As we dive into a New Year, many of us face the challenge of realigning our efforts to reach new goals over the next 12 months. If content is your specialty, you’ve probably crafted a new content marketing plan and have built (or are in the process of building) a 2018 content calendar. You might even have a documented strategy for content — but is your content supported by a narrative that delivers a unique message and establishes your company’s vision for the industry? In an era where everyone is publishing massive amounts of content, your narrative matters. An industry narrative helps separate category leaders from the crowd.

Category leadership is created through an industry-level narrative that is less about the organization and more focused on the industry. While there are a time and place for products and services, the industry-level narrative produces a clear vision for the industry that focuses on addressing the challenges, opportunities and misperceptions. From our experience, this is the space where true market leadership lies.

This type of narrative, developed through the Strategic Narrative Marketing approach, has the power to change the way people look at your industry and company — and the process of building an industry narrative itself is a great way to come up with relevant and timely content. When you create a narrative framework that is built by identifying the following (each serves as a content goldmine!):

  1. Identify Major Industry Trends
    At this point, few industries are left untouched by disruption and innovation. This state of constant change is driving megatrends in every industry. To create a solid industry narrative, you need to identify and address those trends. You might consider leveraging the knowledge of your sales team. As connected as they are with customers, they are probably going to know what moves the meter at the moment. Not only is the identification of megatrends a key building block of your industry-level narrative, but each megatrend serves as a piece of high-quality content.
  2. Look at the industry perceptions
    You are likely aware of the general perceptions of your industry. Write them down. Ask the leadership of your organization to provide its list of industry perceptions. Each perception is an opportunity for you to create content that either supports, challenges or works to change those perceptions. This is how you drive content that matters to your audience.
  3. Look at the industry misconceptions
    As you strive to create an industry narrative – perhaps there are first some industry misconceptions that need to be clarified. Are there widespread misperceptions that have slowed the adoption of the products and services in your market segment? This is a true thought leadership opportunity to squash the misunderstood and sometimes inaccurate conceptions, and provide a fresh look to your audience. The content built around these misperceptions has the potential to change thought patterns and push your industry forward. This is the type of content that separates those who are driving the industry from the product pushers.

If your company lacks vision for its content pipeline or faces the common challenge of delivering unique content among the competition, step outside the box and focus on the industry in 2018. Your narrative matters, and if it’s not important to your industry it’s going to fall deep into the content pit with everyone else in your space. If anything, the development of an industry narrative will make you highly aware of the issues impacting your industry and you’ll have the opportunity to address those through your narrative.

By leveraging the Strategic Narrative Marketing approach throughout 2017, our team also observed that the impact reaches far beyond marketing. To learn more about the approach, read the book: “A Practical Guide to Strategic Narrative Marketing.”