The No. 1 Secret For Effective Content

We are all victims of content deluge and fatigue. We are bombarded by an unending stream of messaging. By necessity we have become experts at filtering out at least 95% of these messages. We embrace technology that allows us to block ads and other messaging that might interrupt our enjoyment of the high quality content we actually want to watch.

So how should brands recognize this and invest in content that works? At the end of the day content is not really King. We can ignore it all too easily. Revenue is King every time. In a world of prolifically wasted content brands need to invest in content that gets results.

At Xmas it can be even for difficult than ever as marketers up their investment in the hope of winning their share of the holiday spending spree.

Amidst all the clutter of my snail mail this morning I spotted a 1950’s style newsletter that shouted ‘boring’ and ‘trash me’. Yet there was something curious that stood out about the homely old-fashioned design and typography. On second look it turned out to be a holiday season newsletter from Trader Joe’s. In this era of ‘snackable’ content it defied all modern conventions. The copy was wordy and almost folksy in its delivery. It had few if any images.

Yet it was utterly compelling!


Because it was written in a way that demonstrated just how completely Trader Joe’s understand their customers. They realize the power of CONTEXT. In this brief window of contemplating the holidays ahead I am completely open to reading their recipes and the interesting stories about the artisans that make their food. Christmas is all about tradition and their decision to create a very traditional newsletter format was absolutely on the button.

Furthermore the tone of voice exactly reflected the customer service I receive when I go to Trader Joe – friendly, well versed, homely and totally passionate about food.

So what can brand marketers learn from this?

The no. 1 lesson is to develop detailed knowledge of your customers. Research them, watch them, talk to them and respect their intelligence. Map out your audience personas and create your strategy and voice from this work.

Above all, use that knowledge and approach to apply your secret weapon – AUTHENTICITY. Nothing works as powerfully as messaging that is honest, straightforward and matches our real life interaction with the brand.

Doug Baxter is CEO of Cut to the Content, a company that provides high quality content for brands and the agencies that serve them.

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