Content Marketing is one of the most hotly discussed marketing topics today—regardless of industry. Content has emerged as the single most important vehicle for engaging and influencing customers
While recognizing the value of Content Marketing, many companies are stuck on 2 questions: first, what should we write about, and second, how do we make our ideas valuable and influential?
Producing "content" is nothing new. There have been many prolific and influential writers—"content producers." Einstein wrote over 300 papers; Linus Pauling, over 1100 books and scientific papers; Andre Dumas wrote over 270 novels; and Bach composed over 1000 cantatas.
Prolific and effective content production is definitely possible, especially when it considers the unique needs of the scientific community.
While few people can claim to be the next Einstein or Pauling, here's an approach to publishing that can help take your content marketing to the next level.
You have strong area expertise—use it.
At the heart of effective content marketing is deep subject matter knowledge. You and your company know your technology and products well—probably better than your customers. Dig into that information and use it. Whether it's a new strategy to optimize a PCR reaction that your R&D team worked on for months or something you learned during a conversation at FASEB, verify it and share it with your customers and the community.
Trust your knowledge and communicate it.
Seek the value that your understanding has and provide it to your customers.
Don't be afraid to be controversial (and interesting). Great content changes things. Even good content can seriously stir the pot. As a content marketer, you too will want to present fresh content and new ideas to capture your target-market's attention. Thoroughly examine the topics related to your technology and look for points of contention or new views on old subjects—and exploit what you discover.
To up the ante of your content creation, consider these questions: Are there issues that are important for you to present? Is there anything happening in the market that your customers need to know about, or obtain an informed opinion? Is your competition saying anything about you that needs to be countered?
Here's one example—make a controversial issue work for you. Suppose your company manufactures purification equipment that uses a new technology called Supersnag, and your competitors claim that Supersnag does a poor job purifying single-chain antibodies.
Your solution? Create campaign assets with the headline "Why Supersnag is Destined for Failure!" and then fill them with data that blasts the single-chain antibody myth and all and other false claims hurled at you by competitors.
Integrate stories into your content marketing
Stories help give your content meaning, context, and energy. They help customers relate to what you're talking about. Try to pull information from your customers or from market trends and put that information into story form. Balanced appropriately with data, stories can provide the glue that holds your content together and makes it communicate.
Testimonials are nothing new, and they're one of the most powerful forms of content. But most companies greatly underutilize testimonials. If you've placed an instrument with a beta customer, build content around that customer's experience into your plan. And don't just co-author reports with your beta customer or include references to data. Tell a detailed story of the customer's experience. Include photos. Use social media channels. The more detailed your story data, the stronger the subject will resonate with your audience.
Write in clear, plain language
Forget the empty marketing-speak and anonymous science-speak. Life is personal; it's not third person. Write directly to your readers—as people, not as scientists—and keep things clear. Don't be afraid of emotion. If you're enthusiastic about your new LC/MS/MS software upgrade, express it. If you believe that your NGS sample prep system will rock your customers' socks, say so. And do so using personal terms. Don't undervalue the need for and the power of strong, clear, and well-written prose.
Give your content a strong personality (brand)
Too often in science communication, we adopt a distant, even neutral attitude. It's as if the content we produce doesn't come from people, but from a software package. Yet, you and your company feel enthusiasm for your products, and your customers feel enthusiasm for their research. You can be personal in this environment—even in technical documents. Your scientific audience, like all audiences, does not form connections with distant and anonymous entities. They form connections with, and loyalties to, personalities.
Why do people love great writers? Because they bring style and personality to their craft. Personality is engaging, in an individual, or a written document. In developing your content, work to create a distinctive and consistent voice, a tone, an approach, a style that gives your company a clear and engaging personality. And stick with it. Repetition is at the heart of marketing.
Prolific writers are always trying to come up with original ideas and convey them clearly. As a content marketer, you must keep the ideas flowing, too, and develop them into strong stories told in plain language in order to build an audience for your content. Use your area expertise as a content marketing guide, and don't shy away from controversy or emotion—it can help build your visibility in the marketplace and connect with your audience.
For more information on building an engaging and effective content marketing program, please contact the Pacific Biomarketing Group, a Content Agency for the Life Sciences.