Today, it’s not an understatement that digital marketing requires understanding and connecting a lot of disparate strategic, technology and content dots to succeed.
In this new online environment where a customer learns, qualifies and considers a solution from search, sharing and social media, a whole new set of opportunities and challenges must be continually addressed.The result is that plenty of businesses are struggling with what has come to be known as Content Marketing.
What’s content marketing?
The process for developing, executing and delivering the digital content and related assets that are needed to create, nurture and grow a company’s customer base is a reasonable definition of Content Marketing.
In recent research with 500 marketers, software provider Curata revealed that over 71% of organizations in the study are increasing their investment in this new marketing activity. What’s more, they uncovered how more than half of the marketing organizations they surveyed have no executive leading their content marketing program.
And what’s even more surprising, for those companies that are increasing spending on content marketing with a dedicated staff, very few have developed a formalized process to fuel a continuous, relevant content stream.
Think about that for a minute. Let’s spend more without leadership or a method to succeed?
Rising investment in value? Or spam?
If it’s not obvious, look to your own online experience to confirm that prospects and your customers are overwhelmed from the tsunami of content they are exposed to online. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and online training experts MarketingProfs, 73% of B2B content marketers are producing more content than they did 1 year ago.
The take away is that brands and marketers are accelerating their move to fulfill the new online marketing requirement to become the next generation of publishers and content distributers.
So where’s the value?
Make no mistake, plunging into content marketing is not a part time gig for the half hearted. Between blogging, email marketing, SEO, Social Media, marketing automation and analytics, businesses must now participate effectively and regularly in each of these disciplines for content marketing success. And for those who have embraced the idea that they are now publishers (and media companies too) in the most real sense, they have a lot of new roles and responsibilities—and not much training or experience on how to succeed online.
Like old school media companies, businesses must now own and build, one prospect or customer at a time, proprietary networks that they can interact with and distribute content to. The top priorities for investing in a content marketing program include:
- Drive sales and/or leads
- Engage customers/ buyers/influencers
- Boost brand awareness
- Increase SEO and web traffic
- Establish/sustain thought leadership
- Decrease acquisition cost for new leads
Formidable challenges ahead.
As anyone engaged in content marketing can attest, continually and consistently feeding the “Content Beast” with high-quality, target-relevant, SEO-optimized and well-produced content is not to be underestimated. As a result, due to a lack of resources or talent, most companies fall far short of their content creation goals.
Let’s face it, it’s not your average bear (or group of them) that can write an eBook, produce a Podcast, develop an SEO optimized microsite or landing page, shoot and edit a video and continuously engage and build a community on Facebook, Pinterest or Google+.
As Altimeter Group analyst, Rebecca Lieb, points out, qualifying, recruiting and managing a content creation team to do all of this and more is often viewed as a commodity and inadequately budgeted for in most companies.
A compelling case for curation with OPS.
As great as your own content may be, the reality is that prospects and customers want to learn from other qualified, third party sources as well. Today, it’s just not credible or realistic to continually bombard your targets with content just about you or your solution. Online, people want insight and guidance about topics that are most relevant and of the greatest interest to them.
It’s time to get over trying to be the sole source of content for anything. By complementing what you create with the wealth of knowledge that the rest of the market has to offer, you’ll enhance the opportunity for others to turn to you as a trusted source of relevant insights that will inform them to make better choices—and ultimately purchases.
A more balanced content portfolio of original content and OPS (Other People’s Stuff)—frequently described as curated content—is a more effective and realistic approach.
What’s content curation?
When an individual (or team) consistently finds, organizes, annotates and shares the most relevant and highest quality digital content on a specific topic for their target market, they’re engaging in content curation.
Companies curate content, not pirate it, to achieve the right mix of what they create along with that of others to meet their objectives. With the right content mix you can:
- increase your content volume
- maintain or increase content quality
- expand your content or subject matter depth and expertise
- foster credibility and trust with your audience
Essential attributes of well curated content.
Content curation shows your audience that you’re on top of the latest news and information in your industry. If you add your perspective to help site visitors understand the latest trends, challenges and influences and why they should be paying attention to them, you’ll build trust and influence to further a relationship that can blossom into an opportunity—and hopefully revenue.
Well curated content should include all of these attributes:
1. Enhancement | A new title, image or thumbnail that can better contextualize
the content or article referred to or referenced
2. Annotation | Introduce the reader to the original content
3. Reference | Quote the original content verbatim in a few instances
4. Added Value | Provide insight or analysis to expand the content’s value
5. Attribution | Identify and link-back to the original content creator
If it’s not ethically obvious, curating isn’t piracy or straight out theft. If you follow the guidelines above and share in the most popular channels—social media, blogs and newsletters—those embracing the never ending job of content creation will realize the benefits of curation over time. And with the right mix of original, curated and syndicated content, feeding the content beast gets a lot easier and becomes more effective.
Breaking through the rising noise on the internet to differentiate your offering has never been more important. And if you’re overwhelmed and under-funded to achieve this with limited resources, it’s time to get serious about curation.
Start by curating this post. It’s a baby step to start increasing your content volume, improving your content quality and fostering credibility and trust with your audience.