For marketers today, a solid content strategy is mandatory. Content that reverberates among consumers and across channels can no doubt bolster a company’s image, introduce the brand to potential shoppers, and hopefully establish an emotional and psychological connection between the brand and its customers.
“What is more direct than publishing?” asked Stephanie Losee, managing editor at Dell, which shares content with readers through Tech Page One, the company’s community content hub. During the 2015 Marketing&Tech Innovation Summit in New York, Losee said content is the key to unlock more meaningful relationships with consumers, “Produce content with your customers in mind. Then you can have a fuller conversation. You can go deeper.”
She said that too often marketers focus on company goals and not customer wants as they craft content strategies. “We have to consider what customers are looking for versus what you want to tell them,” Losee explained. “Look at what [consumers] are searching for. Then, as a brand publisher, commission that information. Then readers will share your answers.”
Indeed, consumers do want to hear from their favorite brands, Losee said: they want behind-the-scenes looks, new ideas, and sophisticated insights from industry leaders. And she said that content marketers at Dell recognize that demand for company insight and are meeting it with unique, edifying content.
“Whatever content you create will find its way to sophisticated audiences,” Losee continued. “Respect the customer’s needs, even if it’s content that you might not have expected the audience to want.” She cites Dell as an example of listening to readers and providing long-form, niche content that focuses on tech and innovation and is more sophisticated than the most kitschy blog posts: “You can even combine the story strategies; publish a shorter blog post that links to something more robust, like a whitepaper or a study.”
Losee does warn, however, that content marketing doesn’t mean free marketing. “It’s not realistic to have all owned and earned content,” she said. Losee insists that content marketers need to create media that they’re willing to share through their own platforms and promote on external platforms. In other words, content marketers need to devise a paid search strategy for their content. “We have the capability to publish content. But we then need to amplify it with paid media. It’s an extremely successful tactic,” Losee said.
Content marketing, Losee insists, does not only help brands connect with customers, but enables internal departments to communicate with each other. “Use content to break down silos,” she said. “[As the managing editor at Dell] I was actually hired to stitch together the different teams.” She said her role pushed her to work across different departments, ranging from those who might finance the projects to teammates who would provide the technology and designs. “We went on the hunt across different departments just to find the answers [for our content marketing strategy].”
In her final words, Losee said that brands should lead their marketing efforts with editorial content. “Brand storytelling helps customers understand more and know more,” she says. “It’s a great way to earn your audience’s trust.”