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The Operational Acumen Of Content Marketing

7 December 2012
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Brands today need to start thinking, acting and operating like media companies.  And it’s not like we can wake up one morning and hit the “media company” button and change operations overnight. It requires a change in attitude, behavior, thinking coupled with processes and governance models; as well as technology that can facilitate the transformation.

The term content marketing has been gaining a lot of attention over the last few years and rightfully so.  Content is the lifeline in today’s social eco-system so it makes sense. But content is so much more than SEO, creating “i hate this word” viral videos or being creative in the content that’s being created.  It’s more than what you write on a blog, tweet, update on Facebook or record on a video. There is fundamental challenge for businesses (large and small) today to not only create good content but to strategically feed the content engine day in and day out. Unfortunately  there just aren’t enough resources within the marketing department or small business to do this well. This is why brand managers and marketers must start thinking and acting more like media companies. And the question you may have is “why”? Here are few reasons:

  • We live in a multi-screen economy. Read this report by Google. We are all consuming content using multiple devices, sometimes simultaneously all the time.
  • ADD (meaning Attention Deficit Disorder) is common among us. We can blame the multitude of devices, all the marketing messages, coffee or a combination of all three.  How many times have you walked into a restaurant and have seen 4 people sitting at a table all looking down at their devices and no one talking? It’s the world we live in.
  • All we want is relevance.  This is one reason why consumers create filters – so they only consume content that is relevant to them at a given time.  It reminds me of when I was in the market to refinance my home a few years back. During the process, I remember seeing hundreds of messages and advertisements discussing interest rates on billboards, online, search and even conversations on Twitter and Facebook. The minute I refinanced my home, all the messages went away. Truth is, they didn’t really go away. They just weren’t relevant to me any longer. I put up filters.
  • The customer journey is dynamic. We check text messages, Facebook notifications, @replies@mentions@direct messages, comments on Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, WordPress. We see status updates, tweets, photos, videos and we read articles from news aggregators, RSS feeds and Google is our home page for everything and our gateway for finding relevance.  And this is all done dynamically, no routine, no process, just random acts of content consumption each and every day.
  • We need to interact with a message 3 – 5 times before we believe it.  So if your company is launching a new product or service, we need to hear or read about it in multiple touchpoints such as a tweet, a news article, a friend’s status update, in search and the list goes on.

Can you now see why brands need to evolve their thinking? Relevant, meaningful, timely and a lot of content is necessary to reach consumers. And, to make matters worse … content is challenging for brands today when you consider the following:

  • Content planning – assigning roles, responsibilities of internal teams, processes
  • Content creation, curation, aggregation – defining the content narrative and curation strategy
  • Content integration – paid, earned and owned media content integration (s0me call it converged media)
  • Content distribution – technology, day parting, real-time analytics
  • Content Optimization – real time optimization and paid media amplification of social content
  • Content measurement – assigning KPIs of all content marketing globally

If you look at what many companies are doing online today, you will notice disjointed content, confusing messages, very little coordination with paid, earned and owned media; the frequency of content is minimal and the content engine is running low on fumes. And these are just the external things that we see. We don’t see the turmoil of what’s happening inside the organization. Back in August, I wrote how brands should think about “Operationalizing Their Content Marketing Strategy” and the core message of the post was how social business planning can help facilitate the transformation from brand to media company.  Establishing a centralized team, assigning roles & responsibilities (like that of a newsroom) and building processes and protocols that brands (large and small) can take to begin this transformation.

You can learn more about content marketing by reading my social business blog or following me on Twitter.

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