The challenge for marketing teams continues to be how to get smarter, more targeted content into market faster, and make it work harder.
We see content being created at exponential rates, but with a recent Brightedge study showing that 71% of marketers believe that less than half the content they put out is being consumed, it’s time for marketers to take a step back and consider their tactics.
Image source: searchenginewatch.com
So we spoke to our clients, studied the industry and unpacked the latest research, to uncover the strategies top marketers are using to make their content work harder, set themselves apart and ensure their messages cut through the noise.
- Posted, but not forgotten
Content marketing isn’t a set and forget process. Quite the opposite; once released into the public domain, a piece of content should be considered a discussion starter, an invitation for two-way interaction and a constantly evolving conversation. To stay ahead of the curve, top marketers understand the need to effectively respond and adapt quickly, as customers react to their content.
Social media is a key player and an important ROI tool, which, by its nature forces brands to be adaptive and anticipate the needs and wants of their customers. If they spot a conversation or trending topic, they need to be agile to react immediately, by having content at-hand and tweaking campaigns based on results in real time.
Getting the right piece of content, on the right platform at the right time, leads to higher engagement and with content on social often a momentary flicker on the screen – a high ROI becomes imperative to justify the cost to produce it.
So to make content marketing work harder, accessibility and speed is key. We’re seeing smart markers consider adequate management of their brand assets as a cornerstone of their marketing tech – think Marketing Automation (MAP) to manage outreach and attract interest, Content Management (CMS) to oversee web experiences and conversion, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to support customer interaction and Brand Asset Management (BAM) as the beating heart of the organisation, that links it all together.
- SEO and Content marketing living happily ever after
In the bad old days, an SEO expert would cross over only with the content marketer to discuss keywords and communication channels. The science of SEO comes from a functional standpoint, analysing figures, trends and data. While the creative mind of the content writer, who considers their craft an art, is reluctant to bow to the google-gods.
But the tides have turned, and as the search engine algorithms become more sophisticated, keyword density and backlink overkill are now an SEO faux-pas – meaning the content writer and the SEO manager can make content can work harder, if they work together. And that’s an approach we’re starting to see smart brands take.
So how do you marry pleasing a computer algorithm (SEO) with producing valuable, insightful and relevant content for an audience of humans? The good news is that machine learning has made the algorithms much more sophisticated, meaning they are looking at a range of insights to determine whether a website’s content is worthwhile to the reader.
And to make SEO happy, content marketing can think multi-channel; posting a blog on your website, sending as an e-newsletter, repurposing as a facebook post and animating into a video on Youtube means more links, views, clicks and shares – and this is Google gold.
Creating content that answers your audience’s needs and pain points, is trending across cyberspace, or topical at the time will always increase searchability and in turn SEO, and as SEO AI becomes more human, the lines will become more and more blurred.
- Repurpose, reuse and recycle
Marketers don’t need to reinvent the wheel for each communication channel they utilise, making content work harder means knowing what works on each platform and repurposing and reworking their content to suit the platform and audience.
Content marketing started as the written word and as the world turned digital imagery, infographics and video quickly rose to favour. But we often forget about the channel that came inbetween – radio. In fact, the first radio programme that could be defined as ‘content marketing’ came from Sears in 1923, and although it was buried for a while under moving pictures, we have seen a return to popularity of audible content through Podcasts.
As long as it’s adding value and not simply creating more noise, audible content can become a powerful cornerstone of your strategy and make existing and new content work a whole lot harder. Here’s why.
Storytelling has been a buzzword across marketing circles for a while now. If you can effectively portray your brand’s story, it’s more likely to resonate and be remembered. But there is another element to storytelling and the clue is in the word – ‘telling’.
It’s widely believed that humans were able to rise to the top of the food chain and dominate Planet Earth due to their ability to share stories (or gossip). This helped form strong social connections, deeper context around life events and pass important survival skills and lessons down through generations. As an innate part of our psychology, humans like to talk to each other – and that’s why audible content can work harder than through other mediums.
Copyblogger discusses ways to maximise the value of your audible content, and of course don’t forget to reuse, recycle and repurpose into their areas of the content marketing mix.
- Content v’s ‘Intelligent’ content
For the past few years marketers have been contracting their efforts on delivering content, this we know. It’s also no surprise that technology has aided the production of this content, making sure it’s targeted, relevant and shared.
Intelligent content takes this a step further; ensuring that what marketers deliver is structured, adaptable and scalable. In this way, intelligent content is a component of content marketing.
Let’s delve deeper.
Content is being produced exponentially and needs to be adaptable for the myriad of platforms consumers interact with each day, so the old way of producing content is no longer efficient.
Instead, marketers should be considering an intelligent approach to every piece of content they produce, that way it can be adapted and scaled for other digital experiences and, importantly discoverable and reusable in order to unlock its value.
In order to do this, according to CMSwire, content should be designed to be modular and format-free for omnichannel delivery and richly tagged for retrieval and reusability. There are various elements, but for the purposes of simplicity, we’ll explore one – intelligent content loves metadata tags. A lot. Planning your metadata strategy is just as important as planning the content itself.
CMI’s Chief Strategy Officer, Robert Rose suggests starting off intelligent content implementation by employing intuitive data asset, or creative content management. This technology that helps build the intelligence behind the intelligence through facial recognition, scene recognition and sophisticated AI, so every piece of content produced, from imagery to video to documents can be located and reused.
So creating and managing content in conjunction with AI is the key to working your content harder and infinitely more intelligent.