I had the privilege of attending a webinar with the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, Ann Handley, yesterday. Her name on the cover of Content Rules told me that she means business where content is concerned, and boy howdy does she ever have great ideas! (Note: I downloaded the e-version promptly at the end of the webinar.)
If you were unable to make it to our fun session, don’t dismay – here’s what you need to know in point form, along with the recorded version with some very practical (and fun!) advice on creating rocking content.
- Content is the new black, but be careful not to simply subscribe to the idea of content without thoughtfully considering your approach.
- Enthusiasm for content is great, but best intentions and a deep desire to have killer content is not enough.
- You want your content to resonate with your audience.
- There’s lots of wishy-washy content being created, don’t let that be you. Your story should transform your business.
- It’s not storytelling: it’s telling a true story well.
- Content is not a magic bullet.
- Current content not working? Abandon ship, or get stuck.
- Good enough isn’t good enough anymore. 41% of B2B companies are struggling to produce the kind of content that really engages their target audience. #GoodEnoughSucks
- Content is not new, but the ever-increasing number of platforms to share it across are creating new opportunities to be creative in your sharing.
- “Content is anything you create or share to tell your story.”
Ann shared insight and examples around ways to tap into the creativity of our youth. After all, she says that we were “all given the same box of crayons” when we started school. Tap into the creativity that you were once so carefree about, the kind before you were a grown up with a giant fear of straying from the norm. Stop doing just what you see others doing. Experimenting can be frightening, but show me a brand that really kills content that is copying everyone else. Mr. Rogers offers childlike inspiration to draw from in the video below, if you’re struggling to channel that creativity you once drew from.
Use any cliché you like, but remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Ann recommends finding that “one thing that you can make a change in”. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Tackle one area vs revolutionizing your entire content strategy.
Here are 13-ish steps to get you started. Check out the full recording at the end of this post for meatier conversation surrounding each step, complete with real examples of brands who get it.
1. Tell your story
1½. Tell your untold story
2. Answer FAQs
2½. Answer FUQs, too (Frequently Unasked Questions)
Here’s a look at how Brock University responded to an FUQ.
3. Make your customer the hero of your story
4. Reimagine from existing collateral (like Cisco did in this example shown below)
5. Create 10 things out of 1 thing
6. Notice content moments everywhere
6½. Think Visual
6¾. Visual Curating
7. Experiment. Create the unexpected
8. Speak human (lose business Frankenspeak)
9. You’ll have to watch the recap to see where number 9 went
10. Show how your product lives in the world (like the way LL Bean demonstrates in this video)
11. Hire a brand journalist (and all the brand journalists of the world rejoiced!)
12. Create a path
13. Have fun! (Like FMW Fasteners does)
— FMW Fasteners (@fmwfasteners) April 30, 2012
If all of this great advice wasn’t enough already, Ann provided loads of valuable prompts to help you tell your story. From re-telling the story of your ‘ah-hah’ moments to writing about how you’ve evolved, there are loads of prompts shared throughout the recorded webinar that can help springboard your mind into a zone of creativity.
Oh, and I must also add this. Ann tries to use her own photos whenever possible, so that photo up top? That’s one that I took of the webinar in progress.
Without further ado, here’s the webinar recording that fills in all of the blanks I left out:
**Please forgive the funny edited bits and pieces as we had a little audio glitch a time or two, but have done our very best to smoosh it into a useful vid for you.
Seriously, we were thrilled to have Ann with us, and it is our hope that you take away big things. Please share your favorite moments with us and tell us how you plan to kick your content up a notch.
Our webinars are always fun, so keep your eyes peeled for what’s next. We tend to talk about serious things like content, social media strategy, and even zombies. For more recorded webinars that you may have missed, see here.