This article is co-authored with Jessi Bruno.
Late last week, Jessi — content writer extraordinaire and associate SEO at Now Media Group — linked the team to a video where a group of guys show how most pop songs are based on the same four chords. This got us immediately thinking about how there are parallels between music and marketing, because the fact is that a lot of marketing strategies — especially when it comes to small business marketing — are basically the same. This led us (really, it was Jessi, the brains behind this article) to make two observations,
- It’s incredible how much variation you can get from, say, four basic elements.
- However, at some point, you’re going to reach a saturation point where it all sounds the same and the relative competitiveness of your strategy is going to be negligible.
This second observation is the most important, because we reach saturation points all the time in the marketing industry. When someone finds a successful strategy, eventually others find out about it and apply it in their own way. Over time, the strategy loses effectiveness. And, for whatever reasons, we see this a lot with small business marketing.
That’s why it’s crucial to be represented by an agency that has a track record of out-of-the-box thinking. To help you get an idea of what kind of agency you should look for, we want to give a couple examples of what out-of-the-box thinking might look like in the context of small business content marketing.
Case I: Myth Busters, Personal Injury Style
Read a random sample of ten personal injury blogs and — we tell you this with high confidence — it’s eventually going to all sound the same. Unless the content is written by the attorney, most of it is generic and a regurgitation of the same points you can find on dozens of other sites. On some level, this makes sense, because a non-expert content writer is only going to be able to write about what he or she can research online, and if most legal content online is the same, it seems natural to be constrained by that box.
Unfortunately, the fact is that this way of doing things doesn’t cut it, because your conforming to the mean and in marketing you want to be an outlier — you want to stand out. Blogs that stand out are,
- More likely to earn readers, and;
- More likely to earn links (a strong ranking factor);
To break out from the confines of the box, we decided to try something new with one of our clients, a personal injury attorney in Baton Rouge. The foundation of our idea is that people like to talk about frivolous personal injury cases, but there really isn’t a lot of deep, well-researched, and accessible information out there on these cases. It’s a gap we were ready to fill.
We decided to run a “Myth Busters” campaign, where we would look into the case details of some of the widely known frivolous lawsuits and provide an authoritative ruling on the cases’ legitimacy. One of these dealt with Peters v. Universal Studios, which you might know as the case where a 57-year old woman sued Universal Studios over being frightened at their haunted house. Sounds pretty frivolous, right? Actually, no — it was a legitimate slip-and-fall case and it was settled out of court. And we didn’t find this information online. It turns out most of what was published on the case was wrong. We found the most accurate information in the footnote of an obscure book. And, just like that, we published truly unique and interesting content — something you can’t find anywhere else (yet).
Because J. Price’s articles share information that’s hard to find anywhere else, it will be his site that’ll attract traffic from people researching the case online and it’ll be his site that attracts links from others who reference that research. That’s the goal, at least. But, you can see that in order to accomplish that you have to provide something people can’t find anywhere else — you have to be an outlier.
Case II: How Many Dental Blogs Do You Follow?
One day, Jonathan decided to ask his Facebook friends, “How many dental blogs do you follow?” The question received some likes — mostly from others in the industry — and a few off-topic comments, but out of the almost 700 people he’s connected with there was no one who answered “yes.” The truth is, he didn’t have to ask his Facebook friends, because he could see it in the Analytics data and he could see it just by analyzing a random sample of blogs. Dental content tends to be generic and it tends to be about the same topics everyone else is writing on, and that’s why many dental blogs don’t bring as much traffic as they should.
We decided to do things differently. Most dentists get the majority of their patients from their local neighborhoods and city, so why not talk about stuff that’s actually interesting to people from that locality? We implemented a content strategy across all of our infosites built around this idea. Rather than repeat the same blog on how great dental implants are, we talked about what’s happening in that city and we tied these events back to dentistry. (Here’s an example post about St. Patrick’s Day events in San Diego.)
Doing this accomplishes more than just making the blogs more interesting. It targets a broader category of dental patient. Think about it this way: a common rule-of-thumb is to visit the dentist twice a year, which means that for the majority of the year people aren’t actively looking for a dentist. They don’t want to read about how great your services are, or about how to fix a cracked tooth, because they’re not at the point where that information is relevant to them. But, by giving them content that they can identify with, that does speak to their present concerns, you can keep your practice at the top of their minds. That way, when the time comes to make a decision about which dentist to visit, you will have already made an impression on that person.
Over time, what we’re really doing is creating an interesting multi-layered approach to our content marketing. Different people are at different points of the conversion process and, when it comes to dentistry, most people are not at the end of that process. Instead, they’re somewhere in the middle. We wanted content that would attract people at different points, so that when they came to the end of their personal decision-making process, it was our clients who’d they think of. That’s why we decided to mix up our more generic blog posts with topics that seem less related, but really speak to what your patients want when they’re not at your office.
In fact, we’re already moving beyond our existing content strategy, looking for new ideas to provide our clients with truly fresh, unique, and interesting blogs that will attract new patients. And we don’t mean fresh to your website, we mean fresh to your readers.
Now Media Group Can Help You Break the Mold
Content saturation, also commonly referred to as content fatigue, is a real problem. The internet is full of content. Think of all the articles people urge you to read as you scroll down your Facebook feed. In this vast sea, it’s hard to stand out. And because of this a lot of content marketing gets stuck in the box of average. But, a successful business is not average — it has to be well above average. So you need a content marketing team with the creativity to create content that isn’t already out there.
Breaking the mold is what Now Media Group does. Jonathan has his own rule of thumb: if the idea is already well-established in the industry, he doesn’t want to hear it. He wants something better, something different. In fact, there’s times when he’ll catch competitors implementing his ideas and he’ll immediately start brainstorming how to make the next step forward. That’s the kind of culture your agency should exhibit.
If you would like to learn more about Now Media Group’s content marketing services, please contact us by email or give us a call at (858) 333-8950.
If you enjoyed this article, you may also like “Is it Time For New Content?” Also, don’t be shy and leave a comment below!
Formerly at [Tony] Robbins Research International and at Now Media Group as their Director of Marketing, Jonathan has a background in quantitative economics and analytics.