Content marketing is a buzzword that seems to have taken over the world! There are two main reason for this. Firstly, the demise of traditional media: newspaper, book and magazine publishers, as well as radio and television, have seen their advertising revenues dwindle. Many have gone out of business or running for years in the red. Secondly, there has been a blurring between content producer and content consumer thanks to social media becoming part of mass culture. Following the wise saying “if you cannot beat them join them”, advertising and marketing agencies embraced the new content producer: the consumer. But although this paradigm shift was impressive when it happened, it is less so nowadays. Today we live in content deluge. There is so much content available that it clutters almost every interaction between businesses and their customers.
Content marketing has to be redefined in very specific terms if it is ever going to bring return on investment. What content is appropriate for which target publics? When should the organisation publish and engage? How can marketing executives prioritise actions in their strategy? A simple, but very powerful, model is the one shown in the graph.
I have put content right in the middle because this is where any content marketing campaign should begin. Content can be of three categories: own, curated and contributing. Own content encompasses a suite of formats such as webinars, white papers, presentations, videos, infographics, etc. that the organisation develops across its own channels in order to engage with their customers on the basis of the “4E Model” (“Educate”, “Engage”, “Excite”, “Evangelise”). Curated content is content produced by others which is relevant to the organisation and the organisation adopts it and re-publishes it in its communication channels. Contributing content is any contribution the organisation makes in other’s content; e.g. comments in influencers’ blogs. Together these three categories of content drive social engagement, create inbound links to the organisation’s website, and thus drive SEO.
Once the organisation has a good publication calendar in place, and social engagement and SEO have began to kick in, then it is the right time to expand in actions such as PR, Paid media, Offline (e.g. events) and Email campaigns.