5 Tips to Winning the Content Arms Race

by Erika Rollins

Step aside Mutually Assured Destruction, in this era of unrestrained content proliferation, the Cold War’s arms race has been replaced by a new MAD: Marketing Assisted Differentiation. That last word, differentiation, is key—because if your content isn’t setting you apart, then your metaphorical warheads are duds. Here are five tips to set your content (and your brand) apart from the competition, and emerge as a marketing superpower.

  1. Know your audience. Who is most likely to care about your offerings? If you’re a software developer in the business of developing interactive educational platforms, make sure your content speaks to educators. Know what they care about, and what makes life easier, harder, and more rewarding for them. Unless they see that you “get it”, they’re not likely to think your solutions can solve their problems or address their goals.
  2. Stay focused. Each piece of content should address an individual issue, make a single request of the reader, or put forth a specific solution. Yes, you have a lot to say, and you should say it all—but not all at once. Make a list of the topics that matter to your audience and of the solutions or insights you’d like to share, and tackle them one at a time. Focus makes content easier and more enjoyable to share. Imagine a reader chatting with a co-worker. You want them to be able to say, “I just read the most interesting article about the use of educational software in zoos.” Not, “I just read a piece about the use of educational software in zoos and how end-of-grade testing is hurting teacher retention and the likely legislation about to be passed addressing funding for pre-k education.” That second conversation just isn’t going to get off the ground—and neither is the content that inspired it.
  3. Don’t force yourself to be topical. There’s a difference between being click-worthy and being clickbait. Succumbing to the temptation to generate clicks at any cost can hurt your image. Not only can it feel forced and insincere, but it can also dilute and distract from the things you actually want to say. Having said that, if your CEO is a huge Star Wars fan, sure, maybe it’s okay to mention a new movie trailer—but do it organically, in a way that makes a similarly enthused audience connect to your leadership’s fandom. Maybe. But if it doesn’t fit with your overall tone and messaging strategy, it might not be worth the effort.
  4. Don’t try to win with volume. The proliferation of content is out of control. Content can work wonders for your marketing efforts; but the internet is a vast sea that really doesn’t need another bucket of the same old seawater. If you’ve created the content equivalent of an exotic phosphorescent tropical fish, though, release it and watch it stand out from the rest of the boring brine. And remember that flooding your blog or website with too much content—especially lackluster content—can just make it harder for your audience to find the good stuff.
  5. Be different. Back to the marketing-assured-differentiation mentioned above. Unless what you’re offering sets you apart somehow, your content barely matters. The point of content marketing is to reveal what makes you unique and to connect you to an audience with specific needs. If you’re doing the same thing, for the same price, in the same industry, for the same customers, what is there to create content about? Content can make you stand out, if you’re outstanding.

Following the rules above will help connect you to an audience that needs, wants, and enjoys everything you have to offer. At CTM, we are only as successful as our customers and our goal is to arm you with the marketing and telephony tools and resources most relevant to your unique business needs. Send us a note and let us know what we are doing well or what suggestions you have.