Everyone loves (or loves to hate) Iron Man.
Personal opinions aside, there are some important lessons to be had from this ever-evolving Marvel™ creation. Apart from the boyish good looks and prodigal genius of Tony Stark, which I’m sure you all posses, there are some interesting parallels that can be drawn between the qualities of Iron Man and the qualities that constitute great content marketing.
Lesson 1: It’s What’s on the Outside that Counts
Like Stark without his armour, a brand without quality, optimized content is a little bit wayward and a little bit drunk. Alone, Stark is brilliant and this genius is translated through the engineering of his Iron Man armour. With it he is stronger, faster, and his defences are tenfold of what they are without it. Moreover, not only is he far more powerful and effective while wearing it, but it is also serves as a critical part of his lifeline.
Similarly, a business that fails to harness the powers of content marketing is much like an armour-less Tony Stark. While you may have an awesome business with great products or services, if your external brand is left uncultivated it will not go very far.
Every successful business should have its own unique Iron Man suit, but instead of a complicated mix of alloys and technologies, your suit should be constructed out of valuable content. Doing so strengthens your business, sees your goals realized faster, and reinforces your overall defences against your competitors.
For example your company blog, social media sites, and industry resources will symbiotically work together to make up your company’s virtual lifeblood. Like the relationship between Stark and his suit, these initiatives become your exoskeleton, but one that is directly related to the internal health of your business. In today’s digital world content marketing is critical to your business’s lifeline. Without it you will die… well at the very least your business will, but I wouldn’t take the risk.
Lesson 2: The Little Marketer that Could
It is important to understand that your job is not done once you’ve written one good e-book, published 20 decent blog posts, and increased your social media fan base by 100 people. At the risk of sounding wearisome, the work is never-ending. Success comes from continually working to cultivate your online presence. As I touched on before, this means optimizing the content on your website or blog, engaging with consumers through social media, and setting yourself up as a thought leader by offering up tools and solutions to various problems specific to your industry or niche. While this is just the tip of the iceberg, your efforts will be entirely worthwhile. If you find you’re lacking in motivation, Iron Man again offers a good site of inspiration.
Stark is known for his innovation. He continually updates and refines his armour to make it more powerful, more efficient, and (most importantly) more fashionable than prior versions. From Mark I to Mark VII, Stark has made improvements to his armour in order to remain efficient and also valuable in the superhero world (I hear it’s cut-throat). Engineering specialized armour for specific environments such as outer space or extreme climates, Stark recognizes the need to optimize the potentials of his armour.
I found two main takeaways from this example that can be related back to content marketing:
1. While the progress of your online presence may be good, never stop working to make it better. While this may seem like common sense, it’s surprising how many businesses reach
a plateau and stagnate into irrelevancy. Don’t be that business. This means actively and regularly involving yourself in your industry, looking for opportunities to expand your knowledge, and bringing the best content to your consumers.
2. Just like Stark customizes his armour for unique environments, make sure to customize your content marketing initiatives for your unique buyer personas. The importance of identifying your audience and ensuring that you are effectively targeting them through every avenue cannot be understated. For example if you are a Smartphone company and you have identified your ideal audience as 30-50 year old corporate businessmen, then running a marketing campaign that highlights the awesome gaming capabilities of the phone might not see the results you were hoping for. Once you have a firm grasp on who your targeted consumer is, it makes providing useful, current, and engaging content that much easier.
Lesson 3: Go Forth and Conquer
To do all of this and to do it well requires work. Ideally work that is proactive rather than reactive. Don’t wait for your business to falter to start taking the necessary steps to give your brand a strong online presence. One of Tony Stark’s most pervasive qualities is his determination and willpower. He doesn’t settle for average. Sure, he’s naturally smart, but he applies his genius in practical ways. At age 4 he built his first circuit board, at age 6 his first engine, and at 17 he had graduated from MIT. His most impressive creation, of course, is his Iron Man armour, and even this continues to work to perfect.
Similarly, your product or service might be naturally remarkable, but if you do nothing to cultivate the brand behind your awesome product or service then it’s all for naught. Stark is continually innovating and problem solving; expanding his knowledge and using it to ensure that he is ten steps ahead of his enemies (which we like to call competitors). Businesses need to adopt this same mentality to truly be successful. Again, this comes in the form of relevant and optimized content, focused consumer engagement, and the drive to never stop learning.
Everyone wants to be a superhero…let content marketing be your #1 superpower!