For those who have browsed my website in any detail, you would have seen that I am a big advocate of Content Marketing and I preach this same mantra to my clients, colleagues and business owner friends. I’m also a big fan of research. When I was working in the corporate sector and had big budgets I loved to commission research – to guide our strategy, then to support that our strategy was still correct, and always to test our digital assets with the web audience to make sure we were meeting their needs. Research is expensive and it can provide a competitive edge, so I understand why it may not be released to the public, but I do get very annoyed when research is released to the public but at an onerous cost, such as eConsultancy’s report on Content Marketing.
Now that I’ve had my little impromptu rant about paying stupid money for research and survey data, I will now continue my intended rant about the lack of priority given to Content Marketing in general. The way I see it, Content Marketing is like the framework to your website or digital strategy. If you build your digital strategy around content, then you have a framework that can support a plethora of your digital marketing channels.
A focus on content marketing supports your website (obviously), that content can then be shaped to meet your search engine optimisation strategy (SEO) or sometimes your SEO strategy defines your content strategy, depending which digital marketing area requires the most attention to meet your short and long term business goals. Your website content can then be re-shaped, re-formatted and re-used to suit your email marketing and external communications strategy, which of course includes social media broadcast communications and campaigns. And that’s just content marketing in its simplest forms – text, video and images.
eConsultancy’s survey of over 1,300 marketers shows some contradictory results – a common case of what I say and what I do not actually aligning. Over 50% of marketers say that content marketing is one of the top 3 priorities for their business and will become even more important in the next 12 months BUT very few have a a content marketing strategy in place and only 34% have allocated budget to content. Some (46% of survey respondents have put a resource behind content marketing, but without any budget for them to actually create rich content such as infographics or video or audio or animated content, it doesn’t support their claim that content marketing is important (but I bet they have several people dedicated to TV and print marketing). 73% of marketers believe that brands are now publishers, but I’m not seeing much evidence of this rich content being distributed – it still seems to be a lot of TVC’s re-cut to use across digital channels. That’s not the same thing as content marketing.
Content Marketing is about putting value out into the world. There are so many examples of content producers who have become national or international sensations. I have written before about many video-blogs and YouTube series that have launched careers and provided much loved content for online users. Flight of the Concords kicked off their career by created a radio comedy series, that turned into a TV series that spawned exclusive YouTube video content and now their live shows and comedy are spread virally all around the world.
Kevin Smith created low budget indie films about Jay and Silent Bob that spawned a TV animated series Clerks: The Animated Series and then a series of comic book Silent Bob Speaks and themed stores. Kevin Smith also publishes a podcast, SModcast, which turned into a radio show. He writes an online blog My Boring-Ass life, of which there was a spin-off book of the same name. As you can see, if you’re prepared to invest in creating rich content that people like, it can turn into numerous business ventures.
There are many examples of journalists or bloggers turned booked authors or video bloggers turned TV presenters but they all have the same thing in common, they created something of value and put it out into the world for free in many cases.
Ok, so I think you get my point. Create a content marketing strategy and you can build your digital media and marketing strategy around it. It creates economies for your digital production budget and gives users a streamlined brand experience across any channel they may choose to engage with your brand through. Content Marketing is the way of the future, if only the people with the budgets would get more brave and stop being so risk averse and allow this creativity to spread through the digital world.
[Ill-composed Rant End]