Content marketing. Don’t you just love it? No? Then read on.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve got lots to say on this topic. Mainly:
How marketers need to *add* content marketing to their current efforts, not use it as a replacement of their current marketing channels in the face of budget cuts. Get real – content is *expensive*. Take a look at the go-to content marketing case studies often cited on the web. Notice a recurring theme? The majority are by huge brands with £multi-million content and distribution budgets. Granted, they all claim to have saved millions since calling what they do content marketing, but hey, these guys were spending *a lot* to begin with. Also, try replacing the phrase ‘content marketing’ in their case studies with the word ‘SEO’. Notice anything?
How we all mistakenly assume content marketing is something new when in fact we’ve all been doing it for a while – we just know it as something else eg SEO or PR
I say all this as someone who’s worked in both publishing and digital marketing since 1997. Content marketing is great. It means we all work. It means people are excited by online content, which is no bad thing. But please just be aware of the full picture before jumping in and betting the house on it.
Anyway, more on this later.
Broadly, there are four key elements you need to think about when it comes to content marketing:
Planning: audience needs and questions, buying cycle, answers to those buyers needs and questions
Content: production, format, sourcing and approval process, resourcing in terms of staff, support (internal staff / external agency help), related costs etc
Distribution: channels, paid, owned, earned, channel discovery and distribution process, resourcing and support (internal staff / external agency help), related costs etc
Measurement: as with most digital marketing channels, we need to measure lots of metrics and discover what they’re telling us
There are 000’s of ebooks, whitepapers and Slideshare decks on this topic and they all tackle the topic using variants of the four elements above. It’s essentially digital marketing (and all the paid media low cost tactics that go with that – if you’re smart) with a whole heap of content production thrown on top.
I’m hearing much debate about the future of weekly b2b trade mags of late. What’s the point of weekly print mags now, bloggers are saying, when all news worth reading now breaks on the web.
I’d venture this isn’t strictly the right course of action for all publishers of print weeklies. There’s still a place for weekly print mags even if websites are beating them to the news – but primarily in areas of high activity and news output.
In a world of ever increasing information ‘noise’, I think more weekly magazines should consolidate and summarise the week’s mass of web news and blog output, and leave the breaking news for their sister websites. Mags like Media Week and PR Week have started doing this – and really well.
In other words, weekly print mags can still exist, but their content focus should change. Granted this will only work in areas of high volume news output where mags actually provide a valuable service in de-cluttering our news intake and providing clarity in the increasing ‘noise’ of news output and sources. Until mobile phones begin to give as good a reading experience on the train / tube as paper, the print mag should continue to live on.
Well, peel me like a beetroot and pickle me in brine – a publisher has woken up to the value of developing long term relationships with blog post commenters.
Backed up by a dedicated strategy and senior member of staff, prime commenters are to be cultivated and paid (yes, paid) to not only write articles, but also take part in wider news production. Hello user centred design!
I’m also excited aboout this content strategy because it has a good chance of taking off, thanks to the calibre of the commenters they’re looking to work with – namely high profile CEOs and directors. Users will actively seek out their content. B2B publishers should take note, as should consumer media owners: citizen journalism doesn’t begin and end with the Guardian’s Comment is Free.
Read more about Business Week’s citizen journalism content strategy [via paidContent]
Another day, another blog post about the death of the corporate website as we know it. Not literally true, but there’s some good takeaway advice out there nonetheless. My two-penneth is that b2b sites should have included push/pull features long ago.