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    The formula for successful content: creative and performance must work together

    Growth and retention happens when creative and performance marketing join forces, says TrunkBBI’s creative director Stephen Lawlor. For The Drum’s Content Marketing Deep Dive, Lawlor breaks down a holistic and measured approach for brands that want to climb the content mountain.

    Capturing your audience in the perfect moment with the perfect content to produce startling results is the ultimate goal of creative content marketing. But the real magic happens when creatives and performance marketers work closely together.

    When creative experts join forces with performance specialists, you are building a winning formula to achieve maximum impact for your campaign investment. So, the million-dollar question is: how do you create content that achieves your goals and cuts through the noise, across every touchpoint of the customer journey?

    Always start with ‘why’

    Why do you want to create this content? Don’t create it because you feel you haven’t posted enough this month or that you must jump on the latest trend. Take a step back and remember content is your vehicle to communicating with your audience in a positive way. What’s the message you want to communicate and what do you want them to feel and action as a result?

    Know your audience

    This is an obvious one, but it never fails to amaze me how many brands put out content without understanding who their audience is and where they live online.

    Once you have your insights, use your channels in different ways. Someone will follow you on TikTok for a different reason they do on Facebook. Don’t just make a TV advert and slap it on social expecting it to go viral; your audience is going on social media to be entertained, not to be advertised to. Entertain them and they’ll keep coming back for more.

    Is it original?

    No one wants to read something they’ve already read. To stand out from the crowd, one of the first things brands need to do is establish a unique identity. Take time to develop the voice of your brand first, then you can create content that is unique to you. Be willing to challenge the current standards of the market and go where your competitors can’t or won’t.

    Creating original, authentic content will help with engagement, shows your audience you understand them, and will position you as a leader in your industry. Ensuring you have a unique brand identity will also help you to distinguish yourself from your competitors and help with online visibility.

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    Put your brand values to work

    Brands need to live and breathe their values. The best content draws on these values to communicate and connect with customers, giving your brand structure and consistency and helping you differentiate your brand from competitors’.

    Take Lego. To mark their 90th year, they launched a new creative global brand campaign based on their ‘Rebuild the World’ slogan, emphasizing the importance of play in the daily lives of children and adults. Their new hero film, ‘We Are All Builders’, is a celebration of play to inspire people around the world to play more – whatever their age, location or interests. This is a true reflection of the brand’s core values: imagination, creativity, fun, and learning.

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    Think long-term 

    The best way to achieve your content marketing goals is to meticulously plan the journey. Creating and activating content can get costly, and when marketers work without a strategy or plan, they can lose sight of the bigger picture (the ‘why’) and spend too much on projects, either exceeding budgets or leaving too little for future campaigns.

    Especially when it comes to video production, planning and working with your agency allows them to have future projects in mind while filming. This can free up budgets, meaning more relevant content for your audience.

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    What does the word ‘content’ mean to you?

    Everyone will perceive the word ‘content’ differently. I’ve spoken a lot about video content, but some people think content is purely written, while others think it’s everything you put out. One big change you can make is analyzing what you class as content, then test it by going one step beyond where you’ve been before.

    If you’re in the world of words, test video. Already smashing video? Engage with your audience using creative technology, like a game. Never think, ‘I need a video’ or ‘we need a blog post’. Instead, think: ‘we need to achieve XYZ’, so work with your teams to find out what type of content should be produced.

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    Measure engagement

    You know your ‘why’. Did the content achieve what you wanted it to? It’s time to measure, test, refine, repeat.

    Tracking KPIs gives you an idea of whether your content gives the desired results. It helps you know whether your target audience sees your content, engages with it, and resonates with it. It’s important to determine what you are trying to measure. Different types of creative campaigns will have different KPIs.

    Metrics such as traffic, click-through rate, customer retention, increase in conversions, social shares and engagement, number of downloads, and follower or subscriber growth are all excellent metrics worth tracking, but again, this will vary depending on your specific goals and desired outcomes.

    Visit The Drum’s Content Marketing in Focus hub for more news, insights and strategies around content marketing.

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