There were many marketing trends in 2014, but the most important and underappreciated was content marketing. More advertisers now realize that the 30-second TV commercial or short-page ad have no meaning on the Internet. As a result, the idea of communicating a brand or product message in a longer form, free of the constraints of the past, has gained traction. As a result, more marketers are beginning to think about how they can tell their story on the Internet and what platform is best for them.
The good side of this trend is that marketers are experimenting and finding new markets for products. The bad side is that there are no best practices in place, leading to a lot of waste and uncertainty.
When it comes to content marketing, there are three major concerns many still have not figured out.
The first has to do with distribution channels. Marketers can choose from a plethora of social media, video, long-form text, short-form text, search and visual channels for communication. Which is best for the message? Which already has an engaged audience eager to listen to your brand’s story? These are not easy questions to answer, and many marketers have struggled to decide which platform to focus on. Often, marketers will dilute their approach and try to reach an audience on several channels at once. This diluted message and fragmented approach leads to dissatisfying results across the board.
Secondly, many content marketers struggle with actually making content. Do they know what story they need to tell and how to tell it? Can they get enough decision makers on board and then find the talent to translate that story into something that will appeal to the target audience? Will the story do a good job of both attracting attention and introducing potential buyers to the product? Even if the right type of content is obvious to a marketer, if he or she fails to make that case to executive decision makers, the content marketing campaign will fail. And the marketer will take the blame.
Finally, there is the workflow issue. If the talent, strategy and platform have all been decided, you still need to make all of the parts work. How do you get content flowing — do you need to use a custom CMS? Does someone insist on unnecessary bloat in the process, such as documenting every step in outdated software? Not everyone knows that it isn’t 1997 anymore, but getting everyone in a project to change their workflow to what is most efficient isn’t easy. At the same time, many marketers will want checklists or other protocols to ensure that the content is on point. How can these be integrated into a content production program without frustrating and alienating your top talent?
These are difficult problems, and for many content marketers they remain unanswered. Especially in the lead generation world, many are not used to the higher funnel, soft sell marketing world where content marketing is most effective. A frank analysis of what is and isn’t working is needed before more ineffective bloat poisons your marketing efforts.
These problems are the focus of a session at this year’s LeadsCon. In “8 Steps to Creating Content Your Market Will Find & Love,” speakers will discuss how a content strategy can be cultivated and improved upon while keeping an eye on the best types of content for your target audience and how the four types of content that are used can translate into sales with minimal frictions.
Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures, will lead the discussion Wednesday morning, March 4, at LeadsCon in Las Vegas. Vertical Measures is a world-leading content marketing agency with expertise in how content integrates with search, social media and link building.
Click here to register for LeadsCon Las Vegas 2015.