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Alicianne Rand Shares 4 Tips for Driving Sales Through Content Marketing #CMWorld

What does it look like when content, influencers and social media come together to generate a metaphorical gold mine in terms of revenue and reach? To put it mildly, it’s drop dead gorgeous. At least that was the view from my seat at Content Marketing World as Estée Lauder’s Executive Director of Global Content Marketing Alicianne Rand shared the incredible success her organization has achieved through their integrated content marketing strategy So, what needs to happen to take your content marketing strategy from drab to fab? Here are four tips straight from Rand herself.

Tip #1 – Use data to drive your content marketing strategy

At Estée Lauder, Rand and team have built a framework to simplify how they look at data. Step 1: Track trends based on deep social listening, then look at how trends move from rising to evergreen and eventually declining patterns. Rand cited a trend called “popsicle lips” that first launched at fashion week by Mac. At first, folks were skeptical, but it was quickly picked up by industry insiders, and then popsicle lips became the No. 1 trend of the summer. “The trend started with a subculture that consumers may not have necessarily gravitated toward,” she said. “But then it moved into a creative expressions that consumers want to use and wear every day.” Step 2: Analyze content and brand performance, and then use these insights to quickly experiment. Rand said that her team constantly evaluates their performance against the competition. “We ask: how do we perform against the competition in terms of market share?” she explained. “Our ability to grow that share over time is what we’re really concerned about.” For Estée Lauder, that means mobilizing employees as influencers and trendsetters in the industry. “Think about how you can activate your employees to make things real,” she suggested. “And really test and learn to figure out what works best.” Step 3: Map everything against business goals. At the end of the day, you need to know what you want from your content in terms of KPIs to determine whether it was successful. Do you want to generate a certain amount of views and engagement? Or are you looking for leads or revenue? So, determine what that goal is and regularly check yourself against it to optimize, learn and repeat.

Tip #2: Create products with content in mind

Rand said: “In the early stages of research and development, we’re already thinking about how this product will perform on social.” This is a key element for their brand’s content because so much of the industry is socially driven. Think about it in terms of Kylie Jenner’s lipstick promotion generating billions of dollars from Snapchat. However, this doesn’t mean that the brand owns all of the social around their product. In fact, Rand recommends the following formula for working with social influencers: Ownership + Authenticity + 360 Engagement = Sales “Ownership and authenticity are key to performance,” Rand said. “Give your influencers ownership over that product or that creative and you will see results.”

Tip #3: Know that creativity can come from anywhere and anyone.

In Rand’s words, “Everyone is a content creator. The trick is where you’re leveraging these influencers and what KPIs you have against each. There needs to be different strategies for different content creators.” The key is synchronization, she said. There needs to be a strategic framework in place for success. Rand tasked the audience with four key elements to think about:

  1. What is your overarching theme? What does your brand stand for?
  2. What are your trying to promote? (i.e. What is your particular campaign?)
  3. What are your chapters? This refers to evergreen content that the Estée Lauder team likes to call micro-narratives.
  4. What are your moments? This is your always-on content, where you can do A/B testing and try out new trends you’re experimenting with.

Tip #4: Create new paths to discovery and conversion.

How can your content create new paths to conversion? What isn’t being done that can make an impact? To illustrate this point, Rand cited the example of Smashbox thinking about retail as content. Every single store they have has a photo studio inside. They invite influencers to come in, do photo shoots using their products, and then give the photos to them for use on Instagram or other social profiles. In return, the influencers always tag Smashbox, giving their audience an opportunity to check the products out for themselves.

The Main Takeaway?

For content to drive sales and conversions, it needs to come from a place of deep understanding of your customers, the marketplace and your brand. Don’t start with what you want to get out of your content and work backward. A truly beautiful content strategy starts with why — not what. Stay tuned for more #CMWorld coverage and insights on the TopRank Marketing Blog. In addition, follow myself and the rest of our on-the-ground team members on Twitter at: @Tiffani_Allen, @leeodden, @knutesands, @NiteWrites, @azeckman, @amywhiggins and @CaitlinMBurgess.

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