For once, the “they” got it right. They said that 2015 was the Year of Content. And was it ever. As millions of articles, videos, case studies and social media posts flooded inboxes, newsfeeds and websites this past year—it was evident that brands realized the power of content to fuel their business.
Let’s be honest, content marketing isn’t for the faint of heart. Not only is there a necessity of persistence with the development of it—but there is also the constant need to evolve the practice to meet the needs of customers and consumers today.
What are we planning for in 2016 for the content marketing programs we manage? Here are three key shifts:
1. Integration. Get rid of those silos because content is a layer that should cut across many touchpoints as any good story should. Define the story first: the customer pain point you’re solving, the new opportunity or experience you can create in a consumer’s life. Then, find all the ways—and places—that story can be told.
To serve each of these platforms best, the content should be tweaked specifically for it. For example, a new product introduction should tell a consistent story, but be presented in a tailored way on Instagram, a website, Pinterest and more. The target audience is savvy to how they consume content within each platform—and recognize (and recoil from) a story that doesn’t feel authentic.
2. Data-Informed. There are hundreds of measurable metrics in the digital landscape today. It’s how you use those metrics to propel future activities that make them powerful. Test content topics, the types of content created and the places content lives—keeping in mind that you need to look at both the quantity and quality of the actions you’re driving. Don’t miss the forest for the trees: Look at macro trends within your content as much as what’s happening with individual pieces.
3. Amplification. Speaking of trees… If a case study were to fall in the woods and no one were around to hear it—does it really exist? It certainly wasn’t worth the time and resources put into it. Amplification is an absolute necessity to receive the return on investment in content creation. Paid media and earned media have never needed to be in lockstep more than right now.
In addition to banners, native advertising and paid social media, offline activities need to be happening as well. Be sure your sales team is trained in how to share content with their prospects. Offline amplification is every bit as powerful as what happens online.
Hopefully you’ve used 2015 to master the development of a steady beat of content. This year, it’s time to kick it up a notch using these three methods. All of the winning brands will.