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When the Growing Gets Tough, Get Creative With Inbound Marketing

By John McTigueMay 14, 2010

Unless you are consistently feeding your inbound marketing machine with good, creative content, chances are you've seen a slow-down in traffic, search engine results and leads. Why? Because getting found online is about competing for peoples' attention and consistently delivering the goods. There are very few one-hit wonders surviving on the Internet these days. Let's do a brief reality check, then work on our content creation strategy.

content marketing strategy requires creativityHow many blog posts or videos can you remember within the past 30 days? A handful? Out of the hundreds you probably read or viewed, most of them have either disappeared into the ether or you've tucked them away in a bookmarking site, never to read them again. How many tweets grab your attention? Most of us probably ignore 99.9% and retweet the rest, never to be seen again. Why are we so fickle online? As Emily Yoffe writes in a Slate article,

"...we actually resemble nothing so much as those legendary lab rats that endlessly pressed a lever to give themselves a little electrical jolt to the brain. While we tap, tap away at our search engines, it appears we are stimulating the same system in our brains that scientists accidentally discovered more than 50 years ago when probing rat skulls."

So we're fighting this instinct we all have to just tap, tap, tap looking for visual or auditory stimulation. When we find something interesting, we usually scan it, then throw it away. How do we overcome these zombie-like impulses and grab someone's attention? Even if we get the hallowed click-through, how do we keep them in their seats? What about videos? Aren't they the key to viral marketing? According to TubeMogul, "ten seconds into a video clip a little over 10% of viewers have abandoned it, rising to over half at 60 seconds or more." So, content must not only attract your eye, it must also have the power to interrupt what you're doing and keep you transfixed. To most of us this is a huge challenge. Here's my content marketing strategy.

  1. Figure out who you are trying to attract. Chief Marketing Officers? Soccer Mom's? First-time homebuyers?
  2. Figure out what makes these folks tick. Go to their social media sites and blogs and see what they're talking about. Socialize with them by commenting and asking questions. Become a regular.
  3. Create blogs, videos and webinars that address your target market's concerns. Do this as often as you can, ideally three or more times per week.
  4. Ask for comments by asking questions, and respond to the comments you receive. Ask for your readers' involvement. What would you guys like to see in my blog? This engages and rewards your readers and gives them an incentive to follow you.
  5. Mix it up. Your content should not be monotonous. Alternate serious with fun, helpful with commentary, research with reviews. Use creative titles, images and short video clips.
  6. Be your own worst critic. If you're getting stale, change the subject. Find some new way to communicate your ideas. Expand your own thinking, and you will expand theirs. If content creation becomes a chore, it will read that way. Step away from the keyboard and brainstorm some new ideas.
Remember, you have a few seconds to get someone's attention, and getting there is only half the battle. You must reward their attention with good, creative content that keeps them engaged. It's a tough nut to crack, but if you're reading this post, you're no doubt up for the challenge.

What are your content marketing strategies and experiences?
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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus.
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