To Win At Content Marketing, Think Of Your Brand As An Editorial Publisher. Say a hotel is offering a special occasion dinner menu and writes a blog article to promote it. In a recent study by Moz, for example, it was found that the highest-performing online content, in terms of shares and referring links, was either opinion-based editorial content (evoking emotion) or research-backed content (providing something informative). As consumers, even with our favorite brands, most of us are too inundated with online content to care about anything that doesn't truly catch our attention. It’s the brands that can tap into editorial storytelling, something the vast majority of us still make time for, that can truly give wings to their content and reach thousands of new consumers organically. First off, engaging editorial content isn’t just shareable among your target consumers. It’s also highly appealing to social influencers (which, if you haven’t noticed, are the talk of the industry these days). You can create a phenomenal list of social influencers to reach out to, but with overly branded content, your chances of lasting partnerships are slim to none (unless you pay exorbitantly). Engaging, quality editorial content, on the other hand, is always beneficial for social influencers to share, resulting in huge reach and referrals to your site from qualified audiences. So by doing something inherently non-branded (creating editorial content), not only are you directly creating new brand traffic through referrals, you’re also improving your branded reach through organic search (widely accepted as the highest percentage acquisition channel in terms of conversions).
Branded online content has come a long way over the years, rising from a virtual unknown just a decade ago to become one of the holy grails of modern digital marketing.
Yet for all the awareness around the importance of content, oftentimes brands fail to capitalize on it by producing content that never gets out of first gear — that is, not maximizing reach or engagement with their intended audiences. It’s almost like the term “branded” is being taken too literally: Companies will churn out content on a regular basis but will fill it with too much promotion and not enough of a story to actually engage the consumer.
In my sector of marketing — the luxury hospitality industry — examples of overly branded content are everywhere. Say a hotel is offering a special occasion dinner menu and writes a blog article to promote it. All too often, the article becomes little more than a blatant advertisement for Mother’s Day brunch at the restaurant, only discussing the items on the menu and what to expect, and not a piece of interesting content that readers will take time out of their day to read, enjoy and share with others.
As a more engaging alternative to this approach, why not create a personal spotlight on the Executive Chef? It could feature unique recipes that his/her mother passed down and might still be in use in the kitchen today, and to connect back to the menu, the ending could say something like, “And if you don’t feel like cooking, here is our menu and we can do it all for you.”
It takes on the style of editorial content, much like you’d find in a magazine, and directly aligns with the findings of countless content marketers in recent years. The best type of content, as I’ve seen firsthand with our clients within hospitality, connects on a human level, be it by evoking emotions, providing something informative, or coinciding with a current online trend. In a recent study by Moz, for example, it was found that the highest-performing online content, in terms of shares and referring links, was either opinion-based editorial content (evoking emotion) or research-backed content (providing something informative).
Circling back to the dinner menu example with this frame of logic, there are many ways of promoting the restaurant without focusing solely on the product…