Raising The Bar On Creativity


Lindsay Tjepkema is CEO and co-founder at Casted, the world’s first Amplified Marketing Platform.

The creative renaissance is here. The bar for creativity everywhere is higher by the day. We watch, listen and read exceptional content from all sorts of individuals and brands. The coolest, most engaging thing you’ve seen on the internet lately just might have been made by someone with a smartphone, a friend and an idea.

I call it the “Netflixization” of content. Whether you’re a teenager making videos on TikTok, a brand posting stories on Instagram or a production company premiering a series on Disney+, the audience has high expectations for everything they experience. We’re all humans. We experience ourselves. We all want smarter, sharper and more relevant work—consistently.

What do these expectations mean for content marketers in the B2B space? We’re not just competing with each other. We’re competing with everything: The Denny’s Twitter account, the Duolingo owl on TikTok, the audiobook or podcast, and all the streaming services.

Your audience has limited time, but also infinite options for content consumption. Your work has to stand out, or the audience will banish it (rightly) to the black hole of blandness.

Wanting richer, more engaging content might sound like I’m assigning marketers to do even more work, expecting them to keep creating at a breakneck pace while simultaneously amping up their creativity and quality. After all, who needs sleep? But, fear not. I’m not advocating for insomnia—I know there’s a better way for us to create content that wows the audience and frees marketers to follow their creativity.

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Doing More With Less

The burden on B2B content marketers to constantly create is overwhelming. I know it is because I built my career as a B2B marketer, and I’ve watched as demands grew and resources shrank. Over 100 marketers my company surveyed for a 2022 report said they spend about 33 hours every week creating content, leaving a mere seven hours to tackle their myriad other responsibilities. I know marketers have been chasing unrealistic expectations while the pursuit of creativity and focus on connection fly out the window.

Instead of adding another voice to the cacophony asking marketers to do more with less, I suggest we look at the bigger picture. What if the premise of current content marketing strategies is the problem?

Believing The Lies

I believe we content marketers are victims of confabulation (my new favorite word, compliments of Brené Brown). A confabulation is a lie told honestly. We’ve internalized the lie that:

• Constantly churning out more content, regardless of quality, is better.

• The algorithm is king.

• Rankings and metrics (mostly vanity) are the most important measure of success.

These lies added fuel to the acceleration toward a flood of “crap content” others have warned about for a decade.

We also believe we have to do it all. Every channel has its own strategy, with exhausted marketers creating, creating, creating. Then, when a new format enters the scene, we have to master it, too, along with whatever point solution we use to manage it. We don’t get a better connection with our audience or more creative content—we get chaos.

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Amplifying For Better Results

An amplified marketing strategy can bring your marketing team back to the cornerstones of creativity and connection and finally allow, even encourage, them to catch their breath.

By rejecting the pursuit of quantity and focusing on communicating authentically, amplified marketing gives marketers the time to chase their creative impulses and rise to big, bold expectations that compete with the Marvels and Pixars of the world.

Identify

The first step in an amplified marketing strategy focuses on the audience. Who are they and what are they seeking? Determine what’s been done well in the past to nail down the audience’s preferences, like keywords and topics that resonated. Instead of spending hours researching what an expert might say to inform a blog post you write, find and talk to the actual experts. Identify who’s qualified to speak to your audience’s interests, inspire them and answer their questions. Maybe it’s an expert in your company or an industry thought leader with big ideas and a story to share.

But you don’t have to start from scratch. Find past pieces that performed well and work them into future storylines: a podcast clip here, a transcribed quote there. Atomize rich content from your past as building blocks for new work.

Create

Once you’ve narrowed down a relevant topic and found your expert, have a conversation. Record it with whatever you have: professional recording gear, a Zoom call or even a smartphone.

Treat this conversation like a wellspring, an infinite source of inspiration to fuel your content creation. Transform the conversation into podcast episodes or a series of webinars. Use the transcript to inspire a set of blog posts. Pick out the best one-liners and essential discussions, embedding them as video and audio clips in email campaigns and social media. Mix the old with the new, working past content into your new creations to offer maximum value.

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Amplify

Amplified marketing works best when your content and teams are aligned. Whenever you capture a rich conversation, identify the other formats available to amplify its reach. Customize it for each channel. Share the itemized content within your marketing teams and across the channels your audience uses most.

Once you’ve released it into the wild, measure your content’s effectiveness in each format using metrics designed to tell you about engagement. Then, repeat the steps to chase your success.

I don’t want content marketers to feel bored and exhausted. I don’t want them to watch others make exciting, captivating content while they slog along, publishing work deemed “good enough to go live.” I also don’t want the audience to suffer through mountains of irrelevant content because, eventually, they’ll disengage and walk away altogether.

Let’s let go of the lies. Let’s stop churning out low-value work for search engines and prioritize our audience’s needs. Let’s make something great and maximize its reach. It’s better over here, I promise.


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