Content marketing strategy: Embracing the weird while honoring the basics

10 months ago

Changes in the marketing zeitgeist are coming fast and furious! This year has been weirder than usual with Artificial Intelligence (AI) dominating headlines and fully entrenched in upsetting everyone’s apple cart. There’s a bit of fatigue around the topic if we’re being honest, but with the future implications unknown, it’s important to explore what it means for your business right now. 

Due to the mass adoption of AI, marketing professionals and laymen are cranking out copy at light speed. Yet…how truly authentic is it? With millions pulling from existing databases…is this engaging and organic content, or just more noise that makes us fight even harder to be heard? Are customers experiencing true engagement or being drowned in a tidal wave of mass-produced content?

Should you do your own marketing with a little help from ChatGPT, or do you still require an in-house marketing team, or help from a strategist, writer, designer, or agency? The latest advancements often bring more questions than answers.

Honor the basics

Let’s take a deep breath for just a moment and get back to basics. In the technical age, many business owners and marketers are panicking that somehow the rules have changed. No matter what your industry,  the foundations of marketing remain the same. 

Content marketing strategy

You need quality and relevant content tailored to the audience you have researched, and you need to know how to apply it consistently in the shifting landscape. This is strategic planning. You need to give your strategy enough time to see how it performs. You can compare it to the stock market. You can’t have a knee-jerk reaction and pull your money out every time the market fluctuates. You have to play the long game.

When developing your campaigns and marketing strategy, the first questions you really need to answer are the basics, and these are: 

1. Audience

  • Do you know who your audience (clients & customers) are?
  • Do you know what your audience really wants?
  • What are their fears, frustrations, or desires?

2. Offer

  • What product or service can you offer that will solve their core problem, need, or pain points?
  • What makes your offer (solution) the best choice for this audience?

3. Content

  • What type of content should you create to communicate your offer to this audience?
  • How and in what order/timeframe/form should it be distributed to guide your audience through “the buyer’s journey?”

Don’t stop at superficial answers when going through these steps. Imagine a scenario with a toddler in front of you asking, “Why?” or “So what?” to any answer you give. Then keep answering the question until you have nothing left. When you have exhausted this exercise, you will know why you are uniquely qualified to satisfy your target audience – and who that target audience is. You may come away surprised at what you uncovered.

Only then can your story be told in a way that your clients and customers understand why you are the undisputed choice when it comes time for them to spend their money. You should know these answers backward and forward before you even think about engaging with AI if you want something of quality back that can enhance your efforts. 

What can AI not do? 

AI cannot implement a marketing strategy. Your marketing should have your personality infused into it – that is the major factor in making your business unique and competitive. AI does not know who you are – it needs to be taught what it cannot search for. AI also struggles with information that only you or your clients have in your gray matter. AI does not know who your target audience is, or your personal story. 

Not all AI tools are completely up to date, such as the way Google can search immediately through all current information. There is still a lot in favor of the manual search. For example, the wildly popular ChatGPT writes from data before 2021. Therefore, any events, developments, or advancements that have occurred after this date would be unknown to ChatGPT. Allegedly, this model also won’t learn new things from its experience (even if users try to feed in manually). It can also “hallucinate” facts and make reasoning errors.

The human touch

AI still needs some hand-holding and is basically just not as satisfying as knowing a real person has your back. The feel-good satisfaction of a brainstorming session with a colleague can bring far more insights. 

Use your instincts with AI just as you would a human team if something seems a bit off. AI is quite useful while assembling research and helping come up with topics, ideas, and outlines – but it does make mistakes. You need to check and double-check references. 

So much of marketing requires a human touch, especially when public relations plays a part in your plan. If you are a company that promotes live and virtual events, that ultimately will require a face. This person should preferably be someone who has had a hand in the entire life-cycle of your campaign. 

What types of content are hardest for AI to produce reliably?

•  About pages
•  Biographies
•  Case studies
•  Interviews
•  Opinions / Editorials (OpEd)
•  Personal essays
•  Responding to client/customer queries (how often have you been frustrated with generic chatbots)?
•  Strategic planning
•  Technical writing
•  White papers (very customized to client).

Strategic digital marketing

Most importantly, any information you collect or create from any resource needs to have a strategy behind it. You don’t just toss content into the ether and hope it lands on the right platforms, at the right time, and in the correct order.

This type of support takes training and experience. If you find yourself in need of an assist honing any of the foundational marketing answers above, help creating or disseminating your content, or formulating an overall strategic plan for your outreach, you may still wish to engage a marketing content strategist who will personally answer your call if you’re having a digital crisis.