A recent survey by Gartner has shown that content marketing is becoming not only the best way to convert potential customers, but, perhaps most importantly, make them brand evangelists as well.

The survey, which polled over 200 firms (medium to large size businesses), reported that nearly half of the social marketing teams interviewed felt that content marketing and curation was vital to their company’s brand.

A new conscientiousness towards content marketing

This shift in marketing strategy is hardly press-stopping news: content has always been seen as important online. You have to fill that company website with something, right?

However, the Gartner study shows a new conscientiousness towards the practice of creating and distributing content.

Marketers are no longer content (ha!) to make do with the humble company blog as the sole extra channel through which they communicate with customers. Not only is there a plurality of distribution channels (Yay, Facebook! Yay, Vine! Yay, SnapChat! Yay, native advertising in beleaguered media propositions!), but in the ‘attention deficit’ economy, content has to be of the highest level, and part of a ‘content creation and development’ strategy if it is going to be of maximal value.

It goes without saying, then, that creating excellent content (that people feel is worth reading and helps them) is not as simple as it might first seem. Especially if you’ve yet to even get started with a content strategy.

Getting started with a content marketing strategy

Perhaps you are like the 52% in Gartner’s survey and have yet to make content marketing and curation a significant part of your marketing strategy. If you run a company or a marketing department and find yourself tasked with developing a content marketing strategy, ask yourself these questions from the outset to help you get started:

  • Where are you buying advertising currently?

Content marketing means that instead of brands having to rent attention through other media, you can now build own media propositions.

The publications where your brand is currently buying ad space is a reasonable indicator of the sort of content marketing output you should be emulating. Instead of advertising through GQ to access their audience, why not become GQ and grow your own loyal following instead!

  • What are the core values of the brand?

Red Bull created a print and online magazine called Red Bulletin whose content is centred around exciting and high-octane lifestyle and sports interests.

Exactly the kind of exciting and high-octane, sporting life that people who drink Red Bull lead.

  • What are the core products of the brand?

Sometimes a content marketing strategy doesn’t have to centre around something as ephemeral and artsy-fartsy as ‘brand values’. Product range is a perfectly reasonable source of inspiration. Take for example Makeup.com created by L’Oreal – the content hub “is provided for your information, education, personal entertainment and/or non-commercial enjoyment” around (surprisingly) make-up products. Simples.

  • What is the data saying?

No doubt even if you haven’t committed to a content-rich publishing programme, you still have a few pieces of content out there that you can derive a degree of insight from. Use some analytics and monitoring to know which pieces were read or viewed, and push for what works. For starters, your content marketing metrics could be as simple as highest number of retweets, shares and impressions.

  • What would your brand be like at a party? (I’m serious)

In other words, what is the brand’s persona. What is the brand like when it’s talking with it’s audience, not at it.

Take for example Guinness:

1759 shot

Their persona was the pub ‘lad’ who always had the anecdotes and knew the quirky stories that fuel pub conversations. The result was 1759.com which is filled with – yep – the anecdotes and quirky stories that fuel pub conversations.

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However you choose to go forwards with a content strategy and subsequent editorial programme, that is only half the battle. The most successful brands are devising content strategies that not only engage, but also create intelligent customer experiences that are useful, personalised and relevant.

To learn more about how idio can help you do that, please get in touch.

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