Content is key

March 15, 2013 in -e.showcase

content marketingSome 35% of marketers are making content marketing their main focus during 2013. That’s twice as many as in 2012, and it places content marketing above search engine optimisation, mobile communications and media buying in marketers’ overall list of priorities, says Ian Whiteling*. The statistics come from the CopyPress 2013 State of Content Marketing Study, published in February, and reveal evidence of a clear shift in attention towards content marketing as a key business tool.

Digging deeper into this growing discipline, the research found that the most cost-effective forms of content marketing from an ROI perspective were written articles, videos and white papers. Asked which forms of content they considered to deliver the best ROI, 62% of marketers surveyed said featured articles, 52% said video, and 46% said white papers.

This survey proves what we’ve been saying for some time, that delivering journalistically led, compelling and relevant insight to your customers is the key strategy to pursue to boost engagement levels and ultimately drive sales in the 21st century.

The CopyPress study also highlighted key challenges that marketers face from content marketing, with 50% of respondents citing video as difficult to create and overpriced. However, technological innovation means this is no longer the case. The problem here is not that video is particularly difficult to create or expensive, but more that there is a lack of understanding in how to present video and how to create it cost effectively.

The same goes for articles and white papers. The key to their effectiveness is in the actual subject matter and the level of expertise with which they are written. Quite simply, they have to be relevant, interesting and valuable to their target audience and written in an engaging journalistic way to make them believable and readable.

Too many content marketing agencies are in fact simply rebranded contract publishers. Content marketing is not simply content creation. To get the best return from content marketing, the content needs to be delivered effectively to the customer, using digital marketing techniques. Furthermore, if it has been created to engage its target audience rather than to sell to them, it should also be able to be shared across different channels and relevant, so PR is also important.

This strategic mix of content, social media and PR is the new holy grail of marketing, raising awareness, generating kudos, boosting loyalty and ultimately driving sales.

*Ian Whiteling is director at ‘real’ content marketing agency three-sixty

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