In the past when brands were trusted it was enough for marketers to develop brand messages and channel these to market through tried and tested communication channels. Nowadays however consumer cynicism of brands and a lack of trust has meant that push marketing is becoming increasingly difficult. Thus in a world where concepts such as engagement and co-creation of brand experiences are key – content marketing is in vogue.
So what is content marketing?
Content marketing is not simply the creation of a perfectly written piece of copy about a brand or product. Rather content marketing is about providing consumers with valuable information/tools to help them solve problems and make decisions. The creation of content is obviously not a new concept however web 2.0 has created an explosion of new media channels, information, user generated content, etc. all of which are taking content marketing to another level entirely. Thus in this world the brands set to dominate will be those who become publishers and through content provide a truly compelling and engaging brand experience.
After spending the last 18 months building an effective content strategy I will cover the topic of content innovation and my 3 key guiding principles.
1. Content Source
To create truly compelling and engaging content, brands must push beyond the marketing department. Remember the web is already saturated with content thus organisations need to consider how they are going to develop content that is better than what is already on offer. Content innovation is all about identifying resources available that can be leveraged or re-packaged to provide something unique to the market.
Internally organisations have a plethora of resources and tools that can be exploited to innovate these include utilising internal industry experts, analysing market and product purchase trends, reviewing consumer intelligence and identifying insight from web analytics.
Usually however internal sources are not enough. Organisations must extend content creation beyond organisational boundaries to get a more well rounded view on key content themes. External sources can come through the development of strategic partnerships in related fields, forging relationships with leading industry experts and authorative figures in the social media space, leveraging channel partners and clients or through primary and secondary research.
2. Content Presentation
The second important consideration within the content innovation process is how content will be presented. Organisations may have interesting and compelling content however if it is not presented effectively it may not prove successful. Content presentation extends across several dimensions including;
• Content style and tone – A significant relationship exists between the way content is written or delivered and engagement
• Content Distribution Platforms – Web 2.0 is providing a plethora of new opportunities to distribute content or even re-package it in new ways for consumption.
• Content media formats – As consumers learn and engage in different ways providing content in various formats ie video and text can provide greater coverage.
Thus content marketers must not only rely on content sourcing but ensure key presentation elements are considered.
3. Content proposition
It is very easy to embark on a content strategy without defining the benefits consumers will derive from this strategy. By defining content propositions early on within the content innovation process, organisations have a set of guiding themes that will deliver value to content consumers. Why is this important? When creating content, particularly when starved for ideas, it is easy to develop content which is outside the remit of what consumers would expect from your organisation. Before developing a content proposition conduct the following research;
• Review competitor content and define gaps
• Analyse successful publishers outside of your industry to define factors for success
• Review social new sites / forums and blogs to identify popular topics/themes within your industry
• Engage with your end consumers to determine the type of content they would like to receive.
By understanding the landscape through effective research you will then be better placed to develop your propositions that will differentiate your content in the market.
Do you think there are any Australian brands that are doing content marketing particularly well? Why not share them below.