Content led marketing is a format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing with the customer, in regards to brands and or companies. A service experience of learning more about the brand or company through content articles.
90% of consumers find content useful according to a survey done by TMG CustomMedia. 68% of consumers spend time reading content from a brand they are interested in.(The CMA) 20% of users' time is spent surfing the Internet on content-led websites.(The CMA)
Matt Petersen, CEO of the leading content marketing agency Mcmurry/TMG, offers commentary and tips on how to best utilize content marketing to connect in an essentially human and relevant way with the customer:
- Employing random acts of content. Without strategy, content performance becomes arbitrary. Good strategy identifies an audience, understands the context of their daily lives, and produces content that brings value to them across appropriate channels. And, of course, has measurement goals built in from the start. Strategy means your content is playing a role in accomplishing business objectives.
- Assuming that because it exists, content will be shared. Content is shared when it solves a problem, sheds light on an issue, or delights or challenges a person's thinking. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him tweet.
- Creating content ghost towns. Launch days are fun, there's excitement around creating something new and bringing it to the world. But smart content strategies take the long view. It's less about day 1 and more about every day after. If you can't commit to that or aren't committed to grinding it out, it's not going to work for you. And yes, it's a grind, but that is how you create content velocity.
- Skimping on resources. There's a terrible myth that content should be cheaper than traditional marketing - or worse, that social is free. Just because it is more cost effective doesn't mean there's effectively no cost. Getting it done right means investing in the right people, holding the line on quality, and executing professionally. That's how you get return on content and how you potentially turn your content marketing into a profit center.
- Faking it. Brands put a thin veil on marketing messages and try to pass it off as content. People are too smart for that and will 1) sniff it out and ignore it and 2) potentially be insulted. Neither of those options help your business, obviously. Be authentic and true to your brand.
- Trying to be a thought leader. There's a lot of emphasis on declaring you are a thought leader in a space. That's a title that is earned, not claimed. Focus on being helpful, solving problems for your customers, and the reputation of thought leader will come. (PS, your customers probably think the label "thought leader" is corporate and marketing speak.)
- Ignoring the logic of influence. People don't typically load up brand websites on their own or seek out brand messaging. But they do Google things and check email and spin through social feeds on their phones. Your content strategy should act accordingly. Start strategy development around understanding the daily habits of your audience and create content that positions your brand as the broker of truth, trust and helpfulness.
- Set it and forget it. Strategy can't be static, it must be infinitely optimized. Too many brands get stale in the stream because they don't adapt to the changing cultural context of their audience. Investing in active listening, participation and data analysis on your community will allow you to hone your strategy as you go.
- Ignoring all-time in favor of real-time. There's value to both, but in the era of cookie brands tweeting during the Super Bowl, it's easy to get caught up in the hype of real time marketing (that's where big moments happen and it's fun). There's power and value in creating content of other types and across channels - evergreen resources that customers use time and time again. The key is a strong balance of real-time, timely, and all-time content.
- Confusing analytics with business intelligence. Marketing dashboards are littered with KPIs that don't move the needle on actions of economic value. And marketers have reams of data but very little insight. Having people who can make sense of data, interpret it, and create next steps of how to respond from what is learned in the data are the people you want on your team. Set up the appropriate measurement mechanisms as part of your strategy development and center all subsequent activity around moving the needle associated with actual business results.
- Also, have fun. Fun is contagious within your company and within your audience. Fun is what motivates your staff to work on Sundays because it doesn't feel like work. Fun is what delights your audience and turns them into evangelists. If you aren't having fun you won't keep the right talent and without the right talent your strategy is dead on arrival.
'Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.' -Kevin Stirtz
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