As consumer influence over digital media continues to rise, so too does the value of an effective content marketing strategy, for both B2B and B2C marketers. “[Consumers are] in the driver’s seat more today than they were yesterday, and they will be more in control tomorrow than today,” says Joe Matthews, CEO and cofounder of social marketing platform Tagkast.
Content marketing is one of the most apt forms of marketing for marketers hoping to reach today’s empowered consumer. However, there are certain practices in contemporary content marketing that, if emulated by unwary marketers, could dilute its effectiveness; chiefly, the confusion of content with promotion.
“Marketers should stop pushing promotional company information and calling it content marketing. The goal of content marketing is to educate and inform,” says Kristi Ross, co-CEO at investment platform Dough Inc, formerly known as Tastytrade Dough. “With each piece of content, think about the end customer—they are smart and informed, and should be treated that way. Consumers have limited time to read or watch content, so all of our content must be high-quality and informative.”
Ross points to a lack of testing as another issue that ails today’s content marketing landscape. “Marketers should stop developing content without testing messages with their audience first. With limited budgets, marketers and business leaders can’t afford to develop a costly content campaign—only to find it doesn’t work,” Ross says.
Of course, there are several positive aspects of today’s content marketing—aspects that validate content marketing as an effective strategy and, if mastered, will elevate content marketing to the top of marketers’ priorities in the future. Here, Tagkast’s Matthews outlines the four C’s of content marketing.
Tone is the foundation upon which successful content marketing rests. “You should always continue to look for unique settings and ways to create content that audiences will find valuable,” Matthews explains. “My personal favorite method is harnessing consumer-generated content from live events and experiences.”
“Creating content just to have it isn’t nearly as beneficial as creating content to support an overall campaign or message,” Matthews says. “You should be able to trace every video clip, infographic, photo, or tweet back to a larger idea. This will allow for efficient use of resources and result in consistent and clear messaging.”
“Our brains naturally organize incoming information into categories and groups. Gathering and bucketing content based on themes will help you strategize for successful distribution and ensures the right audience segments receive the right pieces content,” Matthews explains.
No matter how relevant, engaging, or otherwise great the piece of content, what ultimately matters is that the content is seen. “Understand your unique content ecosystem and differentiate what should be posted on your owned platforms, what deserves native placement, and what brand loyalists, social influencers, and consumers are likely to share themselves,” Matthews says. “Don’t forget to consider timing. Think about what pieces would benefit from real-time sharing and how you can best facilitate that.”