Though technology advancements have made the creation and distribution of content easier, marketers still struggle with producing engaging, effective content.
That’s because companies now must not only vie with their competitors for attention to such content, but also stand out among all the other types of content their prospects could be interested in that’s out in the market.
Now more than ever, organizations need to implement a business strategy for their content marketing to ensure they can sustain it as a profit center, rather than just operate it as a cost center.
That was the topic of the keynote speech at Aprimo Sync! 2018 in Chicago given by Robert Rose, founder and chief strategy officer of The Content Advisory. Rose presented “Return on Audience, Rebooting Content Marketing and Customer Experience in a Post-Digital World,” and told attendees that strategic content marketing can help improve customer experiences—and ultimately lead to increased revenue.
A successful content strategy, he said, provides a cumulative value to consumers as they go through the various stages of the buyer’s journey. As a result, marketers must de-silo the relationships prospects have with their organization at all levels of the sales funnel so they can work more collaboratively to provide relevant, engaging content throughout each of those stages.
Create experiences that build audiences
Content marketing can be a profit center if marketers invest in creating experiences that build audiences, Rose said. To do so, they should seek to better understand their audience needs and wants so they can develop the types of content that resonate and stop pushing out those that don’t.
They will only build an audience when they create experiences that demands an audience, he said.
“Marketers need to be the source of interesting things,” he said. “They need to teach customers how to do more.”
Delivering such experiences that deliver value and trust throughout the buyer’s journey will translate to wins, whether that’s in the form of more sales, better and faster leads, successful SEO, or increased loyalty, he added.
Organize experiences like a product
Content, like many products, can grow in value over time. Marketers must keep this in mind as they organize their strategies to help content marketing become a profit center in their organization.
They should seek to provide content with an increasing value as their prospects go through their journey, Rose said. For example, during the early stages of the journey, they should distribute content that resonates with common problems or goals their prospects are facing. Then during the middle stages of the journey, marketers should provide content that teaches them how to solve such problems or achieve the goals.
It’s here where marketers can then deliver a desired exposure to their brand philosophy or ways of thinking through their content. But they also should ensure they create differentiating experiences that bring value to their products—as well as their customers.
Manage content that supports your merchandising strategy
A successful content strategy, however, also incorporates and supports an organization’s enterprise-wide goals and strategies, Rose said. So, organizations should not only seek to distribute content that resonates with their prospects, but also with all their various departments.
For example, they should create content that enables marketing staff to better optimize their customer and prospect database. Successful, repeatable, and repurposed content can show who’s looking at what content, where they are in their buyer’s journey, and what they might want to see next.
A successful content strategy also can make sales staff more valuable. Educating this department about existing and future content can help reps provide more value to customers and leads—and ultimately achieve more sales.
Measure and evolve
Content marketing can only be a successful, sustainable profit center if organizations are able to measure and evolve it.
When marketers collaborate using various solutions and approaches to run tests on how well their content is performing, they can view and achieve the real results of their strategies. Such measurement can show them what their audiences are doing versus what they thought they would be doing.
For example, how well is each piece of content turning leads into customers or actually resonating with those leads?
Once they’ve measured such benchmarks, marketers then need to be able to evolve their strategies and plan, define, create, map, build, and operate new or revised content based on those results.
“The quiet work is where the innovation begins,” Rose said.