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How can I optimize my content marketing efforts?

Cleveland: the home of rock and roll, die-hard sports fans, Falls Communications… and content marketing. In 2007, Joe Pulizzi began (what is now known as) the Content Marketing Institute here and it has since evolved into the internationally renowned hub for multi-channel storytelling. 

Each September, thousands make their way to Downtown Cleveland to attend the premier industry event: CMWorld. And this year was no different. Inspired professionals from across the globe (including a team from Falls) were treated to a three-day event, complete with a sampling of best practices, applicable insights and valuable trade secrets.

What did we learn? Here are ten approaches to optimize your content marketing efforts, straight from CMWorld 2018:  

1. Use your competitors to find the “white space”

Include a competitor audit in your organization’s content inventory. Review the topics competitors are covering, the frequency and channels of distribution and conversations in which they are participating. In addition, look for relevant topics and questions they aren’t answering, as well as channels they aren’t using to fill the content gaps.  

2. Create better brand-sponsored content

If you opt for paid media placement, you might question how often you should mention your brand. Instead, focus on the quality of your content. Position a subject matter expert from your organization to include a less invasive brand mention, while also providing a credible source for your audience. 

3. From concept car to assembly line – find what works and automate it

Being an effective content marketer doesn’t always mean recreating the wheel. Pay attention to the types of content that perform well and the platforms that best reach your audiences. Apply your learnings – and mistakes – for better content efficiency. 

4. From good to great, the success of content is all about how you frame it

Every day we are inundated with content: from the visuals that accompany your morning headlines to the barrage of social media notifications. But the best content marketers are intentional about what they put out. They create a concept and then walk away, giving work the time to breathe ... and maybe even evolve. With a small shift in perspective (and a few minor tweaks), the product is perfected.       

5. Write more like a journalist, less like a marketer

One of the most common pitfalls of content marketing is using copy that is laden with marketing speak and jargon. Instead, always keep your intended audiences in mind and custom-craft a message that shows (versus tells) personality, humor and style. Copy that is relatable and approachable resonates and inspires its audiences to share and take action. 

6. Create a “Yes, and” not a “Yes, but” culture to generate dynamic content

Nurturing an environment that is safe, productive and one where everyone feels respected can be the key to creating impactful content. To optimize results from your team or agency, reward learning, let ideas breathe and mature ... and even, celebrate failures – together. Say “Yes, and...” versus “Yes, but...” to break down that “fourth wall” and foster collaboration.  The result?  People are eight times more likely to share content they co-create. 

7. Discover your brand’s (actual) voice

Oral stories were around long before the written word. Yet, this primal means of communication is largely untapped by content marketers: the ratio of bloggers to podcasters is 2,000 to one. Embrace an audio strategy to give your brand a unique voice. Be consistent, be relevant, be entertaining. And tailor your content to the ear, versus the eye. 

8. Think like a reality TV editor

In reality TV, if you want to know who gets the girl, the money or the dream job, you have to make it through the last commercial break. The same lesson applies to content creation. If you want to pique your audience’s interest – and maintain it through your entire piece of content – you need to build tension. In order to build tension, you must decide what will be your “final rose,” and delay it as long as possible. 

9. Speak to the individual … not to the masses

Your audience is more likely to engage with your content if they feel like you’re speaking to them on a personal level. Your eNewsletter, message to shareholders, letter from the CEO – anything you want someone to actually read – should sound like a personal note from one human being to another. Keep writing straightforward, accessible and playful. 

10. Don’t forget the humor

As the closing keynote, the multi-hyphenated Tina Fey delivered some witty banter (hello Liz Lemon!) about how content marketing is woven into the fabric of her daily life. With Fey’s one-two punch of one liners and SNL writing room flashbacks, she offered the perfect reminder that infusing humor and personality into any and all interactions will always yield the greatest impact.  


Contributing Writers/CMW Attendees: Melissa Gutschmidt, Account Manager, Falls Communications; Jamie Dalton, Vice President, Falls Communications



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Lora Brand

Senior Account Manager

Lora is a Senior Account Manager on Falls’ brand strategy and marketing communications teams. She applies the insight and experience from more than 13 years at New York City lifestyle public relations firms to help a variety of current clients tell their stories in a targeted and impactful way.