Three key challenges for content marketers
At some point in the future, when a fortunate scribe gets to write the history of content marketing, I wonder if they will point to 2018/2019 and suggest that this was a significant crossroads for the discipline.
In many ways, content marketing has travelled a long way since the customer publishing magazine boom of the 90s and then the SEO and socially-driven branded content of recent times.
We may however, have reached a point where issues that have been emerging, or festering, depending on your point of view for a few years, really need to be addressed.
These are issues that the CMA team and its members contemplate on a almost daily basis. And in order to help flesh our thoughts on the topics, we are going to run through some of them at the upcoming CMA summit in February.
For many years the summit has been a key event in the UK content calendar, where marketers got to hear the big names in content strategy and creation from the UK and beyond. We are now excitedly compiling the speaker list for next year’s event and we will start to share it with you soon. In the meantime you can buy tickets here
1 Improving the quality of our content – Sturgeon’s Law stems from a quote from the US sci fi author Theodore Sturgeon, who once stated that 90% of science fiction was crap. When challenged he replied that wasn’t that unusual as 90% of everything is crap too.
Of course, you don’t have to agree with Sturgeon, and in terms of content marketing, judging by the high standards of the entries for the CMA awards, he is way off. There is a sense though that there is a lot of low quality branded content being created. In some ways this isn’t surprising because of the ubiquity of content. Almost every asset that marketers create is in some ways content.
The industry does however, have to continue on the process it began a couple of years of aiming high with both strategy and creation. Shooting videos and penning posts to fill space on the blog sections of a website just won’t do anymore.
Marketers need to have a very clear sense of not just how to produce content – clue, look at the mainstream media companies and brands who are doing it well and take your cues from them – but also why they are doing it in the first place. What are the key objectives? What role does the content have in the sales funnel? Or if the focus is on brand awareness how is it going to deepen a relationship between a brand and its customers? The really savvy brands have realised that people don’t want constant intrusions to their content consumption they want credible interesting content.
2 Improving content effectiveness and measurement – At the CMA we have written many blog posts on content effectiveness and how it is measured. Yet it still feels like we are in the early stages of a process, where the old staples such AVEs, are only just now being replaced by new more scientifically based metrics. Yet content marketing is both a science and art and there are still many who believe strongly that influence and reach can’t always be quantified in number of reads, likes and comments. Finding the right metric is essential.
As an industry we are going to be held accountable for the millions of pounds that have been invested in content in recent years. If we do not deliver convincing metrics then we might find budgets cut as business leaders look for other ways to engage consumers.
3 How do we incorporate technology into content processes – There is currently a boom in the creation of Artificial Intelligence startups in the UK. A significant number of those are mulling over opportunities in the wider marketing services industry.
The task for marketing business leaders then is to isolate the parts of their business that could be automated and what benefits this would bring to their work. Would it improve their output, enable rationalisation, free up creative employees to focus on more challenging tasks?
As an industry content marketing doesn’t yet seem to be sold on the potential of AI in research, data analysis, or content creation. Yet given time it is certain to have a profound impact and the winners will be the companies that deploy AI in ways that enable them to get a competitive advantage over their rivals. This might be in using algorithms to analyse data which then enables marketers to pinpoint exactly the type of content that will resonate with audiences. Or it might even automatically create that content for them.
And it isn’t just AI. Who knows what kind of impact blockchain will have in the media general and content distribution in particular.
There are a lot of other issues that we could have mentioned from the current hegemony of video and image content through to the potential of audio. All these issues and more will be pulled apart in February. See you there.