From tangential content to bad personalisation – content marketing trends

Tangential content is the way to go (especially if your industry’s ‘boring’)

Tangential content can be much more effective than product/brand-specific content, especially if your industry is a bit of a snooze-fest.Tangential content

That’s the headline conclusion from Fractl’s latest batch of research.

Marketing campaigns that use tangential content – topics that fall outside a brand’s primary offering but still provide value to its audience – generate 30% more media-mentions and 77% more shares on social media.

The research went on to cite a host of examples. Possibly the most compelling among them involved an apartment listing site. Yawn, right?

This organisation cast off the usual air of boredom by using its Twitter data to create a piece of content exposing the states and cities that use the most prejudiced language. The campaign generated over 67,000 shares and 620 media-mentions, including those from major news agencies, such as:

  • CNET (who went with the headline “Here’s which state posts the nastiest Tweets”)
  • Slate
  • Business Insider
  • AOL
  • Yahoo
  • Mic
  • The Daily Beast
  • Adweek

So, when you’re getting ready to plan your next content marketing campaign, start by delving into your customer personas and other sources, like Facebook Audience Insights, to gain a holistic understanding of your customers.

Think about how you can link your content to a hot news topic and create content that appeals to your audience’s known interests – whether it precisely aligns with your product/service, or not! Make sure it offers value to the reader and can link back to your brand, and you could be onto a winner.

‘Bad personalisation’ exists, say 98% of consumers

Personalisation has long been a cornerstone of content marketing, but new research suggests brands still have some way to go to nail this technique.

When surveyed by Sitecore and Vanson Bourne, a mammoth 98% of respondents believed ‘bad personalisation’ relating to customer experience most definitely existed.

Customer experience encompasses a wide array of factors; customer service, brand aesthetic, convenient purchasing options, etc. But, content marketing also has a significant role to play here, especially in the online domain.

The high statistic suggests an underlying systemic problem concerning data interpretation. And, respondents agreed. 66% cited reliance on out-of-date information as the most likely cause of bad personalisation, which manifests as per the graphic below:

*Graphic courtesy of Sitecore and Vanson Bourne

The brands surveyed appeared to broadly agree.

On average, they collated eight different types of data on each customer who’d made an online purchase. Despite this:

  • 42% were unable to effectively integrate data collection into their strategy
  • 18% lacked the skills needed to comprehensively analyse and deploy data
  • 18% couldn’t collect data on individual customers (as opposed to consumer segments)

Data should be at the heart of your content marketing strategy. It should form the basis of your customer personas, define when and how you promote content to consumers, and so much more.

But, data is worth nothing until it’s been accurately interpreted.

So, before you start coming up with strategies to collect more data, stop and take another look at your data analysis processes and how they can be tailored towards individual insights.

Spotted in the news…

True to form, Google has remained immensely cagey about the much-discussed roll-out of the mobile-first index.

And, in a recent speech at the SMX East marketing conference, Google’s Gary Illyes confirmed the search giant wouldn’t let us content marketers know, even after the switch has been made. In fact, there’s talk of the roll-out never being fully completed in order to take account of some outlier sites.

As a minimum, mobile optimisation should now be a key part of your content marketing strategy. Depending on your industry or business type, it might just be time to go all-in on mobile.