PR agencies, media agencies, digital agencies and creative agencies of all shapes are sizes are queuing round the block to talk up their content capability. Us included.
Good content marketing spans a broad canvas – from the long form to the short form, from video to the written word, and from that which is meticulously planned out in advance, to that which is delivered in real time.
But all successful content (from a single tweet, to a product description, to a long-form video) drives the same consumer response – brand engagement, brand interaction and brand performance.
Given the above, client adoption of content marketing has been rapid. The Econsultancy Marketing Budgets 2014 survey showed that 74 per cent of brands expect to substantially increase their investment in this area.
However, in this gold rush to develop content, brands should be measured.
Great strategy and consumer-centric planning is crucial – what content does your brand have the right to own and will it steal the hearts and minds of your consumers? And as with all (digital) communications, continuous optimisation and the right analytics will drive performance and ROI.
With this mind, here are five tips for brands to ensure they get the best performance out of digital content marketing spend.
Invest in planning and strategy
Content is not just a simple matter of production, you need to know your audience and why you are producing the content in the first place. Make certain you have identified and fully understand your audience. Be aspirational and original in your strategy to cut through the noise and ensure that everyone producing content buys into these long-term plans.
Never has quality been so important
Initially, poor quality content flooded the net. Bad content does little to convert visitors, build engagement, stimulate ROI or stand out from the crowd. The key is to measure the performance of your content and invest enough to do it properly. Your brand should be proud of every piece of content that it publishes.
Embrace publishing practices
Consumers expect consistency and quality or they will turn off. This not only applies to quality, but also to editorial direction and understanding of your audience. Employ the experts – editors and directors who get "it" and can own quality control processes.
Content is integration
And it is most effective when it’s coordinated. Bring the producers and specialists working on your brand in at the start of campaigns. Challenge them to produce content that compliments the core ideas and objectives of their digital channel communications architecture. Develop shared content calendars, integrated working groups and understand how strong the halo effect can be for unified content campaigns.
Adopt a range of measurement
Once you agree an integrated approach to content production, the lines between performance and brand objectives can blur. It’s important to be rigorous when measuring content campaigns so your teams keep improving. Both search success and conversion rate improvements can be good indicators of success. But remember – most studies suggest that sustained content marketing delivers a positive ROI after several months, as the accumulative results become clear. Play the long game in content production and constantly seek out new and better ways of analysing the performance.
Ben Wood is global president of iProspect