Brexit – it’s the ultimate political Marmite, making some of us salivate with anticipation and others heave with revulsion.
But whatever the extent to which it divides opinion, you can’t deny that Brexit has been a unique source of ‘lessons learnt’ – and many of these are as applicable to content marketing as they are to other spheres of business endeavour.
Here are just a few painful examples!
1.Choose the right person for the job
Content marketing’s like plumbing – you can do some of it yourself and still make it work. But if you choose someone else to do it, you choose the right person – a plumber, not a carpenter, or a roofer, or someone who’s “done a bit of writing.” It’s partly about skill, but it’s also about dedication to execution.
Choose someone who doesn’t really give a damn about plumbing and that toilet may well not get properly fixed. Choose someone who doesn’t care about whether their writing adds value to your brand, and the words will prove expensive as well as ineffective.
Choose a Remainer Prime Minister to negotiate a Brexit outcome and…. well, you get the picture.
2. Running a vote? Stick by the results.
Polling your audience on social media is an excellent way to garner interest in your brand, make people feel as if they’re being listened to, and identify the most important emerging topics and themes for your forthcoming content marketing campaigns.
So imagine what would happen if you ran an online poll and then a few days later ran exactly the same poll again because the original results didn’t conform to what you were anticipating. Imagine if, rather than accepting the results and adjusting your plans and actions to suit, you tried to rubbish the respondents.
How much credibility would that give you with your audience?
3. Don’t let others frustrate your schedule
“Done is better than perfect” and “Speed beats perfection every time” – these are just a couple of sayings you might hear in relation to your content marketing campaigns.
The point is, content marketing campaigns depend largely on the ability to constantly produce new material and it’s often better to release something that isn’t 100% but hits your production schedule rather than holding everything up because someone internally a.) doesn’t understand the reputational impact of not delivering something you said you would at the time you said you’d deliver it or b.) doesn’t like what you’re doing and wants to get in the way of it.
4. Know your audience – and respect them with your words
Brexit has given rise to its fair share of audience-alienating language and high-horse opinions, and these are fatal errors in any content marketing campaign.
Even finely-targeted marketing personas draw their audience from a cross-section of educational, professional and cultural backgrounds, and whilst some of them may already be broadly sympathetic to the benefits you are trying to communicate, others may not have seen or experienced evidence of those benefits in any way.
For good content marketers, this is all just part of the process of producing content that draws customers down into the sales funnel, moving them (without presupposition, prejudice or linguistic snobbery) from a point of attraction but non-knowledge to a point of interest and action.
It’s inclusive, explanatory, and persuasive, and works well in politics, too – so how did certain of the Brexit politicians get this so horribly wrong?
5. Tell stories, not porkies
Fearmongering only gets you so far in content, because once you’ve scared people they’re looking for answers and solutions, not endless recycling of the problem statement, propped up by tenuous statistics and pumped-up, worst-case-scenario projections.
Move the narrative forward! Position yourself as the bringer of helpful news, the dispeller of uncertainties, and a supplier of insight that will help your audience get their job done – whatever you feel about the job itself!
Brexit and content: you don’t know better than your audience
The EU was formed by French and German left-wing intellectuals, and whether you laud or loathe them, a quote from another French intellectual, Roland Barthes, is rather apposite here: “The reader constructs the meaning.”
What this means is that if your audience does not take to heart the points you are making, those individuals are not stupid, they are not uninformed, they are not wilfully obtuse – instead, you simply aren’t expressing your messages in a way that enables that audience to make sense of them.
My solution? Let’s send all the Brexit politicians to be trained at the Content Marketing Institute whilst we get on with showing them how it’s done!