The way we consume content has changed.

With the rise of content being consumed on mobile devices and the steadily improving quality and reach of wireless networks, everything has changed.

Consequently, the way that brands try to reach their customers has also changed.

Along with the ubiquitous nature of social media, the conversation is now taking place between brands and their audiences every day (and most likely not between the hours of 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday).

How are brands adapting to this change in user behavior?

The answer lies in a more editorial approach to content creation, and the need for brands to start acting and thinking more like publishers.

Big advertising messages that are pushed out at key times of the year should no longer just be standalone projects but complemented with a planned program of supporting content released regularly over a longer-term period.

By necessity, these editorially-led communications will heavily feature digital channels and aim to reach a far more targeted group of consumers.

The importance of long-term thinking

The notion of the traditional, short-lifespan, big splash campaign as a standalone communications method is over.

Are we foreseeing the end of TV ads? No, and perhaps, with the proliferation of niche interest TV channels, the opposite is now true, as advertisers have the opportunity to place more targeted advertisements around more relevant programming at surprisingly low cost.

And neither are we forecasting the end of the ‘big idea’ or the need for creativity. On the contrary, creativity is more important than ever as brands attempt to differentiate their content from that of the competition and deepen engagement with their audience.

It is this seismic shift in communications that presents an opportunity to those brands willing to embrace it, to really engage with customers over the long-term and provide a reason why they should choose to interact.

Brands and the agencies creating content for them need to acknowledge this shift in content consumption and adapt accordingly or be left behind by their competitors who are.

Content marketing: 5 things every brand must do

So, how do brands make this transformation? Here are the top 5 things that must be front and center for a brand wanting to adopt a content marketing approach:

1. Have goals. It’s not just about volume of views. Drive engagement, loyalty and encourage viewers to take a subsequent action.

2. Values. Be genuine and true to your brand. Create content that aligns with your values and is something your audience actually wants to see.

3. Post regularly. Create content on a regular basis. If you are genuinely creating content that informs, educates or entertains, your audience will want to come back for more.

4. Learn and revise. Don’t expect your content marketing efforts to work perfectly first time. Take the learnings from each piece, analyze what works and what doesn’t, and feed the results back into next iterations.

5. Video. It’s the best way to communicate a message and engage customers, and therefore, should remain at the heart of any content marketing initiative.