Surviving the content marketing jungle
One of the hottest trends in PR and marketing is the ‘pumped-up’ concept of content marketing. It’s the method of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and quality content to communicate with a clearly defined audience, basically with the objective of stimulating reaction, leads or enquiries.
Truth is, many PR, marketing and communications professionals have been content marketing since day one. The discipline of PR is much about creating stories and content to share with audiences. So there is nothing that new here, it has been hi-jacked and repositioned to the internet. Like most things ‘of the moment’ many people jump on the bandwagon for all the wrong reasons implementing ad-hoc marketing activities in an ill-conceived way because this is seen as the new ‘must do’ marketing theory. What this results in is a deluge of poor content from amateur content marketeers doing it for the sake of it.
The concept of content marketing isn’t wrong or flawed. Quite the contrary, it’s a powerful technique Freshfield has been implementing for many years and with great success it’s just become turbo charged due to the internet and all the possibilities that brings. With most marketing techniques or tactics you just need to question, is it the right thing to do for your stakeholders and the right way of engaging with them?
But there is also a benefit in lots of people rushing to exploit content marketing. It makes the people who’ve been doing it for a while up their game and be better than the rest of the new competition.
In the meantime here’s some tips to help you survive the content marketing jungle:
- Be understanding
This is about making sure you know what information your audiences consume the most and deliver it in the most successful method. For instance, if you know that your prospects are likely to respond more favourably to a well-produced, printed newsletter (which matches your brand values and themes) why try and push them to download a document from the internet or your website? This also works vice-versa.
- 2. Content is dead, long live content
Never before has this phrase been overworked and overused, but it is a golden rule. The only exception is the quality not quantity. Produce something that is of value to your audiences ranging from knowledge on a certain topic (such as this) to simple tips or advice.
- 3. I’m not selling anything but….
The whole ethos of content marketing is to provide people with useful, engaging and thought provoking information that encourages a reaction. We’re all savvy consumers now and blatant sales messages are an instant turn off.
- 4. Start making sense and focus
You don’t have to produce content that is on the same topic all the time as this would become repetitive and dull as ditch water. But whatever content you produce it has to have a rationale and an anchor theme which helps communicate your organisation’s key messages or purpose. For example, if your businesses serves a range of different sectors, you might wish to produce content that’s relevant and valuable to those sectors, but which also communicates your values.
- Get with the programme
Like most things in life and business – you’ll only succeed if you have a plan in place, but make it flexible. A constituent of effective marketing is being able to react quickly to changes in the business world. Also be smart – repurpose your content as many times that is required while making it relevant to the channel you are going to use. For example, you may have produced content for a printed newsletter. Can this be used on your website too, or even in the mainstream media?
- 6. Don’t feel the pressure
Don’t feel that you have to issue great swathes of content. Remember, quality is paramount. Too much and your target audiences will become ambivalent to your theme and messages.
- 7. Invest if you want a return
Ok, a good content marketing plan is going to require adequate resources but it also requires time and a great deal of thought and a strategy running behind it. However, you can achieve success on a smaller budget provided you have a well-orchestrated plan.