A growing body of content is a powerful marketing tool – but only if it’s backed by a persuasive, trusted voice. Whether written, spoken or filmed, fresh content, done well, can establish an organization’s spokespeople as thought leaders, whose sought-after opinions can guild an already successful brand, whatever its size or demographic.
In the beginning…
It starts with ideation. A brand must understand its audience and structure its marketing to fit. Using content intelligence tools, brand managers can devise an opening strategy, commission content that satisfies its needs and, through competitor benchmarking, gauge its success in the market.
Engaging content is rarely produced in isolation, whatever the by-line might suggest, and organizations must decide at the outset which strategy best fits their brand. Where universities, charities and the public sector frequently favor collective responsibility, financial institutions, including banks and investment houses, trade on the genius of a handful of fiscal wizards. They frequently credit these thought leaders with myth-like insight in the hope of attracting investors.
It isn’t a new idea. In 1875, the Theistic Annual described Ralph Waldo Emerson as “getting into years but manifest[ing] to-day, as he did half a century ago, the wizard power of a thought-leader”. It was highly prophetic: his writing is still being read and, if anything, his influence is stronger today than it was among his contemporaries. This should be enough to have brand managers re-evaluating what ‘content at scale’ means. Emerson is no longer producing fresh content (he died in 1882), but what he left behind continues to repay. Quality content like his is evergreen, and organizations with the resources to foster thought leadership should emulate this, identifying gaps in the content landscape and producing quality content to fit.
This requires thought leaders who can work within their areas of expertise or, as is more common than many imagine, out-of-house content producers working on behalf of in-house experts.
Creating content at scale, to a consistent standard, is frequently the work of a co-op, with white-label words and pictures produced by third parties under the oversight of an in-house marketing team. By benchmarking the content’s performance against its own targets and that of its competitors, the team acts as brand guardian, managing tone and direction so that new content creators can be introduced over time, without diluting the corporate voice.
Multiplication through propagation
Yet thought leadership can still be cheaper and more effective than advertising and, with the content and choice of platform remaining within your control, benchmarking is easier and more accurate. Brands can be responsive to changes in measured performance, switching focus from one platform to another, or multiplying the impact of a single idea by repurposing for diverse outlets.
Data compiled by Hubspot revealed the video sweet spots across various social networks, with Facebook users prepared, on average, to watch 90 seconds of most videos before clicking away. That’s three times the length of the median Instagram video post, but a fifth of what you could post to YouTube before seeing a quantifiable decline in response.
This has profound implications for content creators, and how they slice and dice a single resource for each platform. While they may choose to post a message in its entirety on YouTube, breaking it down to progressively smaller sections for use on Facebook and Instagram allows them to recycle the content without becoming repetitive. Alternatively, a lengthier post to YouTube could be trimmed to provide a week’s worth of daily posts on rival social networks, backed up by SEO-friendly transcripts generated automatically using services like Otter.ai and rev.com.
Creating effective content at scale
Whoever at the Theistic Almanac coined the term ‘wizard power’ as the secret of Walden’s success could never have imagined that it would still be relevant a century and a half later.
What is a wizard but a sage – or, in this age of computers, a guide to unfamiliar processes and ideas. A thought leader, as Walden was, is precisely this, producing content that shows the audience how to think – sometimes even what to think – in a way that builds their own reputation and that of the brand to which they’re attached.
Of course, times have changed. Walden had few competitors. He could afford to take time to consider his thoughts, and his success may well be thanks to the fact that he was one of few published writers. Today’s thought leaders and brands don’t have that luxury, and the demand for fresh content has never been higher.
With this demand, the industry is ever more competitive and the ability to stand out is becoming increasingly difficult. Fresh content is more of a necessity rather than a luxury and can be the deciding factor is setting your business apart from the competition. Check out Concured’s new content brief automation tool, Brief Builder and book a demo today.