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.