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From the Trenches

Red, White, and Boom: How Content Marketing is Like Fireworks

Yvonne Lyons | June 30, 2017
Red, White, and Boom - How Content Marketing is Like Fireworks

Happy almost July 4th. It’s a holiday about independence, and celebrations, picnics, and explosions, some very elaborate and choreographed, some thrown together and a little dangerous. Can you see the resemblance to your content marketing efforts? Are you elaborate and choreographed, like the show over the Boston Harbor? Or maybe a little messy and dangerous, like the show on your front lawn with the stuff you bought in the grocery-store parking lot?

Here is a bit of a glossary of fireworks for you (because who really knows what these things are officially called?) and how each type might resemble your current content marketing endeavors. If you recognize yourself in something rather, um, uninspired, maybe now is the time to reconsider what you’re doing and whether it is really having an impact. You want oohs and ahs, not just a fizzle.

Smoke BombSmoke Bomb: Well, yeah. Do I have to say a lot here? You don’t plan, you don’t write great content. You’re not bothering with creativity, no marketing automation. You’re marketing efforts are just a smoky cloud. No oohs and ahs, no band playing. Just smoke. The smoke bomb does not offer much in the way of ROI. The smoke bomb does not yield results. You will need to really ramp up your efforts to be a crowd pleaser or a lead generator.

SparklerSparkler: You have an idea, a bright little idea. OK, maybe you have a whole box of ideas. But they aren’t deep, they don’t last long, they’re pretty monochromatic, and there’s nothing particularly creative about them. Your marketing is a sparkler. Good content marketing isn’t just random content here and there, published sporadically about whatever strikes your fancy. Sparklers, like random content marketing, are for kids. You can do better.

Ground SpinnerGround Spinner: You have a plan, but it’s in your head. You have good ideas, bright, colorful ideas, but because the plan is only in your head, you speed off in one direction and then you swing around and head in another — just like one of those bright little ground spinners that you put in the lawn. Good ideas, but they never really get off the ground.

Flying FishFlying Fish: Now you’re getting into the big time. You have some BIG ideas and are putting them into action. But unfortunately, the plan is still in your head — so yes, you get up into the air, but you’re going everywhere. Maybe you do great things like create some fabulous piece of interactive content, or publish blog posts, but your topics are so random and without goal or theme, that your prospects don’t understand what you’re doing. Which means they probably don’t dive deeper into your content. You are all over the place. Like the flying fish.

WillowWillow: You, content marketer, obviously have your act together. When you explode content into the market, you do so with grace, and order, and a clear goal. Like the willow (or its cousin the chrysanthemum) and its strands of color, you have a very clear path for each of your content themes, and know that you must stay the course with them, or goals will not be met. You are getting the oohs and ahs on remarkable content, but are you weaving it all together? Are you actually surrounding the castle, thinking about the various types of content that your audience might be looking for and working them into a campaign? The willow by itself doesn’t make a great show. You have to have variety.

The Grand FinaleThe Grand Finale: You are the guy or gal with a plan, it’s written down, and you circle back to it frequently. You know that you need various types of content to engage your audience, and you have campaigns planned to address various goals. You are surrounding the castle to get buyers at every stage of the buying funnel. You are the Grand Finale of fireworks. You mix it all together for the maximum impact, and you get results. People don’t just ooh and ah, they clap and yell. And they come back time and time again.

Want more about content marketing planning and using the right tools for the right audience? Download our eBook, “Build Your Content Marketing Plan: A 10-Step Guide.”

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About Yvonne Lyons:

Yvonne Lyons is Right Source’s vice president of creative services, overseeing content and design for all of our clients. She ensures that all creative produced at Right Source is of the highest quality and is aligned with our clients’ business strategy and goals. Yvonne received a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University in writing and literature and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, branding, and communications.