Content marketing is now a core discipline of marketing teams across the globe. But is your team really listening to what people want? OLIVER Content Marketing Manager, Carina Jeppesen, sheds light on how your brand can approach agile content marketing strategies.
In the last decade, content marketing has really secured its place as a core discipline in marketing. If you don’t have a fully operational content team behind your brand, you’re behind the times.
A study done by Smart Insights reveals that 29.6% of B2C marketers believe content marketing to be a commercially important digital marketing trend for 2015. These marketers’ content goals included lead nurturing and sales, but their teams had an even higher focus on building customer loyalty and brand awareness.
Interestingly however, as much as content marketing has been claimed an important part of a digital marketing strategy, according to Forbes, Fortune 500 brands were not succeeding in this area. The brands were doing content right in 2014 were mainly small, fast-growing businesses, that could focus on listening to what consumers really wanted and rapidly respond to their needs.
Content consumption has increased
The way people now hunt for, and consume information has fundamentally altered the way that they interact with brands. Consumers grow to form loyal relationships with those information sources they trust and respect.
Consumers are hungry to develop their knowledge and do form loyal relationships with those information sources that they grow to trust and respect. Research shows that millennials now consume an average of 18 hours of media a day, across different devices.
This change in behaviour is also highly recognised by Google – the importance of content marketing for search engine rankings is something that is constantly re-enforced by Google’s changing algorithms.
For brands, this means there are significant opportunities to engage with consumers by stimulating interest in something that adds value for them. Your brand should aim to become a respectable and trusted source.
Put your audience centre stage
The two top issues that many brands have with content are that they either don’t know where to find content or they push too much irrelevant content out at their audience. This comes across as brand-centric rather than consumer-centric.
In a world where consumers increasingly search for trust and constantly ignore messages in the cluttered advertising space, brands need to consider whether their content:
– Meets the consumption habits and needs of its audience
– Adopts the consumption rhythm and pace of its audience
– Positively influences the behaviours and decisions of its audience
It’s important to remember that any brand can embark on a content marketing journey. You just need to be adept at finding the internal and external stories that consumers (and other stakeholders) want to read.
Building a content marketing strategy in practice
Listening, understanding, empathising and building mutually valuable relationships are the core principles that underpin content marketing. However, a number of practical steps can be taken to develop a strategy that will produce effective content.
– Listen to and understand your target market.
– Analyse your data
– Identify gaps and opportunities in your content matrix
– Identify how you can creatively target your audience’s needs
– Understand and make use of distribution networks, especially social channels
– Recommend biddable media strategies
– Define goals and strategy in tandem with key stakeholders
– Involve teams across the organisation – gathering stories and content is an organisation-wide project
– Join up with technical and content-led SEO, PPC, sales and marketing campaigns
– Deliver fast. Write some content, see how it does, write some more
– Test, listen and learn – try different approaches, use A/B and MVT to determine what works best
– Be open and adaptable – fit with existing structure and process
– Measure, refine, and repeat. Spot patterns and provide insight
– Reuse existing content as much as possible. Tailor, package, edit and transcreate
Keeping an eye on your audience constantly is a large, sometimes overwhelming task. So many of the activities behind successful content marketing centre on understanding consumer needs and aligning these to business objectives. But it can certainly be done, especially with the help of a dedicated agency that can really be responsive.
See how OLIVER are helping the Post Office become more agile in their approach to content marketing.