Content Marketing – are you ready to be a publisher?

Marketers are embracing content.

Over 90% of digital marketing professionals believe that content marketing will be more important in the next 12 months.  And almost three-quarters (73%) agree that ‘brands are  becoming publishers.’ Source:  The Content Marketing Survey Report, Econsultancy/Outbrain. (requires purchase)

The survey polled 1300 1,300 marketers working for brands, agencies, and publishers.

Although ‘content marketing’ refers to a broad spectrum of connected activity, from the creation of content and editorial processes, through to social media activity, search engine optimization and PR, content marketing is now seen as an emerging discipline in its own right by a majority of marketers.  Two-thirds of in-house marketers (64%) agree that content marketing ‘is becoming its own discipline’.

The scary part is that only 38% of companies have a defined content strategy. So it would seem that just as they did at the birth of social media, the majority of companies are diving in without a plan.  They’re throwing ideas against the wall, experimenting and hoping for the best.  Content strategists take note:  just over half (55%) say they are planning to get a content strategy in place.  And well they should.

Content marketing is certainly not a new idea. That’s how the “Soaps” were born.  Our parents listened to sponsored radio shows.  Educational articles and brand sponsored magazines, such as Organic Connections, have been around forever. They started in print and have made the natural progression to online.

What is new is the drive for businesses to become content-led. What will give content more credibility as a marketing tool?  The ability to show ROI with metrics that are tied to the business goals.

The three most commonly cited business objectives for B2C in-house marketers overall were listed as:

  • Increased engagement (52%)
  • Increasing traffic to site (49%)
  • Raising brand awareness (38%)

For B2B in-house marketers, the three most commonly cited objectives were

  • Increased engagement (58%)
  • Generating leads (44%)
  • Increasing traffic to site (34%)

Increased sales as an option ranked fourth in the list of business objectives for both B2C and B2B marketers.

Whoever, since only 38% said they had a defined content marketing strategy, perhaps these metrics should be rethought once they have a pan in place.  Otherwise it’s once again just random activity that’s being measured with no specific tie-in to the business objectives.

The major barriers cited to doing content marketing were internal rather than external.

In-house marketers:

  • Lack of human resources (42%)
  • Lack of budget (35%)
  • Company politics (30%)

Agency respondents

  • Lack of understanding / training (46%)
  • Lack of content creation skills (39%)
  • Lack of ROI / no business case (35%)

So the marketers and PR people at companies are battling with a lack of resources and getting buy-in. The challenge for agencies is get ahead of the curve, get their staff trained or hire skilled people and prove to their clients that this ia a viable marketing method.

Great content requires research, analysis, the ability to see what topics and trends will generate conversation and add value to your audience, and the skills to produce and distribute said content.  The distribution part requires the ability to find the right people and build a network of loyal supporters who love your content and will share and forward your message;

Is your company ready to be a publisher?

Is your agency ready to help your clients be great publishers?