Content is Critical
As the dreaded year of 2020 comes to a close, everyone is hoping that normalcy will reappear in 2021. In reality, that might not be the case. The residential market is booming while the commercial sector is covered by a fog of uncertainty. We are advising our BPM clients who primarily operate in the commercial space to focus on specific industry sectors that are unaffected and/or thriving. BPMs that operate in the current residential real estate boom have less to worry about in the short-term, but need to capitalize to position themselves long-term. So as you hunker down to develop a marketing plan for 2021, where should you focus and what should be your priorities? The answer is in providing content.
I have yet to meet anyone that disagrees with the cliche, “Content is King”, but we encounter marketers that do not have a consistent and practical strategy for implementation. I suspect it is because content is a very generic, broad ranging term. Technically a “Happy Halloween” email message does count as content, but in reality provides no useful, actionable or consumable information. What marketers need to focus on is generating valuable content. What we find works is to break content down into three categories; Educational, Inspirational, and Demonstrational.
Educational content is anything that helps the market understand your brand story and the unique selling propositions associated with our products. The classic case study or project profile is an example of inspirational content. It shows the market how your product can be used to solve a problem and/or create a specific aesthetic outcome. Demonstational content is anything utilitarian that helps architects spec, distributors/retailers sell, and contractors install. By categorizing all content into three different and relevant main topics it helps to evaluate whether the content generated adds value. Additionally, it helps to ensure that your company's planned messaging strategy is consistent and well-executed.
Another aspect of content creation is deciding upon the platform. This can be a messy process because of external factors, such as budget and asset availability (e.g. project photography). Continuing with the categorization themes, platforms can be broken down into three main categories; Article, Pictorial, and Video.
Content that is categorized as an article can range from a simple press release to a lengthy story. In addition to sending articles to the trade, articles can provide a powerful tool when directed at trade media. It is the trade media's job to research and uncover relevant news/content that can be shared with the market. Any help companies can provide in supplying content to the trade can result in free press. Another aspect of article content is that companies can provide long form educational information that takes an in-depth exploration into a specific topic. Assuming the article is correctly coded, this platform type can help to drive positive seo traffic.
Pictorial content is a powerful tool. It helps the market understand the different applications and the aesthetic result. With BPMs that do not have an aesthetic-type product, pictures can still play a crucial role in communication. The number one problem we hear from clients is the lack of photography. This is an easy fix. Every cellphone on the market takes high quality, high resolution photography. Additionally, photoshop can help fix the issues inherent with amatuer shots. Ideally, companies should plan to hire a professional photographer to document at least 4, ideally 12 projects per year.
Video is the most effective platform for content delivery. From brand interaction, preference, to higher message retention, videos consistently outperform all other platforms. But, videos can be a budget breaker and must always be well executed. Companies should aim to include video in next year's planning. Attempt to produce and disseminate at least one video for each of the previously outlined subject categories. Make sure it is professionally produced and edited. More than any other platform, the quality of your video will directly correlate with the perceived quality of your product.
With trade shows being an unknown, in-person sales meetings less frequent, and decentralized offices the current norm, it is important to understand that creating a strong content marketing strategy is critical. Developing a content strategy can feel overwhelming, but by following this categorization method it will help break it down into a simple process that will allow you to ensure you are providing comprehensive, relevant content via the most effective platform.