Done well, content marketing is hard, challenging work. It's no surprise then that three of today's top content marketers include a former comedian, a successful journalist and an agency strategist. We sat down with Tim Washer of Cisco, Stephanie Losee of Dell and Stacy Minero of Twitter to hear their secrets to exceptional content.
Every brand should learn to be funny
Tim Washer, Cisco's resident comic
Humor plays the same role in content marketing that it does in entertainment—it helps the company (essentially the content creators) stand out, get noticed and build an audience. From the audience standpoint, it makes the content interesting, easier to understand and overall more exciting.
If a brand can't find humor, it is a perception problem. Brands can be funny, but they often don't perceive themselves that way. In that case, the brands just aren't looking at things the right way.
Why you don't mess with trust
Stephanie Losee, managing editor at Dell
I find that there's a lot of misunderstanding about the relationship between content marketing and journalism. People get angry or emotional when we talk about native advertising and other interesting platforms that allow for a new relationship between brands and publications. What I hope will happen is that the people who are making this conversation about abusive brand journalism necessary are going to observe the successes of companies who are taking the high road and understand that they won't win.
Companies that are succeeding with content often have a cross-departmental effort between global communications and marketing. The two sides have to come together and understand their audience and understand what reputation and trust means for the brand, and then take great care with it.
Spotaneity as social strategy
Stacy Minero, head of content planning at Twitter
Twitter allows brands to capitalize on live moments and conversations. It takes a lot of planning to be spontaneous. For moments that can be planned for, brands should outline their Twitter strategy and responses beforehand so they can have strong content ready in real-time. Take football—brands can prepare content for big moments that will inevitably happen during the game, such as time-outs, injuries, touchdowns, etc.
For unpredictable moments, brands should prepare style guidelines and define a tone of voice that will help them create strategic content quickly. For example, if you look at @Snicker's response to the Suarez biting incident during the soccer tournament in Brazil this summer, you'll see that the team was smart, witty and managed to keep their brand voice consistent with their other content.
Want more content marketing tips? Download "The Colossal Guide to Content Marketing," a collection of NewCred's most popular content marketing guides covering everything from editorial calendars and brand publishing to success metrics and content distribution:
The three contributors above will speak at NewsCred's 2014 Content Marketing Summit on September 18 at The Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC. The text has been condensed and edited from interviews that originally appeared on NewsCred's blog.