He kicked ass, took names, and showed us how to be awesome marketers
Riddled with gifs and brimming with knowledge, Dave Snyder’s presentation blew the audience’s collective mind at the February DFWSEM meeting last week. Think we’re exaggerating? Just check out the tweets!
— Christina Galownia (@cagalownia) February 9, 2017
— Kris O'Connor (@repairgarage) February 9, 2017
— Greg Gifford (@GregGifford) February 9, 2017
Now that we’ve got those out of the way, let’s dig in.
Knowing what makes content tick (and stick) with your audience
After telling the audience he has a degree in creative writing with a concentration in poetry (yeah, we weren’t going to let that go unnoticed, Mr. CEO), Dave kicked off his presentation by highlighting the three main points everyone needs to consider when it comes to creating content:
- How people learn and understand content
- How people react to content
- How to build a content strategy
It sounds simple enough, right? But the reality is that creating content has become more and more challenging over the years, just because there is so much of it on the Internet.
Dave actually coined a new phrase to explain this phenomenon: infobesity. Content has become the high fructose corn syrup of the Internet (aka, junk food). “It’s everywhere,” says Dave, “and while we consume it, we don’t think much about it outside of that consumption.”
This is the challenge for marketers, who’ve literally been tasked with the job of making money for someone else. “If you’re not doing that, you’re failing. Big time.”
This is where understanding how people learn and process content comes into play.
Tricking people to consume healthy content
Marketers shouldn’t just spew out content for the sake of spewing content. You need to tell stories that resonate with readers and compel them to action. In the words of Dave: “You can mold great information into amazing content that matches what the reader is looking to consume, or even better, draws their attention in even if they happen by it.”
You have to find people in their “learn mode,” and then deliver the answers they’re looking for in the format that best suits their learning style (visual, auditory, verbal, etc.). Dave refers to these different learning styles as “modalities,” and his presentation revolved around ways to reach people with a combination of different modalities.
Covering all your (content) bases
“The more modalities you can pack into your content, the more likely your content is to stick with different content consumers,” says Dave. A great real-world SEO example of this is how Google shows Rich Snippets in its search results.
The Search Engine doesn’t just use text, it uses visual and interactive content to reach and engage with more searchers. Your content should be doing the same thing. Doing so will help your content stick with your audience, which gets them closer to converting on whatever product or idea you’re trying to sell.
Interactive images and dual coding are two other points to consider when creating adaptable content, both of which are often used when creating infographics. Dave cited research that shows people are more likely to remember an item if it can be shown interacting with another item. Dual coding takes this a step further, by targeting two cognitive subsystems — one that deals with processing imagery, the other with processing language (think about the data graphs you often see in infographics).
So the real takeaway here is to layer different learning styles together when creating your content. People can process, learn, and remember content much faster when you’re covering all of these bases.
Easy reading, better learning
Of course, you want to make sure people are actually reading the content you produce by making it concise and scan-able. Doing this makes the content visually appealing to intrapersonal learners, but you’re also tackling the infobesity issues. “Give consumers the gist and structure with concise data in a way that entices the consumer to read more.”
Not only that, your content needs to be personal to your readers. Why should they care about what you’re writing? How does the concept affect them? These are the questions you need to ask, to understand how your readers are reacting to your content.
Going viral isn’t everything
Yeah, we all want our content to explode on the Internet and get shared by everyone — but more important than that is understanding how people digest your content. Because the truth is, not everything will go viral, so you need to focus on making the best piece of content that actually speaks to your audience. If you can hook your readers with what you’re offering, that’s more important than meaningless shares — which is why you want your content to stir up emotions in your readers.
This was the biggest takeaway Dave wanted the audience to get: emotions are greater than how people digest your information. Yes, understanding how people consume your content is super important, but if you want your content to resonate with your readers, it needs to be emotive and memorable. Even the most boring topics can cause an emotional reaction! It all depends on how you frame it, and how well you understand your audience. Y’all gotta hit those pressure points!
Time to build your content strategy
Dave’s content strategy is built in ten steps.
First, you need to decide how often you’re going to publish your content. Quarterly or monthly? The answer to this will be based on your KPIs, so be sure to figure them out!
Second, Dave loves a content plan that’s focused on a single time period or theme. Once you have that plan/theme in place, then you can start building ideas from there — and ALL of your content should revolve around the theme you choose.
Third, create an editorial calendar that plans out every step of your content plan — from production to publication to marketing! But be mindful that you should be planning content ideas here, not details for specific pieces of content.
Fourth is the ideation phase! You want to come up with 2-3x the ideas you actually need for your calendar, and then drill down from there. This will help you get the most refined ideas to flesh out. Some good tips for this phase are developing content personas (who are you writing for?), figuring out how to carve up content for different learners, and deducing which emotions you want to trigger in your audience.
Fifth, you want to actually start planning your content. Ask yourself why this content should exist, what problems are you trying to help your readers solve. You should also look at what your competitors are doing to see what’s already out there. This will help your basic ideas become fully formed.
Sixth, start creating your content. If you’ve done all the legwork we’ve discussed, this should be the easy (and fun!) part.
Seventh, publish your content — and not just on your blog! “A blog does not fix all issues,” warns Dave. You want to send emails and consider locking some content in a resource center.
Eighth, you need to start marketing that published content, via email, social media, and syndicated marketing. What’s the point of creating content otherwise?
Ninth, measure, measure, and measure again how your content is performing all the way down your funnel. Boost what’s working, and fix what’s not!
Tenth, repurpose your existing content. You can refresh and republish content that has worked for you in the past, or even polish up content that might have underperformed. Either way, you don’t have to always start from scratch.
Wrapping things up
At the end of the day, the most important piece of advice Dave could give you is to just identify and know your audience. Understand how they learn and how they process content, and hit them with the same ideas in different ways, over and over and over again. Repetition is key when it comes to learning, and you want your audience to be engaged with what you’re offering.
That’s about all we’ve got for this blog post! If you want to dig a bit deeper into anything we mentioned, check out Dave’s gif-filled presentation below.
Register for next month’s meeting
Don’t forget, Rebecca Gill of Web Savvy Marketing is coming next month to show us why SEO is NOT a Plugin. Be sure to register today to secure your ticket! If the last two meetings have been any indication, it’s going to be an event you can’t miss.