Most digital marketers are used to negotiating while closing a deal with a client or bringing on a new hire. But what you might not know is that the same skills you use to be a good negotiator can transfer to fueling your content marketing. When you post a piece of web content, you are basically negotiating for the consumer’s time.
This is what makes content marketing so important. You are convincing the reader that something about your content is compelling and worth the investment in time and energy. With the proliferation of content shock, people’s attentions are pulled towards consuming content from a million sources. Mastering negotiations as it applies to content marketing is a powerful way to win the battle for attention.
Higher education is more competitive than it has ever been. With public and private colleges and universities, online colleges and universities, trade and vocational schools, community colleges and everything in between vying for the attention of today’s students, it is increasingly difficult to attract and enroll the best students for your school.
These days, messages move at the speed of light. During the presidential debates, memes and hashtags of the candidates’ comments become trending topics before they even have time to take a breath at the end of their sentence. A few hours later, those same statements have been analyzed, Twitter streams sorted through, and the morning news programs have built an entire segment around the topic. Twelve hours later, we’ve all moved onto the next story, as this has already become old news. Any regular viewer of ABC’s Shark Tank knows that the key to success for a featured entrepreneur is having a website and production system capable of handling the massive amounts of traffic they will receive during the one-hour airing of the program, regardless of whether they land a deal with the investors or not. The point is, for businesses that are able to move on a dime and capitalize on real-time conversations, there is a tremendous opportunity to be had. But if you miss that window, you’ll miss the opportunity.
Last week, news came out that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, America’s answer to royalty, had filed for divorce. News of the breakup hit every news station and Facebook and Twitter feed – Brad was soon to be eligible again! Within a couple days, Norwegian Airlines placed a print ad in the newspaper: Brad is single. Los Angeles. From/one way, incl. taxes £169*
No fanfare, no need for an explanation. The message was simple, the timing was perfect, and when you saw it, you got the point. In fact, I didn’t even see it in print. I saw it on a friend’s Facebook profile because someone else who saw it in print thought it was so amusing that she took a photo of it and shared it on social media. And the power of social media has now taken a PRINT AD viral on social media. Think of the millions of unpaid views this message has now seen. Brilliant.
So how do you do it if you’re not Norwegian Airlines? Can you position your business to take advantage of timely marketing opportunities? Absolutely, the key is to be ready and able to move on a dime.
‘Just Be Creative’.
Marketers, web developers, and graphic designers shudder at this commonly-delivered phrase in meetings with clients. There’s nothing wrong with creativity in design of course, and you want your website to stand out from the sea of other similar companies and organizations. The problem is not with the idea of being creative, it’s in the focus on uniqueness and creativity over strategy and user experience. ‘Just be creative’ leads the web development team and the client down a path that has no strategic goal, and is one of the biggest website redesign mistakes you can make.
Before undertaking a website redesign, there are many factors that your organization should consider. Notice that the actual design is at the end of this list for a reason: the design should work toward achieving the strategic plan that you’ve laid out and should support your goals. If you focus first on the ‘pretty pictures’, you’ll end up trying to fit your strategy into a specific design, and you’ll lose sight of the path to reach your goals.
If you own a physical location such as a restaurant or retail shop, it’s pretty easy to see how prospective customers interact with your products and services. They walk in, pay attention to certain items, ignore or don’t notice others, and over time, show you the path that the majority of people will take toward purchasing (or not purchasing) from you. In a coffee shop, for example, it’s pretty easy to watch customers and notice if they are more drawn to high cocktail style tables or comfy armchairs. You can see if they’re searching under the tables for outlets to power their laptops or asking for the WiFi password. You know which drinks they are most interested in (mmm… pumpkin spice!) or which they are turned off by (was it the name or the ingredients that they hated?).
But how can you gather that same information from digital customers – those who check out your website but never make a purchase? How can you learn what brought them in, got them to click through, or ultimately turned them off before they completed their purchase?
There are many ways to get this information. All you need to know is how to ask.