Content Marketing – In Vogue

Online Content Strategy

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

Online content strategyTo 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

Online Content StrategyIt 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.

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Rethinking Your Email Marketing Strategy

There is no doubt about it – companies love the mass email marketing strategy.

But with inboxes fuller than ever and attention spans reducing at a rapid rate, how are you going to adapt your email strategy?

This article aims to get you thinking about how to re-engineer your email strategy and metrics to give your email marketing a new lease of life.

Rethinking performance metrics

Marketers are obsessed with campaign based metrics – opens / clicks and most of all revenue but what was the value lost from your recent email campaign?

ROI from email marketing is obviously the reason why so many businesses adopt the mass mail strategy, but what impact does this have on your subscriber base?

Email addresses did not magically appear on your database, building a relationship and trust with customers is a difficult process and a costly one – so preservation of an organisations most valuable asset (its database) is integral. Mass email marketing is more costly than organisations give it credit for – thus it is important to calculate the cost of database churn – particularly if it is those that have made several purchases and are of high value to your organisation.

Rethinking your content strategy

Untargeted promotional emails sent to the masses may capture a few prospect buyers by chance, but outside of this if your consumers are not in the decision set for purchasing your product your email has fallen on deaf ears.

According to a report by Exact Target in the US, marketers are looking to integrate social media into their email campaigns. So whether this be providing subscribers with the opportunity to share content or driving users to fan pages this will be one of the trends to emerge in the next 6 – 12 months in Australia.

However these techniques are ineffective if your content strategy is unengaging. Applying some of the principles of social media – such as delivering value through quality content rather than pushing marketing messages to consumers will be the platform of any successful integration between the techniques.

Email Marketing StrategyRethinking email intelligence

Email marketing has become such a quantitative science. Integrating email systems with analytics to discover end to end behaviour and to improve campaigns has been such a valuable source of intelligence BUT what can email learn from website development? There is so much value gained from the end consumer that email marketers are really only getting half the story. It may sound simple but build feedback mechanisms into your campaigns to give customers an open invitation to respond with content suggestions and requests and most importantly feedback on why people are unsubscribing.

Rethinking emails importance

With so many other new digital channels gaining the attention at present, email marketing is the unloved child. Your email strategy probably has and will continue to play an important role in achieving your marketing objectives so it’s probably time to rethink how you can take your email marketing to the next level.

Have you recently changed your email strategy for the better? If so why not share your tips here.

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