As content marketing becomes an increasingly, crucial element of a business’ marketing strategy, there are a number of identifiable shifts occurring and it is time for companies to assess whether they are keeping up with these changes.
Together with The Knowledge Engineers, EMR recently hosted a roundtable event to address these issues with a select group of senior marketing and content professionals from a variety of industries.
Niall McKinney, CEO & Founder of The Knowledge Engineers, posed several questions to the group surrounding the difficulties encountered and the level of strategy that was involved when it came to content marketing. As the discussion progressed, a number of key trends emerged.
Few hands were raised when Niall asked how many marketing teams had a well-documented content strategy in place. This was possibly due to differing opinions on what constitutes a “documented” strategy. Content strategy is often incorporated into the broader marketing strategy or is considered a part of social media marketing. This suggests marketers are creating content that’s not necessarily documented or recognised as such.
This raised the question as to how critical it is to have content experts outside of the broader marketing function. While the types of content might be familiar, it’s how and where it’s being consumed that is undergoing a massive shift. With the growing number of social platforms available, content marketing is becoming increasingly mobile. The pressure on brands is not only to be constantly relevant, but also to engage with audiences in a new immersive way. Modern audiences demand an interactive element to their media consumption.
Storytelling was highlighted by the roundtable discussion as particularly crucial to today’s consumers. This level of craft is why many businesses outsource to third parties such as content agencies. However, the concern when using agencies is that by nature, they don’t know the business as well as anyone in-house and the brand’s identity may be lost. A variety of strategies are applied by businesses to remedy this. One popular solution involves looking to media professionals such as journalists or even radio producers that are experts when it comes to storytelling and bringing these specialists in-house to work alongside the subject matter experts.
Whether a business is looking to bring on board an agency or keep content creation in-house, establishing the purpose of your campaign is paramount. What do you want your audience to feel? What action do you want them to take from the interaction / experience? Whether it’s direct to purchase; continuing along their content journey; or interacting in a way that turns your customers into your marketers (what Google term “Hero” content), this journey needs to be established from the outset. Content needs to be planned thoroughly and keep up with audience expectations of interactivity and engagement. Don’t just bombard your audience for the sake of KPIs.
What’s more, content needs to be targeted. For larger businesses, whose content is produced at a global level, there are challenges ensuring that the content remains relevant for the local market. Recognising and identifying your audience and tailoring both the platforms used and the content itself accordingly is essential for success. There was unanimous agreement around the table that content is pointless if it’s not pertinent to your market.
When it comes to understanding your audience, a lot can be learned from insight and analytics. Insight is a key driver when it comes to product development so why not implement the same knowledge into content strategy? A greater level of conversation between analytics and those creating the content will mean data driven content with greater depth of quality and smarter choices when choosing platforms.
The session highlighted that there are challenges faced by all when it comes to content marketing, whether it be across B2B or Consumer facing industries. Evidently, there is a complexity of craft involved in content creation and execution and it is important not to underestimate these skills. Whether in-house or outsourced, the requirement for content specialists is on the rise. Content marketing needs to be a collaborative venture between client and agency; broader marketers and storytellers; analytics & content creators. With formalised strategies in place and a sound understanding of the relevant market, businesses will better positioned to keep up with the constantly evolving landscape.