Ashley Zeckman

7 Ideas for Keeping Your Brand’s Content Marketing Fresh & Relevant

Ashley Zeckman     Content Marketing, Online Marketing


vegetable dish

Have you ever opened the fridge and realized that all of the produce that you painstakingly picked out at the farmers market had gone bad? Maybe there were a few items that were salvageable but the rest had to be tossed. You wouldn’t want to serve your guests a rotten ratatouille would you?

Today’s content marketers should be using only the freshest of ingredients (tactics) to keep their audience engaged and coming back for seconds.

Keeping an online audience engaged is getting harder and harder. They are constantly bombarded with an overwhelming amount of content which makes it very difficult to hold their attention. In fact, the Statistic Brain Research Institute found that the average attention span in 2015 is 8.25 seconds and only 4% of page views on the internet last longer than 10 minutes. Remember that blog post it took you 3 hours to write? Chances are your customers are speed reading and moving on.

However, there are steps that you can take to keep your content marketing fresh, interesting and innovative for your audience. In today’s market, Content marketing can take on many different forms and be published on a variety of platforms. The possibilities are nearly limitless.

Below are some of the ideas for how you can keep your content marketing program fresh and delicious. Bon apetite!

#1 – Study the Works of Other “Chefs”

Today’s foodies love everything from Indian street food, to fine French dining. What has become even more popular over the past few years is the concept of food fusion, which takes notes from different types of cuisines and mashes them together to produce the best possible dishes.

In order to create these tasty recipes, chefs had to go outside of their base knowledge of a particular cuisine and incorporate ideas from other cultures.

It can be easy to fall into a routine of strictly following what other marketers in your industry are doing to help determine your content marketing strategy.

Instead, look for innovative ideas that are outside of your industry and may not even be a part of marketing. For example, take a look at your personal email inbox, is there anything that caught your eye as a consumer or that you found to be an interesting concept? Use these ideas that you find in other industries to fuel your content marketing ideas.

#2 – Ditch the Recipe Book & Try Something New

Some of my best dishes have come from throwing together ingredients that I thought went well together. Other times I have been left with an inedible goopy mess. But at least I knew not to do it again.

Believe it or not, failure can be a good thing. Why? Because if you failed, that means that you made an attempt. One of the worst things you can do as a marketer is to remain stagnant and keep executing on the same old safe, tried and true digital marketing tactics.

Now that doesn’t mean that you should just go chasing after any idea. You should still be mindful of your approach and determine what it is that you expect to get out of it.

#3 – Mother Sauces Require Key Ingredients

You can’t make a bechamel sauce without butter and a hollandaise without lemon just isn’t quite right. While there are variations of these mother sauces, there are core ingredients that bring them together and make your tastebuds sing.

One of the most overlooked opportunities for marketing is combining your different digital teams (either internal or external). The convergence of search, social and content is not a new concept. However, there is a big difference between creating an integrated digital marketing strategy, and getting your different teams together to collaborate.

It doesn’t matter if you have a large team, a small team or are working with an outside digital marketing agency, there is always an opportunity to collaborate. This approach will help each team understand what it is that the other is working on and can lead to some creative brainstorming for content marketing solutions.

#4 – Small Touches Create a Better Diner Experience

Personally, I eat just as much with my eyes as I do with my mouth. There is almost no replacement for a beautiful plate of food that tastes equally delicious. The perfect combination of ambiance, a beautiful table, good parking and alluring food can create a truly epic dining experience.

Similarly, you should always use content marketing to create a good customer experience.

This means:

  • Create Content for Need: Does your content marketing program help solve a business problem or meet a customer need?
  • Optimize for Device: Can your customers access your website, blog and any other assets both on desktop and a mobile device?
  • Incorporate Storytelling: Connect customers to your content by incorporating storytelling into your strategy.

#5 – Do Your Customers Like Their Steak Rare, Medium or Well Done?

Let’s pretend that you went out to the nicest steak restaurant in town and everyone in your party ordered a nice juicy steak. Now imagine that the server assumed that everyone at the table wanted their steak well done without asking? Chances are, there would be some pretty unhappy people at the table.

Many companies are afraid of asking current customers simple questions about the helpfulness of their content. There is the fear of negative feedback or that the customer will decide that they no longer want to do business with you.

Instead of being fearful, consider this an opportunity to improve your marketing program by better providing your customers what they need. They’ll also appreciate your willingness to hear what they have to say. Ultimately, this temperature check will tell you what you’re doing well (and need to do more of) as well as opportunities for improvement for content.

You can either contact customers directly and ask them or survey your community at large through email, social media or other means.

#6 – Add Your Own Flair

Part of what makes celebrity chefs so great is that you get to experience “what they’re really like” simply by tuning in to the Food Network or Cooking channel. In all fairness, their cooking chops is largely what got them to where they are today, but their personalities are what have made them celebrities.

Few brands are able to inject the proper amount of personality and authority into their content marketing. Often, brands are fearful of towing the line and offending the audience. Always err on the side of professionalism but don’t be afraid to use humor, personality and wit where appropriate.

Another option is to provide your audience with a “behind the scenes” look at your organization. This can be accomplished through “candid” videos, images shared on social media and contributions from team members from across the organization on their experience working with the company.

#7 – Throw Spaghetti at the Wall & See What Sticks

While you want your noodles al-dente, crunchy just won’t cut it. Sometimes the only way to tell if they’re good is to throw them at the wall and see if they stick.

The same can be said for creative content marketing brainstorms. It’s better to throw in a bunch of ideas and see which ones end up sticking.

To keep your content marketing fresh, consider adding some impromptu brainstorming sessions when needed. Consider inviting team members outside of the marketing department for a fresh set of eyes, ears and brains.

Provide the team an overview of what you’re hoping to accomplish as well as any relevant information about the target audience. Then, set them loose. Truthfully, you won’t use every idea that is concocted during your session, but there is always something useful that comes out of a brainstorm. Even if it’s just inspiration.

Are You Hungry to Innovate Your Content Marketing Program?

I don’t know about you, but this blog post is making me incredibly hungry. If you’re stuck in a content marketing rut, hopefully this post has helped you think of some different ways that you can innovate your marketing, without getting egg on your face.

What have you found to be the best way to get your creative content marketing juices flowing?

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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.