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An Innovative Approach to Content Marketing: Enlightened Trial & Error

When Bill Gates published his famous “Content is King” article in 1996, likely even he couldn’t have anticipated the boom in content over the past two years. Marketers in every industry have begun incorporating more content into their marketing strategies, and 90% of marketers believe content will continue to become even more important.

But the constant pressure to create valuable content in an already saturated market can have a paralyzing effect on content marketers. This paralysis can be especially detrimental to marketing automation users, as content is the fuel that drives an automation strategy forward. So, if an obsession with creating the most valuable content possible is keeping you from producing any content at all, it’s time to readjust your thinking to a more efficient approach: enlightened trial and error.

“Enlightened trial and error” is the mantra of renowned design firm IDEO, and embodies the idea of not being afraid to fail often in order to succeed sooner. Copyblogger’s Kelton Reid discusses the use of this approach by IDEO and such creative geniuses as Thomas Edison, as well as the benefits to using this approach in content writing in his recently published article, “A Content Marketing Innovation Cheat Sheet.” If you’re hitting a roadblock with your content marketing strategy, take a deep breath and consider this innovative approach to content, which Reid simplifies into the following three steps:

“Start with an educated guess for your content strategy.”

Marketing automation provides you with some great data about visitors to your site including their industry, position and interest level. Where this analysis ends, observation and common sense begin. As Reid advises:

Observe real people, in real life situations, using real language, to find out what makes them tick. Once you start putting content out there and growing a small, loyal audience, you can tune in to their fears, hopes and desires to help steer your course.

“Create and release content knowing it’s likely to be a bit flawed.”

You don’t have to be the ultimate expert on a topic to talk about it in a blog post. Content marketing isn’t just about establishing thought leadership, it can also be about starting a conversation. Use outside articles as a jumping off point, introduce a few ideas of your own, and ask for feedback from readers. Starting a dialogue can be a really valuable way to learn more about your audience.

“Optimize [content] constantly based on audience feedback.”

Crank out content, analyze results, adjust, repeat. This kind of agility is the very core of what marketing automation is all about. Don’t get discouraged if reports reveal that a piece of content received little to no engagement — that’s an insight that you didn’t have before, and it could potentially save you from investing hours and hours on a piece of long form content that won’t perform well.

Be sure to check out the full Copyblogger article for more thoughts on innovative content marketing and a few inspirational mantras. And remember: innovation isn’t about producing one, genius idea – it’s about producing and amending a steady flow of ideas until you come up with something genius.

What’s your thoughts on this approach to producing content? We’d love to hear from you!