Everything passes. It has to.
When you see a product bill-board advert as a passing onlooker or a digital banner ad while browsing your favorite social networking site, what are your first thoughts? Are they positive? Does the ad stick in your head for a few seconds, minutes, perhaps? Does it spur you to enquire further about the scheme? In short, does it compel you to buy into the idea enough to make you want to actually buy the product?
Believe me when I say this – It is those first few moments of impression that brand marketers are actually vying for in this insanely competitive business world. To grab your attention and stick in your psyche or pique your curiosity so that you become their customer or remain loyal to their brand, if you already are one. The digital age has endowed the customer with maximum power, and rightly so, since they are the end users anyway. They count on ‘word-of-mouth’ social reviews from peers before making decisions regarding a brand. Top it with their constantly shrinking attention level and the buffet of choices before them, and marketers have a formidable challenge at hand.
So, the burden of making a lasting impact on consumers in those precious few moments lies on the content marketers, whose job is fraught with numerous complications. Some of these issues are well-known and therefore predictable (if not always manageable!) while others are not quite as obvious to onlookers and stakeholders. Even so, all of them are extremely crucial in making or breaking a brand.
Be it a social media banner ad, a product flyer, a brochure, an infographic or even a formal press release in the media, every marketing material warrants serious forethought and precision planning with regard to its messaging and creative impact. Whether one needs to launch a new product or service line, revive an existing business or talent management initiative, disseminate industry thought leadership or manage inbound traffic to one’s website, content marketers are responsible for getting every aspect of the messaging absolutely right. They need to ensure completeness of message to bring out the right intent and have the right impact with their end audience. They constantly need to ask themselves – is the messaging ambiguous or lacking in meaning in any way? Will it result in a positive response in terms of brand recognition or revenue turnover or lead generation or will it fizzle out? Or worse, will it be construed in any way other than what has been intended or be offensive or distasteful to any section of the audience? Is it conforming to the brand’s identity or clashing with its ideals? How will it affect competitors’ brands or influence industry perception? All these and more questions are constantly buzzing around in the hyper-active, borderline-paranoid minds of the content marketers.
And this is just in terms of content – the actual words and sentences used in the messaging – right down to the font style, size and color…which is just half the story. When it comes to creative design, content marketers need to remain hands-on at every step – choosing the right imagery, the color palette, space adjustment and alignment with text, and a number of other related aspects. Moreover, marketers need to ensure brand identity is maintained appropriately throughout – having the company’s logo displayed correctly, including backlinks to respective web pages and information forms for SEO, integrating social handles, adding POC details for query resolution, etc. All of this demands the full mindshare of content marketers, fostering creativity while maintaining an objective mindset.
Even with maximum planning, detailed precautions and the best of intentions, things could fall through the cracks. Sometimes, in all the milieu of approvals and multiple iterations, it is possible that the best of minds can miss out on the simplest of errors. It happens. We are human, and it’s human to err. What does matter is how we learn over time to minimize the chances of such errors to the best possible extent. For one, it helps to get a fresh perspective from an outsider who has not at all been involved in the content creation process – a fresh pair of eyes. That way, some details that got missed previously can come to light and be corrected in time. Another common problem seen in most creative people be they designers or writers, is the risk of getting jaded or having a “block”. Working collaboratively as a team, brainstorming and continuously learning from one another helps prevent mental fatigue. Pepping up your workplace with personalized, inspirational items or taking time off with stress-relieving activities can be a sure shot way to keep your creative juices flowing.
The bottom line? Having “an eye for detail” at all times is a great trait to hone. It will pay off immensely as errors get minimized over time and your brand benefits from this practice. Sometimes, content marketers might be misjudged as being “nit-picky’ because of this attribute, but that’s okay. It is always preferable to strive for perfection than accept mediocrity.
What steps have you taken to optimize the content marketing strategy for your business and how have they paid off? Do share your thoughts.