Brands are expecting an end-to-end content strategy
The year 2017 was an exciting year for Content Specialists. Brands want to be publishers now and create their publishing platforms. They leverage digital channels on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter (among others). The world’s largest marketing companies (Google and Facebook) deny they are publishers because they say they do not own any of the content. They just provide the platform for users to publish their content. In that sense, anyone can now be a publisher (on social channels) and break the news ahead of traditional media. Marketers have now accepted that the way to a consumer’s heart is through engaging and inspirational content. But what is Content Marketing going to be like in 2018?
After numerous discussions with prospects and existing customers in India this year, I see that brands expect a few things from content marketing and content specialists. I am listing the most common expectations in this post.
More audience visibility: When brands are targeting a niche audience, they want to be very clear about who the audience is — at the top of the funnel itself. One client wanted to know what method or tool we use to identify and engage that niche audience — and that too at a stage where we just capture leads. That means you need to do very accurate audience segmentation and targeting.
How do you monitor and measure audience engagement? Almost everyone we pitched to asked how we measure audience engagement. Monitoring goes beyond Google Analytics, unique page views, open rates, CTR, CPM (impressions) and traditional ways of measuring engagement. The discussion is veering from quantitative to qualitative. Customers ask: Who are the people viewing our posts? How are they reacting? What are they saying about my products?
Can you slice and dice it? The days of writing one piece of content are behind us. Writing and publishing a single whitepaper or blog post and publishing it on some website, is not going to get you the results you expect — even if it is a brilliant piece of writing. You need to slice and dice the content — break it up into short-form and long-form content. Apart from the 24-page whitepaper that you prepare, you also need to create videos on YouTube talking about the whitepaper or blog, and telling viewers what they would learn if they were to read it — and where. Use Twitter flash cards, infographics, blog posts and other forms of content to promote your content. Internally, we call this technique ‘Slicing of the Turkey’.
Content Marketing has to be an end-to-end process: Some customers also asked if we could help distribute the content — on publishing platforms that favour their TG. Forge commercial arrangements with established publishers as well as with platforms such as Columbia and Taboola. You could also use article promotion and social bookmarking sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon.
Integrated workflows: Finally, offer complete transparency to what you are doing. Have a workflow system with logins for your customers and all those involved in the campaign. The workflow system would have the content brief, the pieces of content (with versions), timelines, status; submission, distribution/publishing details. Even RO, invoicing and billing details. I think of it as a kind of ERP for content.
These are the five things that will be more prominent among content marketers in 2018. I hope you are preparing your systems and teams to address this.
I’m signing off here by wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!