Ben Dickens, November 23, 2016
With 2017 just around the corner, we’ve been thinking about what’s in store for Content Marketing strategy? For us as a full service agency content marketing is the Ying to the campaign’s Yang. In any successful mix of activity they’re intrinsically linked. This week we’ll be highlighting where you should be looking for the year ahead and the areas you should be focussing.
Hot on the heals of Mark Ritson’s article in marketing week that questions the validity of content marketing, arguing that it’s simply an unecessary name to describe activity that generalist marketers should already be doing, we thought we would give our definition for clarity.
“Content marketing is a marketing strategy that leverages connected consumer behaviour. A sub-set of communications it emphasises the creation and distribution of content that meets consumer needs, building trust, to attract and retain customers.”
It’s simple really technology has empowered the consumer. This has made it harder to win and build consumer trust. Strategies that leverage this get more cut through.
If your objective is to sell more then a strategy that builds consumer trust and works to move consumers through the lifecycle, is a bit of a no brainer.
Strategy will be one of the key drivers in 2017, whether that is aligning content marketing strategy to a wider brand marketing strategy or as part of an integrated campaign, extending the lifecycle and its effectiveness. A concise strategy that can be easily articulated and understood and should be the cornerstone of good content marketing. A simple step is to start aligning content output to different stages in the customer journey.
Distribution and promotion should be factored in from the start. Much like all campaigns content needs to be seen by consumers to do what it is intended to do. Spending time creating content that meets consumer needs and then not putting it in front of those consumers is simply a waste of time and money. You wouldn’t build a campaign and then not promote it?
Quality over quantity will be driven by promotion. As brands wake up to the realisation that there’s huge noise online the focus will be on cut through. The shift will be when brands recognise that users’ needs trump those of search engines. When this happens the focus will be on quality content that excites and engages the consumer. This doesn’t mean there isn’t room for content that is SEO led, brands should be looking to structure their content around the customer journey; awareness, consideration and conversion.
Integration will be key in 2017. The ability to tell a connected story across numerous channels should be a key area of focus. The consumer is channel agnostic these days, our recent post on integrated marketing covers this in more depth (read more here). How you use content will influence how you extend the lifecycle of your integrated campaigns.
User generated content is and should be high on your agenda. Stories are best told when they are retold and sometimes your consumer has a better story than your brand. We’ve seen this happen on a small scale and brands like Coca Cola have implemented this effectively on a large scale.
Here’s a case study for a DVO content marketing project we undertook for a private bank. Click to read.
If you are trapped in a tactical silo and want to get more strategic with content marketing to achieve real results we can help. We’ve got some simple techniques we can use to get you on the right path and get your content working harder. Contact us, or give us a call, 020 3771 2641.
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