Content Rising Boston: What's the Future of Content Marketing?
The present and future of content marketing was up for discussion at Skyword’s Content Rising Boston. Covering topics from content creation, to managing influencers, to SEO, to distribution, the evening was packed with thought-provoking exchanges and ideas worth sharing.
The panel was moderated by Chief Content Officer Magazine’s Clare McDermott (not pictured), and included Traackr CEO Pierre-Loic Assayag, VP of Marketing at Conductor Seth Dotterer, Skyword CEO Tom Gerace, and Outbrain’s SVP of Strategic Alliances Gregg Freishtat (pictured above, L-R).
Below is a list of the top ideas to emerge from the panelists’ presentations and the ensuing dialogue with savvy marketers in the audience.
We’re not OK with being interrupted anymore. There was a time when we would all stick around for a message from our sponsors, but today’s audiences have little patience for or interest in viewing advertising messages. The era of interruption marketing is long gone.
Content marketers don’t feel confident about effectiveness. Although marketers are spending about $30 million a year on content and diving into new channels, many still aren’t sure they’re delivering the impact they want.
We know change is coming, but not sure what it looks like. Most senior marketers accept that the content marketing landscape will continue to change, and quickly, but few are willing to guess at what’s next.
The 80/20 rule becomes exaggerated on the web with 3% of influencers having 90% of the impact. The web has given unprecedented reach to a single customer with something to say, for better or worse. Engaging influencers will help your brand become part of the conversation.
You should empower and amplify influencers. Influencers are an important part of a robust content marketing plan because of their reach and credibility as independent voices. Building relationships with them takes time and effort, but can make a big difference in your brand perception.
Meaning and context are differentiators for content. Content quantity might help you stand out in the short term, but it’s quality and relevance that will build trust and keep your audience coming back. Create content that has real meaning andvalue for them.
Tell stories that mean something and become what people love. If you are going to interrupt people, do it with experiences that leave them entertained, enriched, or otherwise delighted. Understand what they care about most and speak to it, rather than talking about yourself.
It’s not just the platforms, it’s the people. As much as the Content Rising panelists represented content marketing technology solutions, they agreed that having the right team in place is critical to creating content that can leverage their platforms’ capabilities.
We can’t think of SEO as content janitorial services and keep leaving it for last. SEO has become the last step in content optimization, often coming long after content has been published, but SEO should figure into the early stages of your content strategy to help maximize reach.
Think holistically about Web Presence Management and stop it with the marketing silos. Besides SEO, many marketing functions continue to act independently within a single organization. This is undermining everyone’s effectiveness by missing opportunities to act more strategically. The next frontier is looking at web presence management as a broader discipline with multiple facets.
Content creation has a limited impact without a distribution and discovery strategy. If you create it, they will not come without some help. Through social channels, influencers, distribution platforms, and content discovery, the content you invest in can have a greater range and longer lifespan—and more viewers.
Can B2B create “sexy” content? The jury still out. There wasn’t a consensus on this question. It’s easy for B2C brands like Red Bull or Old Spice to create fun, entertaining content. The B2B world is different, and B2B marketers are still wrestling how to deliver content that is exciting and packs an emotional punch.
Effectiveness benchmarks are still hard to come by. Despite content marketing’s explosive growth, measuring content effectiveness remains a challenge. Marketers are still defining the best ways to measure content impact and demonstrate quantifiable results.
Don’t overlook the importance of creatives. The most powerful tool in your content marketing toolkit is a content creator who can both think creatively and write in a way that moves your audience, but is also an analytical thinker who knows how to act strategically and measure impact. The old divisions between creatives and strategic planners will slow down content marketing efforts, and a multidisciplinary skillset and approach is now required.
Content marketing effectiveness continues to be the most pressing concern for content marketers and marketing technologists. If you’re worried about measuring and increasing the impact of your content marketing efforts, the good news is that you’re in good company.
It’s true the availability of new technologies and platforms has enabled marketing to evolve more rapidly than before, giving marketers more to keep up with each year. But content marketing as a science and discipline is maturing, and growing rich with ideas and opportunities for creativity and innovation.
For more information, read Skyword's Content Rising blog post and the included slides from the event.
Photo credit: Skyword
Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.