Andy Wang, former Digital Marketing Manager at World Kitchen, kicked off his Widen Summit 2016 presentation by saying, “Every company and organization has a challenge. How do we connect authentic stories to our consumers?” As marketers, we tend to gravitate to talking about ourselves and features of our products. But if we want to create deeper, more genuine connections with our consumers, we can’t just talk about ourselves.
To create a genuine connection with our consumers, we need to understand our place in their lives. “Everyone knows that we sell Corelle dinnerware and Pyrex bakeware. But that’s not really what you’re buying. You’re buying the end result, which is serving that family dinner and making something you’re really proud of, and you want to post pictures of that,” Andy said.
There are some key challenges you’ll have to overcome to create content for your consumers.
Challenge 1: Find your brand voice
After working with some agencies, World Kitchen started by finding each of their brand’s voices. They manage eight brands, each with different personalities, personas, marketing, and consumers who interact with different types of content.
Andy and the World Kitchen team had to ask themselves, How do we want our consumers to view us as a brand?” Diving into their different audiences and how they’re interested in interacting with World Kitchen brands provided a strong launch point for their digital content efforts. World Kitchen and their agencies were then able to create brand voice documents.
Challenge 2: Focus your content efforts
Andy challenged the shotgun approach to creating content, where lots of different content is created and distributed in different places to see what works. This blast of content approach is challenging to measure and find meaningful data.
Instead, Andy suggests focusing on your strengths. Identify what will really speak to the consumer. If that first focused effort doesn’t work, make adjustments or try a new approach.
World Kitchen started an editorial calendar to help focus its efforts. The editorial calendar guides their content creation, and helps them "win the moment" for consumers searching for solutions like theirs. To understand those winnable moments, you need to understand what topics are trending for your audience. World Kitchen started with seasonal, product campaigns, PR events, and trending topics.
Challenge 3: Don’t just create content to have more content
Andy warned brands about just pumping out 100s of articles. “You’re going to lose credibility. Consumers will start ignoring the channels you’re publishing on.” Instead, start small and focused on your content. Less content with a more strategic focus is better. Experiment with different types of content, and focus on creating relatable content.
Challenge 4: Find good partners
“You can’t do it alone,” Andy shared. You need your internal stakeholders, like marketing and sales, and external agencies, like content creators and photographers, to work together to create great content. Different channels and different content formats require different skills to master. Rally your teams and their unique strengths around the value you provide your consumers and deliver it in a branded experience.
One partner example Andy shared was for technology infrastructure. “We actually have over 160 million embed views a month. And that’s through our web properties. By using Widen to embed photos into our articles and our content channels, we’re able to achieve that.”
Measure and tweak your way to success
Creating valuable content for your consumers takes time. Andy suggests to “always measure and tweak your content.” He ended with a success story for Chicago Cutlery. They spent a lot of time on honing in on the Chicago Cutlery audience. “We figured out no one really wants to think about knives. They just want to see what the knives can get you to.”
One of World Kitchen’s most successful articles was on how to make a great sandwich. They featured the Chicago Cutlery knife in a photograph in the article, right in the middle of the sandwich. “Now it didn’t say or scream Chicago Cutlery…but it created consistency and uniqueness in our articles.”
They then started to own how-to articles for cutting different foods like mangoes and pineapples. “All these different types of techniques helped us create an ownable content source for our company.”
For a deep dive into content strategy and actionable tips, download the essential guide to visual content marketing white paper.