How we make sense of it all
We operate in an environment of proliferation.
Devices are proliferating, from the desktop to phones and tablets, to wearable tech and beyond. Distribution channels are evolving and growing just as rapidly. Facebook, itself only 10 years young, recently paid $18 billion for WhatsApp, dwarfing, for example, Google’s 2006 purchase of YouTube for $1.6 billion.
So how do Australian organisations plan for long-term content marketing success in such a volatile environment? Without wasting resources chasing the soon-to-be-obsolete 'next big thing'?
We must begin with content
Until we experience a radical revision of what it means to be human, we will continue to demand high quality content. At work and play, our devices and distribution channels will exist to serve this content.
A content-driven approach – a content strategy – means putting users first. It means aligning content creation with user needs and organisation goals. And it means delivering that content to the right user at the right time, via the right distribution channel, onto a device of their choosing.
And it means getting content marketing right at the beginning. Content scales – effortlessly. From five readers to five million, everything done right is magnified. So is everything done wrong.
Audit > Strategy > Execution > Evaluation
A rigorous process begins with the content audit.
Before you can make any strategic decisions about
your content marketing you need to look at what you already have. Some of your content might be great, some of it not so. When content is audited and analysed, put into a spreadsheet and graphed, it's remarkable what you learn about your strengths and weaknesses.
Post audit, the mix includes clarifying organisational goals, researching user needs, identifying keywords, creating editorial calendars (where content is organised by personas and stages of the buying cycle), content amplification via a mix of paid and social media, and then constant evaluation and refinement.
Traditional still works
There's more to content marketing than keywords and viral social content:
Public relations. The traditional media has been in the content creation game for a long time. These content creators do it better than most and if you can leverage them, via public relations, the reward is incredible ROI.
In this age of social media and digital content, a well-crafted media release – written in the right way, for the right media outlet, with the right timing – can generate much-needed stimulus to drive end users to your content.
Plain English editing and copywriting. Content should always be created 'for' a persona but the principles of Plain English writing are universal – clarity, brevity and engagement. Each sentence should compel the user to read the next, and the next, right to the end of your document.