If content is not at the heart of your company’s marketing strategy, you’re doing it wrong. Investments in advertising, behind-the-scenes wizardry, and attractive websites are all important, but content is the meat that connects you with your customers. You can spend a fortune on online ads, but if they direct to a static and stale website, don’t be surprised if you fail to meet your conversion goals. A website filled with timely and informative content, on the other hand? That’s the sweet spot.
Knowing the importance of content is only the first step. The next is actually creating that content on a regular basis. If you’re stuck in a content rut, case studies can help spark your imagination:
Positive Case Studies
Case studies are a great way to create content without having to start from scratch. All the information is out there, you just need to share your own opinion. You can choose a company, a product, a website, a campaign, or even an idea and meditate on its positive aspects. The object of study can be related to your field, or can be in a completely different area of business. The important thing is drawing connections with your readers.
Identify the strengths of the object of study. What have they done right and why do they stand as a good example? Have they done something innovative or have they improved upon a time-tested strategy? What lessons can your company or your readers draw from the object of study?
For example, you may be really impressed by the Bell Let’s Talk awareness campaign and how they used social media to generate massive engagement. Can the same strategy be used by other charities and foundations to create awareness?
Or, perhaps you believe Apple’s website perfectly balances visual appeal with user-friendliness. Even if you are a plumber or a therapist, can these same design aesthetics and attention to the user experience be applied to your field?
Constructive Criticism Case Studies
On the flip side, there are companies, products, websites, and campaigns that fail to impress. Just as we can learn lessons from the successes of others, we can also learn from failures. Choose an object of study and identify where they misstepped or failed to see the big picture.
Identify what works for the object of study and what doesn’t. What have they done wrong and what could they have done differently to succeed? Do they have any strengths upon which they can build?
Try finding a comparative case studies that demonstrates how the idea or campaign was better executed elsewhere.
Many companies try to create viral phenomena using Twitter hashtags. When it works it’s great. The company gets a bit of brand awareness, and clients reminisce about good times involving the company’s product or service. When it goes wrong, though, it really goes wrong.
In 2011, a company that makes baked goods tried to spread the hashtag #notguilty to promote guilt-free eating of their cakes and muffins. The only problem? The hashtag was already trending as a result of the Casey Anthony “not guilty” murder verdict. As a result, the company looked at best ignorant of national news events, or deeply insensitive about a murder case.
Your purpose here is not to shame or mock the offending company (though in the above example, they probably deserve it). Instead, you are looking to draw lessons and illustrate how the situation could have been handled in a better way.
Whether you want to highlight a company that has done everything right, or learn lessons from a company that failed, case studies are a great way to spur content creation.
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