ” moment, a tweet during the last Superbowl in the US that went wildly viral.

Tools that you can use to measure success

Creating native content and seeding it out across different platforms is only half the story. You also need to measure how successful your efforts have been. These tools will help you

1. Google Alerts- Nearly everyone has heard of it but it still bears mentioning for it’s simplicity and effectiveness. Set it up with the desired keywords and once a day, you get alerts in your email inbox.

2. Hootsuite- While Hootsuite initially started out as a social media management tool it has integrated a robust set of analytics capabilities that lets you track the growth of your brand, perform sentiment analysis, determine social demographics and see what kind of content works the best for you, across multiple social networks.

3. Twitter Analytics- Twitter has a snazzy analytics dashboard that lets you see, among other things, which tweets produced clicks and followers, what kind of engagement individual tweets have generated and also find out which days are the best for you. All these features come for free.

4. LinkedIn Company Page Analytics- LinkedIn has built a solid analytics backend that can help you detailed information about your updates, followers and visitors. And if you have a LinkedIn account rep you get even more goodies that tell you how effective your content marketing efforts across the platform have been.

Repeat this listen-create-monitor process and very soon you will have a content engine that draws in hot leads.

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