Dos and don’ts of content marketing for brands
24 July 2012
Content marketing has become a universally recognised way to build brand awareness. In fact, in research conducted by Outbrain earlier this year, 100% of marketers said they now use content marketing, and 82% said they intend to increase their content marketing efforts in 2012.
With this in mind, how can marketers best develop their content strategies? Following a roundtable discussion with a number of content marketing thought-leaders and practitioners from industry sectors including beauty, telecoms and travel, I thought I would share some ‘dos’ and’ don’ts’ directly from the front-line:
Do build trust
Many content managers say that producing quality content is not an issue, but getting people to overcome their distrust for branded content is. To combat this, a content marketer for a global cosmetics brand has, for example, partnered with bloggers to create content, which enables them to earn credibility, because product depictions and recommendations come from an independent third-party.
Don’t let content become a sales push
Consumer trust should remain top-of-mind. Consumers will turn their backs on “content” that reeks of a strong sales push. If you’ve created content that provides value, then there’s no reason consumers should distrust it.
Do consider international differences
A marketer from a full-service digital agency told us they are concerned about creating content for an international audience, knowing that a simple translation is no longer enough. If you have enough staff and resources to create segmented communications according to language and culture, the authenticity you’ll gain can only serve to benefit you and your consumers.
Do get funding and infrastructure in place
Finding the budget to create compelling content can be a concern for some marketers. Although securing funding can be an obstacle, a marketer from one of the largest tour operating companies in the world, told us that her company had developed her role meaning she is now dedicated to developing the appropriate infrastructure to generate interesting and relevant content that delivers quality ROI.
Don’t view content marketing as an add-on
Without support from the C-Suite, content marketing initiatives won’t survive. Brands must empower content marketers to focus on their craft. Although a relatively new practice, content marketing can be viewed as an add-on to other forms of advertising, but this is a mistake and content marketers need the foundation and authority to develop great content.
Don’t forget ROI is essential!
Everything must have some form of ROI. Develop a key performance indicator (KPI) for every piece of content. If you don’t know how your content is performing then what’s the point of creating it? Even if the KPI can’t immediately be tracked back to sales, you’ll be able to determine whether or not your content served a purpose for you and your consumers.
Strategies for measurement that were discussed included:
- building an attribution model tracking down to a granular level the customer’s journey to conversion
- measuring uplift in sales as a proportion of customers who read your content
- tracking online sentiment for your brand before and after each new piece of content
- measuring time-on-site, page views and return visits
- measuring social media shares
Do remember content can help customers post-purchase
Creating content to help your customers post-purchase can also provide proven ROI. A mobile technology company we spoke with created a series of advice-based articles based on customer calls to their service line. By creating content that addressed customer problems, the company saw a drop in calls to their call-centres, which provided huge financial value and a positive impact on effectiveness.
Alex Cheeseman, director, brands & agencies, Outbrain UK