Content Marketing SEO

The Cure for Your Content Strategy Fatigue: the Content Shout-Out Series

Content Strategy Fatigue

5 Things You Need to Know about Content Strategy. 7 Tactics to Develop Your Content. How to Write Compelling Blog Posts. Sound familiar?

We hear a great deal of high-level views about content strategy out there in the digital marketing space. While these are all useful, there can be a dearth of focus on creativity and successful execution.

It comes down to this: there’s a lot out there about quality content. As we’ve previously discussed, good content is not only vital because it generates links, shares, and discussions; it also has a growing direct impact on SEO, figuring both into Google’s algorithm and searcher satisfaction with SERP results.

This means that if visitors bounce from your site frequently because they don’t find compelling content, your rankings will suffer.

So, we know that quality content is enormously important to digital marketing, but it’s hard to know what that looks like. We want to put more examples of it in front of you.

What’s a “Content Shout-Out”?

With this in mind, we’re starting a miniseries on the Conductor blog: the Content Shout-Out Series. Our goal is to find examples of unusual, interesting content that adds unique value to its brand and audience.

Our hope is to showcase some of the great creativity and best practices in our industry, and to help our readers continue to conceive of content in fresh but attainable (attained!) ways.

And the first Content Shout-Out goes to… ATG Stores

For our seminal post, we’d like you to take a look at ATG Stores and the laudable content they have developed with their home makeover series. Let’s zero in on the Kitchen Makeover.

Screenshot 2013-11-19 12.48.06 

The kitchen makeover is a collection of how-to videos that relates to a room or a family of products. Rather than critique the technical quality of the video, this post will focus on the top-level usability and messaging aspects.

From a Usability Perspective

The features are consistent from section to section: there’s a how to video, an extracted quote, and a clean, readily accessible button that transitions a user to one of ATG’s lighting department pages.

kitchen makeover lighting

Here are just a few ways this piece of content optimizes usability in its layout:

  • The white space that surrounds and separates elements helps relieve the cognitive burden on the site’s visitor; it makes it much easier to scan and digest information.
  • The quote beside the videos gives the users instant gratification, so they don’t have to click play to extract value. It also helps set their expectations, so that they’re more likely to click “play” overall.
  • The content is highly organized, economical, and consistent. All these are fundamental principles of optimal communication (called “visible language” by Aaron Marcus).

A story that stars ATG’s customers

The sequence of videos tells a narrative. Above the fold, there’s a motivational overview: “One kitchen makeover, one day, just add dinner.” Just below, there’s a lineup of products that the site will feature, acting as anchors on the page.

kitchen makeover content

The sections are as follows:

  • Make over your kitchen lighting
  • Renew your kitchen cabinets
  • Update your kitchen faucet
  • Upgrade to a germ-free soap dispenser
  • Easy and delicious pot roast
  • Make cleanup faster and more convenient

These sections function like tasks on a checklist (subtly encouraging the user to accomplish them all). But they’re also a sequential story that meets the customer’s needs. This content is about renovating a kitchen, not just featuring a product. In this way, ATG is taking into account realistic customer concerns like simplicity, frugality, and efficiency.

Content for the whole customer

One particularly effective section is the “Easy and Delicious Pot Roast”. The video here splices a real pot roast recipe with kitchen renovations that you can accomplish in the time it takes to cook the meal.

This section is worth taking a closer look at since it goes a long way to humanize the brand. While the content stays on track by integrating products and renovation tips, it does so at the tempo of a customer’s needs (it doesn’t take an hour to install a faucet, it takes the time carrots need to stew). The video adds value by supplying an actual recipe.

The message a customer internalizes through watching this video is that ATG has the entirety of the customer in mind; they’re not just a body attached to a wallet. This feature is also playful: ATG delivers on its tagline “just add dinner” by unexpectedly including the recipe. It wasn’t just a piece of flashy copy; the content actually delivers.

That’s the crux of the excellent balance here: this is content that tells a story about and for ATG’s customers. However, ATG is still front and center here. The content isn’t ambiguous; it is clearly about ATG’s products.

Dan Lyons said it well in a recent Hubspot article:

Sometimes companies are afraid to include themselves in their marketing and storytelling. They fear this will put people off… They leave their products out entirely. Viewers are left scratching their heads and wondering why this company made this video, or what on earth this video has to do with the company that made it. It’s ridiculous, and worse yet, it feels dishonest.

The kitchen makeover series is usable and useful; it offers genuinely helpful service that goes above and beyond its product line but is still relevant. This kind of content not only makes the products look practical and attractive, it helps create an actual relationship between the brand and a customer, engendering gratitude.

What do you think of the ATG kitchen makeover? And have you seen any content lately that deserves a Content Shout-Out? Let us know on social media (we’re @Conductor on Twitter) or in the comments below.

 

Banner image via The Food Network.