Less Is More When It Comes to Content Marketing

March 12, 2019

By Matthew Schwartz

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Part of Marie Kondo's mission is to keep things that bring you joy and discard items that don't.

Take your book collection. Whether it's a voluminous library that you've cultivated for years or just a dozen or so select titles from your favorite authors, your book collection reflects your personality.

But eventually you are probably going to want to purge some of the titles — impulse buys or best sellers that left you cold — so the collection consists of books that you truly cherish.

In a similar vein, your content marketing efforts are a reflection on your brand. Perhaps now more than ever, brands have to sharpen their content creation not only to compete effectively but to separate their products and services from the pack.

Eighty-four percent of U.S. companies with at least 100 employees and which distribute non-promotional content for marketing purposes will deploy digital content marketing this year, according to eMarketer.

However, many obstacles abound. Seventy-four percent of CMOs have little to no confidence they have the right technology in place to achieve their marketing goals, according to a Nielsen study of 165 senior executives. Eighty percent of respondents said they expect to increase their investment in marketing analytics in the next 12 months.

Martech is crucial in order to bolster your content marketing efforts. At the same time, killer content is hiding in plain sight, ranging from product launches to business innovation to community relations, which can be converted into original content (e.g. text, audio, and/or video, for starters).

Perhaps more important than martech, however, is for marketers to jog their imaginations — and be a little less risk-averse (we know, we know, easier said than done).

As Marie Kondo's mission makes clear, less is more, and content marketing is no exception.

With that in mind, here a few ways to bolster your content marketing efforts, purge extraneous material that may be adding unnecessary clutter to your messaging architecture, and make content marketing a more joyful experience.


Create Content that Conveys Your Brand Essence

Marketers burn a lot of calories producing content that's original but somewhat marginal to the brand's essence (read: white papers so dense with statistics and graphics that the brand message gets buried). Instead, develop content that directly correlates with the reason you have customers in the first place, such as the World Surf League. Fans can participate in a fantasy surfing league and, if they're planning a surfing trip, receive notifications regarding the globe's best "pipes."

For your own brand, ask yourself: What is it about our products and services for which our customers, er, fans have an insatiable appetite? Blending data and the human touch, find out and develop content accordingly. Measure. Rinse. And repeat.


Boil the Marketing Message

Your company may be part of a large business sector, but it's still a niche world. Say you're the CMO for a large manufacturing firm. It would be folly to try and provide thought-leadership content encompassing the entire sector. You need to focus on those micro areas of the business that keep your customers happy: a new technology that was a game-changer for product distribution, say, or a series of events and conferences that ended up giving the brand a halo effect.


Leverage User-Generated Content

More and more brands approach their customers and prospects as "friends," or folks you can hang with and do fun stuff together. It's little wonder. People want to engage with companies they feel simpatico with and can tell their family and friends about. What's your brand's "herd mentality," or people who belong to a group by virtue of sharing similar qualities or enthusiasms? To find out, recruit your biggest fans for special events; spark conversations via social channels so customers get a deeper understanding of your brand purpose. Aggregate the information and see what bubbles to the surface. Perhaps it's a video montage or voice snippets that can be turned into a podcast. And with any user-generated content make sure it's permission-based; you don't want to alienate anyone.


Inspired by organizing guru Marie Kondo, this is the second in a series of articles designed to help CMOs and marketers tidy up their workload, lose the extraneous material, and focus on the immediate task at hand. Next up in our series melding the KonMari Method to better marketing outcomes: internal communications.

Previous articles in this series:

Applying the KonMari Method to Marketing

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