3 Questions that will Transform your Content Marketing in 2015
Business content must be unique. Google reminds us time and time again that fresh, original content will be rewarded.
But SEO benefits aside, isn’t this obvious and something we should already be striving for?
Content marketing can only ever be truly effective if it’s consistent with your tone of voice and if it works in parallel with your brand values. Plus, business content should always talk to your customers and not at them. (That’s right.
Customers are those people who part with their hard-earned cash and are too often an afterthought).
In other words, marketing only works when it’s unique to you and your business. When it comes from you, when it serves your needs and when it connects with your audience.
There’s nothing wrong with being motivated by the competition, and even inspired by them, but don’t talk like one of your rivals. Be true to your brand. Don’t try to be a big fish in a huge pond if you’re really quite niche. Don’t create jarring taglines by trying to be something you’re not. And so on.
Marketing needs to be tailored specifically to your company. Good copywriters, marketers and PR staff can give your content the magic treatment, but there are several questions that you should think about answering before marching into the year ahead.
1. What do you want to get out of your content marketing?
And be precise here.
The trick is to find the balance between what’s realistic and what’s challenging. Are you after increased traffic to your website? Potential sales leads? Ebook downloads? Fresh email contacts?
Having clearly defined goals will help you find the most compelling messages. As a copywriter, I’m aware that I need to know the purpose of every piece of copy before I start writing.
2. Who is your content marketing aimed at?
As the well-known phrase goes, you can’t be all things to all people. That’s especially true of content marketing.
Work out who your most valuable customer is. Profile them, define what they like to read and how they access their material. Then unleash some effective, quality content.
3. Don’t be afraid to ‘sell’ your USP.
If you haven’t got a USP, find one. Quickly. Then plug it in various creative ways.
What’s your story? It’s important to get that across no matter how large or small your business. It’s this more personable approach that will set you apart from the rest and make your content interesting, engaging and, ultimately, persuasive. Your content marketing is ultimately about boosting your business and making more money.
As a result, your messages should be emotive and memorable.
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”