Tuesday 2¢: If your content strategy was a cross-continental drive

I have heard many car analogies when it comes to content management, but I once hired an Audi estate that I think for this Tuesday 2¢ could be the model for a great content strategy.

I’m a bit of a petrol head, although I don’t have a car, well, I sort of do I have a drive ornament. A 2005 Ford Mustang that, by any definition, is not a very good car.

The steering wheel is on the wrong side (I imported it to the UK), it is noisy, it’s uncomfortable for most of the passengers (and even the driver over a long journey). It’s inefficient, it’s not got a lot of boot space and as for modern-day conveniences like satellite navigation, Apple Play or err.. 4 doors, not so much.

Even the niche it lives in as a performance car, it’s not exactly in the magic quadrant. It doesn’t handle very well, it extracts relatively little power from its 4.6 ‘liters’ (by European standards), and on a wet twisty road, it would be outperformed by an electric scooter.

Of course, I love it, it has other charms that are the reason why it’s dripping differential oil on my drive right now, but if I want to really go anywhere, with my family, or transport stuff, or be in any kind of comfort, I hire something for the job. And, even I would think twice about choosing it for a drive across the continent.

Which gets me to the point of this Tuesday 2¢, there is an analogy in my thinly veiled excuse to talk about cars.

Planning a content marketing strategy is like choosing the car for a cross-continental drive.

It has to be something you will be comfortable in over the miles. It has to be not too thirsty as you need to sustain it over a long journey, and you don’t want to keep stopping to invest more in it.

Yet, it can’t be too frugal to affect performance as you need to get there relatively quickly, and it has to be relevant to the environment it drives in.

How many times have you seen a content marketing strategy that’s built like a dragster? A big initial investment in a fast, explosive 5 seconds, the first quarter-mile is AWESOME. But what happens next, how is that continent crossed to the customer if (oh god) it didn’t go viral? And sometimes sadly that’s it. If you can’t demonstrate you can cross the continent to the customer in 5 seconds, content marketing has failed.

On the flip side, I’ve seen a content marketing strategy that is a slow cross-country cruise in an RV. It’s comfortable, and you can bring along all your crap, so don’t worry about packing (or focusing). You can take your time, meander your way to the customer, and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to tour. OK, so it’s not terrible agile when it comes to reaching an audience down a narrow village lane and when things quicken up on the autobahn, it gets left behind.

Maybe an SUV is a great compromise, but it’s going to burn through your resources, and are you likely to be fording any rivers?

The perfect content marketing strategy is like a car I once hired in Munich. I was going to management offsite in the gorgeous countryside south of the city. I needed autobahn fast as it was a trip outside the city (OK, “need” might be a bit strong), I needed to accommodate people I was picking up, and it needed to be somewhat engaging, as we had investors in the group.

The lucky dip of keys at the Sixt desk at Munich airport granted me an Audi diesel estate, a fine and at first glance a safe, slightly dull choice. It would certainly do the job. But.. as I eased out of the airport, it quickly became apparent that this was not just an ordinary diesel estate, this was a top of the range, dual turbocharged big engine diesel that was undoubtedly capable of comfortably crossing a continent.

It could carry the content that we needed (my colleagues and their cases). It was German and localized for the environment. It was a little bit premium, yet relatable for the audience. It was very fast, however, as a diesel relatively frugal. It engaged interested colleagues sufficiently; they wanted to look under the bonnet.

OK, so maybe I have rung all I can out of this analogy, but a content marketing strategy needs to be like that Audi.

It has to be reliable; you have to be predictable in your content publishing cadence. It has to be relevant to the environment. The content needs to be aspirational but relatable. It has to be efficient, but when you need to change direction or quicken the pace in your market, it has to be agile and fast. And above all interesting.

Something you can take on a cross-content-in-all drive.

Sorry 🙂

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