The fact that content marketing is here to stay is not news in particular to anyone. With enterprise content growing at an amazing 200% annually (p. 4), it is more important than ever to stop and evaluate how effective content marketing is, why we are doing it, and where it fits within the company as a whole.
Although companies are acknowledging the power of content, the management and measurement of it seem to leave many in the dust. “The research CMI conducted prior to the Executive Forum showed that while budgets for content marketing were becoming quite substantial, the processes were still mostly ‘being figured out’” (p. 9).
What has become clear is that change is happening rapidly. We will need to move just as rapidly to keep up with it. The key here is the warning at the opening of the review – content marketing needs the respect of a strategy. Mindless content creation is a dangerous dead weight both to a company’s time, and its brand as a whole.
We looked through the main highlighted points of the study, and pulled them together in a way that will help everyone wrap their heads around the whole concept a little better. We divided this into the greatest challenges and how they affect the whole process:
- A lack of process/standard operational model
- A failure of existing measurement tactics
- The need for integration of content marketing not just into the strategy, but into the culture of the company
- Need dedication to understanding the creation of content, not just management and distribution
Purpose: Understanding the purpose of content creation not only drives a stronger creation process (less mindless churning out of “filler” content) but shapes more effective operational models and measurements. “When looking at data integration and providing value, it’s important to develop a robust taxonomy and tagging structure for your content from the very beginning” (p. 6).
Quality: The first key is understanding that unless your content is providing real value to your customer – we’ll give you a hint: this doesn’t mean just listing product features – you are throwing away valuable time and money. Quality comes from addressing the needs of your clients. This is one of the key reasons we emphasize the need for the integration of content marketing within the company’s culture. The company is a hive of experts with valuable knowledge to share. Time and energy must be invested in communicating it. These are things employees and c-suite will only dedicate once they truly embrace the culture of content marketing, not just the requirements.
Integrity: Integrity is a word that gets thrown around quite a bit in our industry, but one of the best definitions we’ve read views integrity as a consistency of values. Uniting the need for a cultural embrace of content and the need for operational models, content marketing is not just the hook to the old fashioned sales funnel, but nurturing the life-cycle of client interaction. An important note here is consistency does not necessarily mean every area and every product needs dedicated content, so much as a strategy in how we apply it.
Measurement: Most importantly, results must be measured. This is difficult, as many of the executives interviewed noted. To read an interesting take on the problem with the measurement of content success, take a look at the proposed “attention web” plans that Forbes describes.
All these different view means there are a lot of change happening in the industry right now. We’re all looking forward to new challenges these changes will present. It’s certainly an exciting time to be working in marketing, but we’ll all need to be quick on our toes to prevent wasted hours and useless content. Stay interesting, stay informed, and be informative! All of this seem like a bit much to you? Give us a call!