You Have to Be a Creator AND Think Like a Marketer

With more media entities and practitioners offering up content for public consumption, the best professionals are thinking of how best to market their content and create it.

I’ve had many conversations with colleagues about how to best market our product at TV2. It can be a real challenge. With our model of being an educational learning laboratory and a business, we have an odd balance to strike internally. It takes a very special management team to achieve that balance.

Often, marketing will be the last thought on anyone’s mind after we finally get a quality product on-air and online and have a staff of happy, trained students.

But that is not necessarily the best way to go about content marketing.

Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, recently wrote an article demystifying some myths about content marketing. I’ll discuss below and put the tips into context for student media purposes; however, Odden’s full article is available here.

1. Content marketing does not mean just creating more and more content and flooding the marketplace. In other words, Odden is preaching quality over quantity. However, a combination of the two, quality content in greater quantity is ideal.

We have often discussed at TV2 the best way to reach our audience. When I was programming director there, my department spent countless hours on generating marketing ideas. But the most important notion we decided upon was do not worry about the marketing until you have a product that will serve your audience’s needs.

Like Odden says “quality… rules the day.” Relevancy and timeliness are two traits he identifies as important. These are two traits that all news stories should have in common. The beautiful thing about marketing a news product is it’s inherently useful. That’s half the battle.

2. It is always possible to come up with more quality content. Odden recommends talking to people who deal with your customers, or viewers, on a daily basis to see what topics, strategies and tips would interest them the most.

The news term “evergreen content” comes to mind here. Think about issues in day-to-day life. The terrific advantage news people have is we are all citizens living in America. So, our problems, basic or trivial as they may be, resemble other peoples’ problems.

The best way to attract people to your content is to give them what they can use. For news people, this may mean taking some time in a budget meeting to just do a creative thinking exercise. Or it may mean doing a few focus groups, MOS’s or convenience samples to see what’s on the public’s mind.

3. The third tip is so wonderfully put by Odden in his article: “Content planning should include the repurposing of evergreen and co-created content. Break big topics down into a series to attract attention and inspire anticipation for the next content object.”

It’s so simple: save yourself the trouble of always having to scramble for new ideas.

Publish items in a series. That way, your content is marketing itself. At the end of an article, story or blog post, let the audience know more is coming. Encourage them to share and comment on social media. Word of mouth is terrific publicity.

Repurpose a broadcast package as an online long-form interview, a reporter’s opinion, an info-graphic, a tweet series, a blogroll, an in-depth article, etcetera. That way, you’re getting the “quantity of quality.” You’ve taken one work and created eight.

In a nutshell, the advice is let the content itself do the bulk of your marketing. Marketing should not be something thought of last but, rather, something that is integrated into the creative process from the very beginning.

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