In a series of talks this was Stephanie Wright speaking at a recent Business Blocks Networking Meeting for small businesses and start ups in Chigwell, Essex. This talks describes what content marketing actually is and how to plan it to be effective with your audience and objectives.
Being creative and being memorable are vital to you standing out from your competitors, so your marketing campaigns need to be a little different. So what’s your ‘big idea’? – tough question? Feeling a little anxious? Well don’t be, here are a few little tips to help guide your creativity to come up with your big marketing campaign.
1. Look at groundbreaking marketing ads.
Keep abreast of the latest advertising news to see what new and unusual ways other brands are developing to get your own creative juices flowing.
2. Check out your competition.
Keep tabs on your competition, they may not have the most creative ads but they are aiming at your target audience with a similar product, so join their social media pages and keep an eye on what they are doing.
3. What’s your brand’s story?
Every brand has a unique story within them – some are more obvious than others, but try to find something interesting and unique about your company, it could be that you are a family business that started selling sofas from your sofa! Or perhaps you found you were born to be an electrician after failing at being a plumber. Whatever it is, these stories ‘humanise’ your brand and are all important in building its personality.
4. What interests and excites you?
When you are shopping online, reading a magazine, watching TV or on your Facebook feed actually pay attention to the ads. Think about the message they are trying to deliver and the way they have done it. Which ones interest you, which are memorable and why? Make a list so that you can start to see any patterns or correlations that you could use in your own campaigns.
5. Get to know your customers.
If you can’t afford to do extensive field studies, just do them yourself. Look at where your customers are – places they go and things they do and get out there and talk to them. People have a fear of doing this but it is vital to hear ideas direct from the people you are trying to appeal to – what are they looking for and why? Contact your actual customers and see if they could spare some time to answer some questions and feedback to you. All of this research will help you get a very good idea of your customers, their needs and behaviours.
6. Get all your ideas out but don’t throw them out.
Let your mind step away from the problem, as your mind wanders and ideas flow, get them all out onto paper. Don’t throw the ‘bad ideas’ out, don’t be so hard on yourself, let your imagination run free and be positive about all the ideas that come out – at the early stages its quantity that’s important. If you don’t have the winning idea straight away you might find you can mould and shape a ‘bad idea’ into something that is perfect.
7. Structure your brainstorm.
Look at it as an advertising agency would, an external entity to your company, and treat it as a creative brief – write up what the brief is, the objectives you want to achieve out of the campaign and what success looks like, the audience and their behaviours, the key message or ‘brand proposition’ and the ‘reason-to-believe’ – the key product features that substantiate the claim you are trying to make and what you are trying to sell.
8. Get ideas from around your business/friends and family.
Ask people from different areas of your business for insights and ideas, even friends and family. Sometimes it’s important to be a little removed from the business to see it from a new perspective.
9. Random association.
Try this creative tool, look around you and choose an object at random, or pull out a dictionary and choose 5 words at complete random. Think of other things that each word reminds you of e.g. ‘horse’ and ’saddle’. Then try to link the words to your problem and come up with new ideas by association. They will seem vague and disconnected at first but once you start the process you will start to see links, and it can be a great way of thinking about the problem differently.
10. Take a break.
Finally take a break from it! Go for a walk, do some cooking, go for a shower or go to the gym - take your mind away from it and you might find an idea just springs from nowhere.