We all know that content marketing has become of the cornerstone of all online marketing. In fact, according to Joe Pulizzi, CEO of Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 92% of the American businesses confirmed that they are engaging in some form of content marketing. But just because everyone is buying into this idea, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve your processes. In Brightcove’s recent Future of Content Marketing webinar, Joe Pullizi and Steve Rhoten discuss what they think will happen in the upcoming years in the world of online content. I was able to attend one of the two live webinars, and despite the technical difficulties, I felt like I had a much stronger grasp on the soon-to-be future of content marketing. These are my six takeaways from the webinar…

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Strategy, Strategy, Strategy

Main Takeaway: A goal without a plan is a wish.

The main point of Joe & Steve’s dialogue revolved around encouraging businesses to create a well-thought out content strategy and that is should be documented.

image 2Steve summed it up perfectly by saying “A goal without a plan is a wish.” That wish is to develop valuable content that ultimately will help your company. You will need to have a strong, diverse content team to help keep the ideas fresh and so the content is produced frequently. In addition to creating a content team and a content strategy, Joe suggests that everyone involved meet often and always make sure their goals, or mission, is clearly stated and everyone is on the same page.

Shifting Perceptions

Main Takeaway: Content is an asset, not an expense.

Joe used the phrase “content must be treated as an asset” rather than a line item on an expense sheet. Business owners having a hard time coming to terms with spending money on content marketing need to really shift their thinking. Don’t waste your time online if you have no intention to use content marketing, or plan to use it to its full potential. Joe reminded the viewers that it’s never too late to start doing content marketing and that we are only in the first or second inning of a nine-inning game. There is limitless growth in the blossoming field of content marketing.

Production vs. Publication

Main Takeaway: Think like a publisher!

Another focus was how content producers should start “thinking like a publisher does.” Knowing the audience and tailoring the content to their needs can be highly beneficial, just as thinking and planning for future content can be. In the past, online marketers focused their content on increasing the brand awareness and giving long-winded sale pitches about services and products. They were producers, not publishers – valuing quantity of quality and relevancy. But moving forward, Joe believes that producing your content to be relevant and useful to the audience (ex: how-to’s, free guides, checklists, etc.) will give the readers a better, more memorable experience. Create trust and loyalty with your audience, and eventually you will be rewarded with more leads and more sales.

Platform Overload

Main Takeaway: Sometimes you need to say “no” to the newest platform on the block.

Along with an increasing knowledge of your audience, content teams now need to understand where that audience hangs out and what platforms are worth their time. Should your businesses use Facebook? Snapchat? LinkedIn? Joe let’s us know that LinkedIn and Twitter are the two best social channels for effective content promotion.

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image 4However, Joe and Steve do warn the viewers that it’s important to say no to joining the next best platform sometimes and “if everything is important, nothing is.” By that, they mean that it is very possible to oversaturate your audience with content as well as a waste of time if your audience doesn’t use that specific social media platform.

Niche Personalization

Main Takeaway: Don’t spread yourself thin; personalize your content and segment your distribution.

Unfortunately, according to Joe, the majority of companies target 2-3 different audiences at any given time rather than focusing on a single niche.

image 5Broad content is rarely shared, absorbed or used. Knowing your company’s specific audience allows for your content to be perfectly molded to their needs and will benefit your company in the long run. To understand your audience better, you must put yourself in the shoes of one of your customers and then ask yourself, “What do I want to know about this product or service?” These questions are exactly what your future clients will be searching online so it only makes sense to create content around that.

Jack of All Trades

Main Takeaway: Become familiar with converged media.

Simply put, converged media is when you use both organic and paid strategies for content marketing. Joe encourages content producers to find a equal medium for both. Just using organic media may seem like right and just way but paid content can be a very valuable asset when growing your online portfolio.

image 6Joe added that he wants to be there for the client “whenever they need me in whatever channels they’re at.” If you can help just one customer, regardless of how you reach them, it is absolutely worth your time to set up all your channels to create the biggest net to catch clients with.

For those of you in the content field, you should be very thankful. With so much potential and room for growth, content production should only increase in the near future. Whether it’s through richer content, more entertaining / interactive media or creating more efficient, organized content strategies, the future of content marketing looks bright.