If you’re a marketer, you know that content is one of the most straightforward ways to provide value to your customer base.
Content marketing, while still a relatively new buzzword, is also timeless. Companies have been creating educational resources to engage their audiences for hundreds of years—and they’re not showing signs of slowing down.
The beauty of content is that no matter how established or timeless the concept becomes as a marketing channel, there’s always an opportunity to explore new terrain.
With that in mind, here are eight fresh ideas about content marketing from top analysts in the B2B marketing space.
1. Process Is at the Heart of a Successful Strategy
You know great content when you see it. But what you often don’t see are the steps taken to create it, from ideation to completion. Behind every successful content marketing program is a process that empowers multiple team members, from editors to visual designers. Each person plays a role at different stages of the content marketing process. By having these responsibilities outlined up front, you’ll create a more effective, efficient, and scalable machine. (Forrester)
2. It’s All about People
At the end of the day, content marketing is a mechanism that helps brands build relationships at scale. When you’re creating a machine for lead generation, conversion, and distribution, remember that empathy needs to be at the heart of your strategy. When you succeed in delivering a strong value proposition and compelling people to take action, everything else in the machine becomes more efficient. (Gartner)
3. Changes Take Time
If you’re building a new content program, you may feel nervous about the ground you need to cover. If you already have a thriving content program, you may think there is very little room to grow. The reality, however, is that content marketing is a strategy that builds on itself and takes time to flourish. Success is incremental—it doesn’t happen overnight—which means there’s always room to learn and grow. (SiriusDecisions)
4. It’s Cheaper to Create Content In-House
Many organizations think they’re saving money by creating content internally, and that team-generated content is somehow free. This perspective is wrong for two reasons: 1) this approach to content creation presents an opportunity cost for already busy team members, and 2) employees who are already paid aren’t producing “free” work: content is an investment. The push for “cheap” creates a race to the bottom. With content being an appreciating asset, it’s important that organizations nurture and invest in every content creation opportunity. Optimize quality. (SiriusDecisions)
5. You Can’t Forget Your Value Proposition
A recent study points out that B2B marketers are struggling to derive value from content. One of the biggest challenges they’re facing is connecting the resources they’re developing back to their businesses—which brings up an important point. Every asset you create needs to, in some way, tie back to your business’s core value proposition. It doesn’t matter how many visitors or leads you bring in. What’s key is that you’re leaving an impact with the right people in a space where your business is making its name. (Forrester)
6. Build Systems
You can’t just take another company’s content strategy and make it your own. You need to build a framework that’s unique to the needs of your particular organization. The Altimeter Group explains that over the next several years, marketers will start to build “content stacks” to consolidate the multiple content marketing use cases within organizations. (Altimeter Group)
7. Measurement Drives Success
The most successful content marketers are able to measure their results. The challenge, however, is that measurement is hard and expensive: few marketers have the tools they need to know whether content is working, let alone yielding an ROI. As with every other aspect of your content strategy, your organization will need an analytics approach unique to your organization—not just what your industry tells you is best. The most important point of value that measurement brings is the opportunity to learn and evolve as a team, and as a company. (Gartner & SAP)
8. Overcome Bottlenecks
Content marketing today is similar to social media a decade ago, when organizations did little more than hire a single social media strategist. Over time, marketing teams have learned that content, as a discipline, requires many layers of investment to succeed. As one Gartner article points out, organizations should look to the newsroom model to ensure that teams are laser-focused on specific roles and responsibilities. This “divide and conquer” approach yields optimal success. (Gartner)
Content marketing as a marketing discipline is still an early opportunity, but the space is starting to mature. Measurement and process—systems that empower team members and freelance content creators to perform at their best—will be central to your future strategy.