The truth about con­tent mar­ket­ing

While the term con­tent is de­lib­er­ately broad, Sarah Barry says that in all its forms it has one thing in common: value

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and en­gage­ment’ is be­ing adopted on­line. In­stead of pitch­ing prod­ucts and ser­vices, brands can suc­cess­fully en­ter­tain or in­form cus­tomers over time, to build a depth of con­nec­tion, re­sult­ing in con­tin­ued business and loy­alty. Brands are slowly shift­ing from a ‘buy’ to a ‘ cre­ate and con­nect’ men­tal­ity.

Con­tent mar­ket­ing is popular be­cause it works. Con­sumers are more likely to click, share and pur­chase a prod­uct based on a brand’s con­tent, rather than from its ad­ver­tise­ments. How­ever, filling a dig­i­tal con­tent pipe­line is a big shift for mar­keters as is pro­duc­ing enough en­gag­ing con­tent for rel­e­vant on­line chan­nels.

Suc­cess­ful con­tent mar­ket­ing will leave an au­di­ence feel­ing like they have con­sumed some free en­ter­tain­ment or in­for­ma­tion. A use­ful anal­ogy might be the ed­i­to­rial au­di­ence ex­pe­ri­ence of a fea­ture ar­ti­cle in a lux­ury cars mag­a­zine ver­sus a run-in with a used car sales­man.

What’s more, when the con­tent is good enough, the au­di­ence will ac­tu­ally seek it out, and po­ten­tially even pay for it. The Lego movie is a re­cent ex­am­ple of peo­ple hap­pily pay­ing to watch a movie length piece of con­tent from the Lego brand.

As a dis­ci­pline, con­tent mar­ket­ing is still not well un­der­stood. As with any new ap­proach, stan­dards need to be cre­ated to guide mar­keters in the pur­suit of that ever-elu­sive (yet wholly pos­si­ble) ‘qual­ity con­tent’.

Here are six steps to get­ting con­tent up and run­ning and keep it run­ning smoothly. 1. Be clear on your au­di­ences and your ob­jec­tives Con­tent mar­ket­ing is a longterm com­mit­ment re­quir­ing de­tailed plan­ning and con­sid­er­a­tion, as to how to at­tract and re­tain an au­di­ence. Un­like paid ad­ver­tis­ing there is no guar­an­teed au­di­ence for your con­tent. Think about what your au­di­ences are search­ing for, and de­velop tac­tics to align with their be­hav­ior and pref­er­ences. Use the range of data avail­able from so­cial me­dia trends to in­ter­nal site data, to iden­tify key cus­tomer in­ter­ests. It’s big data think­ing but on a man­age­able scale. 2. Make some­thing new The in­ter­net is packed full of con­tent that has been cre­ated, adapted or re­pur­posed so stand­ing out re­quires adding some­thing unique to the mix. Be on brand but don’t be bor­ing, and be pre­pared to walk away from ideas that aren’t work­ing. Be fun and coura­geous. Embrace ev­ery idea. 3. Know what suc­cess looks like With many ROI met­rics to choose, mea­sur­ing the suc­cess of con­tent is com­plex. The list is ex­ten­sive; unique vis­its, time on site, en­gage­ment, shares, brand lift, share of voice, to name a few.

Suc­cess looks dif­fer­ent for each pro­gramme and is in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to the ob­jec­tives that you set. Clearly un­der­stand­ing and defin­ing those ob­jec­tives at the be­gin­ning, is crit­i­cal to es­tab­lish­ing KPIs and the sub­se­quent mea­sure­ment against them. 4. Ex­ter­nal in­flu­encer ecosys­tem Con­tent mar­ket­ing de­pends on so­cial am­pli­fi­ca­tion. Nur­ture re­la­tion­ships with key in­flu­en­tial con­tent cre­ators by giv­ing them priv­i­leged ac­cess to events, your or­ga­nis ation’s peo­ple and in­for­ma­tion. Tap into all chan­nels for in­flu­encers, in­clud­ing business part­ners, an­a­lysts, con­sumers and in­de­pen­dent blog­gers. 5. Con­tin­u­ally mea­sure re­sults – and quickly build on suc­cesses Con­stantly eval­u­ate what type of con­tent your au­di­ences want both in for­mat and topic. It is very easy to see when a con­tent mar­ket­ing tac­tic is suc­cess­ful, as the re­sults will dis­play quickly in your an­a­lyt­ics data. When you see a tac­tic is suc­cess­ful then work to de­velop what was in­tended as a sin­gle con­tent ini­tia­tive into a se­ries, or cre­ate support con­tent for the suc­cess­ful tac­tic. For ex­am­ple, turn a sin­gle video into a se­ries, a one- page re­port into an eBook, or an ar­ti­cle into a weekly col­umn. Sarah Barry is GM business unit at Mo­men­tum Dubai

Barry… ‘Stand­ing out re­quires adding some­thing unique to the mix’

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