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Everyone brings a unique perspective to their field of work, and content marketing is no different.
The rapidly increasing popularity of this marketing style over the last decade has allowed for a diverse range of strategies, specialisations, and skill-sets to emerge, sometimes making it difficult for newcomers to know which aspect they ought to focus on.
The most successful aim to strike a balance between all the elements that make up a coordinated strategy, but over time it’s easy to fall into a pattern of thinking that has you prioritising the benefits of one over another - which often means unknowingly embracing its pitfalls as well.
Spotting these patterns can become something of a game in itself, and it’s led me to imagine a few key marketing archetypes that sit behind the content strategies. Which one are you?
This marketer is a little like that friend who’s always talking about themselves.
Every time they get a chance to speak, they see it as an opportunity to say more about themselves. They’re haplessly unaware that everyone doesn’t treat conversations the same way and will end up wondering why you don’t want to stay for another drink after three hours of being monologued at.
In their mind, marketing is supposed to be a straightforward route to profit, so it doesn’t make any sense to use an opportunity for anything but sell-sell-selling (whether anyone is listening or not).
Every piece of content they write is always focused intently on promoting a product or service, which means that every post sounds like a worn-out sales pitch. They might make the occasional sale because of this laser focus, but they’ll find it a struggle to grow their audience-base or build any lasting relationships with customers.
The networker, on the other hand, has absolutely no trouble making connections.
With more hours clocked on LinkedIn than clocked in the office, this marketer always seems to have ‘something brewing.’ They’ve got a phone call at 9, a skype meeting at 10, a lunch at 12, and the rest of their afternoon is dedicated to replying to a never-ending series of messages and emails.
Don’t think they’ve not got content scheduled for their social media channels for the next two months though, watching those likes and comments roll in feels as energising to them as that first sip of coffee in the morning.
They’ve got a great awareness of what’s going on in the industry and plenty of business relationships but all the hours in their day just seem to disappear into a black hole. They’ve never found a way to measure whether all that time they put in produces any quantifiable results, but that won’t stop them logging in again the next morning.
The Tech Expert
On the other end of the spectrum, the tech-xpert cares more about stats than anything else. Life has simply never been the same since they discovered Google Analytics.
CTR, ROI, KPI: they’ve been lost in a sea of marketing jargon and acronyms for days now and you suspect that they’re actually just making some of these up now. They’re convinced that total domination of the internet is within their grasp, if they can just get their engagement rate up to 1.6% and drop their bounce rate a few more decimals.
Their life-long ambition is to get ranked first in Google search results and they’re going to keep stuffing keywords into every meta-nook-and-cranny they can find until that happens. You can’t deny that you do see their content everywhere, but whether anyone wants to actually read that content is, unfortunately, always an afterthought to them.
The pioneer is always hungry for a new adventure.
They seem to be on the cutting edge of any and every new piece of technology: one week you’ll find them recording a 360 degree video tour of their office, the next they’re investing in a virtual reality reconstruction of their product, and the week after that they’re looking into buying a drone license for reasons unknown.
Each new opportunity represents ‘the future of content’ to them, and they’ll be damned if they’re going to get left behind. Unfortunately, that relentless urge to explore often means that they chop and change their plan too quickly to see any long-term results appear.
They’re filled with creative energy and never afraid to take risks which makes a lot of their content fantastically engaging for the spectacle alone, but each new venture is often so hit and miss that it’s hard to make sense of what their strategy really is.
The Frugality Fiend & The Money Bags Marketer
These two marketers live on opposite ends of the scale, and will never be able to understand what the other thinks they’re doing.
Measuring the often nebulous benefits of content marketing has always felt too vague to the Frugality Fiend, leaving them with a nagging feeling that spending even a penny on it is a waste. ‘Word of mouth’ is their favourite phrase, and they’re always looking for ways to cut costs. They’ll never be convinced to invest in more popular forms of content like video or graphics - often making them the saboteur of their own success.
The Money Bags Marketer, however, thinks that the key to success is always to spend more. Paid online ads, influencer sponsorships, complex targeting methodologies - they’re cashing out for all of them and waiting expectantly to become the world’s next mega-brand. Their repertoire of tactics certainly sounds impressive but they’ll be discouraged when they find that money only goes so far and without the thoughtfully created content to supplement it, their results will always be a mixed bag.
This is the marketer who’s got it all together.
They strike a careful balance between promoting their own brand and taking the time to connect with others, always putting their audience first and thinking about the best way to create content that will be useful and entertaining.
They understand the importance of analytics and keep a careful eye on how well their posts are performing, but they don’t get bogged down in decimal points and won’t let that stop them from taking a creative risk now and again.
They pay attention to the results of their efforts and put considered thought into where their marketing budget is best spent. They’ll make the big spends where they need to on keeping up with new technology or on more valuable content that will pull in a wider audience, but they leave plenty of room for organic growth achieved through simple hard-work and patience.
These archetypes are extreme examples and for the most part only represent a bit of fun, but it’s certainly true that it’s easy to become too focused on one aspect of this broad field and let the other elements go neglected. All of these characters have strong qualities that are necessary for creating a successful strategy, it’s just a question of striking the balance that’s right for your business.