Is There Purpose to Your Content?

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Last year, I had the honor of being quoted in an article for Counselor magazine by Betsy Cummings titled, “Cracking the Content Code.”  Included alongside other marketing and communications industry thought leaders, I share insight on content marketing as it relates to an effective brand strategy and ultimately as a revenue driver.

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Content marketing is currently one of the go-to initiatives for effectively promoting a brand because it is considered a value-add that offers customers and potential customers a little “more for the money.” According to the Content Marketing Institute, 95 percent of business-to-business marketers are ramping up their content marketing strategies this year. Resonating with the need for more information on this topic, Cummings’ article addresses why content marketing is so important and how we can logically capitalize on it.

I have written about strategic branded content here and here for example, and it’s good that the discussion in this article offers something new– one that focuses on content marketing. What exactly is it? A strategy that involves creating and distributing branded content for the purpose of engaging and enticing a clearly defined target audience. The ultimate goal? Driving actionable customer activity: engaging, discussing, buying, referring. Content marketing today is a significant part of a public relations and social media campaign. “Respondents to the Content Marketing Institute’s survey said they use anywhere from 11 to 18 tactics for content marketing, from podcasts to apps to annual reports and newsletters,” writes Cummings.

Cummings offers invaluable advice on “Making Clear Connections” and “Time & Effort,” and I was able to lend my experience on the latter:

“Content should be created at least every other week, if not weekly, says Lisa Tilt, president of Full Tilt Consulting, a branding, marketing and communications firm based in Atlanta. While it may seem like fulfilling that kind of task is daunting, remember that the key to good marketing is creating as many touch points with potential clients as possible. Another plus for the wide adoption of content marketing strategies: good content can be short and sweet, yet still have impact.

Content creators just need to make sure that whatever they Tweet, e-mail, post or say is in line with their overall marketing strategy and, more importantly, reflects their clients' interests. And while content marketing should never include a hard-core product pitch, it's OK to mention products periodically, perhaps “every third time” a piece is produced, Tilt says.”

Expanding on the ideas I shared, here are a couple more takeaways and best practices for an effective content marketing plan as it relates to time and effort for your brand:

    1. Never underestimate the value of a solid and explicit plan
    2. Less is often more

Creating and executing upon a content marketing plan is no small endeavor. But with an understanding of the big picture and what your company has to offer, and a plan in place for execution, content marketing can become an important level for advancing your brand equity.

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