No, we’re not intentionally inundating you with New-Years themed posts. But hey, 2014 is coming. And there’s a lot to look out for.
Earlier today, Curata’s CMO, Michael Gerard, hosted a webinar on the content marketing tactics we should all utilize more—or start using if we haven’t done so already. To determine the up and coming tactics, Gerard and his team at Curata surveyed over 500 marketers (which included some of the biggest thought leaders and experts in content marketing) to determine their current and desired content marketing practices.
Basically, the data revealed that it’s a “content marketing jungle” out there. But don’t fret, there are some ways in which you can boost your organization to stand out above the rest.
While some tips didn’t come as a surprise, such as the importance of getting a content marketing leader (e.g. Director of Content Marketing) and a quality team of full-time employees who are dedicated to the job, Gerard offered a thorough and insightful forecast for 2014.
Here are some highlights:
Develop Content Workflow
To improve the content development process, Gerard emphasizes the importance of mapping out your content workflow. So what does this look like? Well, it’s all about determining ahead of time what content needs to be completed in the future, as well as what format it should be in and how it will be distributed and analyzed. A great way to start planning and organizing your content is to create an editorial calendar, which you can easily create with the help of good ol’ Excel. When it comes to getting a content marketing strategy up and running, this is tantamount to seeing that it runs smoothly and effectively.
And if you’re not sure what type of content to use, Gerard also recommends using Curata’s Content Pyramid as a model. At the top of the pyramid you’ll find the deep, thought-provoking items that require a significant amount of research, such as an e-book. These items are to be created and distributed maybe once or twice a quarter. And as you go down the pyramid, you’ll find lighter items that should be released much more frequently. These include infographics, PowerPoint presentations, blog posts, and eventually social media. By putting these things into perspective, you can better plan out your content marketing tactics.
Differentiate Yourself and Curate More
Gerard also mentioned how there’s an overabundance of content, which has created a particularly new challenge. Not only are marketers creating an excessive amount of content (and struggling to do so), but they’re also having a hard time engaging with their customers. And this effect is felt on both sides of the customer creation funnel. Consumers (whether B2B or B2C) are also having trouble absorbing all of the content that’s being designed for them. Which is kinda the opposite of what we want to happen.
So how can you make your organization stand out and actually get noticed? Make your brand stand out with different types of content: created, curated, and syndicated.
For the purpose of the webinar, Gerard defined each as:
Original content authored on behalf of your organization (internally or externally sourced).
Portions of 3rd party content published on your digital property that has been contextualized (e.g. annotated, commentary added) for your audience.
Third party content published in full form on your digital property that has already been published on another site (paid or unpaid model).
Although creating your own unique content is the most commonly used, Gerard emphasizes the need to embrace all three.
To avoid going from one extreme of creating content exclusively in your own voice (neglecting the fact that your very consumers like to get content from a variety of sources) to the extreme of simply re-tweeting or linking to a story that’s already been written, we need to find a happy medium. And in the content marketing world, that happy medium is content curation. To be an “enlightened marketer,” you need to realize that the future of content marketing has a blend of both curated and created content.
Producing more curated content also encourages you stay up-to-date on the most relevant trends in your industry. Or if you do that already, you can easily flip that research into an interesting blog post for your audience. By doing so, your consumers will look to you more as you bring them third-party sources they’d eventually find themselves. But by posting it yourself, you can add your own insight on the matter.
If you’re wondering how much is enough, Gerard recommends the following blend: 65 percent created content, 25 percent curated content, and 10 percent syndicated content.
Embrace New Technology
Maneuvering your way around all of the available technologies can be overwhelming. As you try your best to understand where you need to go as an organization, Gerard emphasized the need to be agile and creative. He also urged the need to determine what technologies you’ll need to make your company’s vision a reality. While Microsoft office (particularly Excel and Word), free tools, and vendor software seem to be the most commonly used, identify which tools work for your team and which ones don’t. Not too difficult, right? If anything, you’ll become that much more well-versed in the field, and people will actually trust that you know what you’re doing. Embracing technology also allows your team to have a more efficient content marketing process, which will hopefully propel your goal of engaging with the consumer.
And at the end of each and every year, that will always be the goal. So get to it!