Content is an integral part of any brand’s engagement strategy. But ensuring the content is useful, shareable, findable and entertaining is a challenge many brands struggle with. And how can your prove its value to the business?
At Covent Garden’s The Hospital Club, Figaro Digital hosted an event on June 23, with expert talks from industry leaders at 8 Million Stories, Liberty Marketing, pd3 and Curated Digital, offering their best advice on how marketers can make the most of their content marketing strategies. Here’s a roundup of the main takeaway points from the seminar:
How To Monetise Your Content Marketing
Simon Heyes, MD, 8 Million Stories & Pam Reichhartinger-Lawlor, client services director, 8 Million Stories
Most brands know they need to think more like publishers and create regular content, according to Simon Heyes, MD at 8 Million Stories. “The challenge is how do you know the great content you are creating really is great?” he explains. 8 Million Stories believes content marketing should be treated like any other digital marketing channel and tied back to a focussed set of objectives and, ultimately, demonstrate a clear ROI.
Simon and Pam outlined a top level process and the overarching principles for devising and implementing effective content monetisation strategies.
Simply put: set objectives, research your audience, plan content based on these researched areas, develop the content, distribute the content and measure success. It’s a framework that8 Million Stories follows at all times and it has set the company in good stead.
Pam Reichhartinger-Lawlor, client services director, 8 Million Stories, says: “Content marketing is not just about content creation. If you spend 50 per cent of your money on creation, spend 50 per cent on promotion as well. Don’t just put all of your budget into the creation.
“The question to ask yourself when creating a content strategy is not ‘what content should we create?’. It should be ‘why are we creating the content?’ Once you’ve answered this everything will fall into place.
“Content marketing value can be measured and it’s a good way of proving the value of projects to the business. Finally, keep the team aligned towards your overall objectives.”
How Emotions Play an Essential Part in Content Marketing Success
Paul Hunter, SEO Account Co-ordinator, Liberty Marketing
There’s a huge amount of content out there and there’s really a lot more supply than demand. There are two million blog posts uploaded every day and every hour there are more than 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube.
“There’s just too much content and a lot of it is produced without any kind of strategy,” Paul notes. “B2B marketing companies in the USA, for example, are wasting $958m each year on content marketing. 25 cents out of every dollar is wasted on inefficient and ineffective content marketing. Everyone knows content marketing is important but there’s just too much content for content’s sake.”
With so much content being produced, it’s more difficult than ever to stand out from the crowd and make an impact with your content, but Paul explained how incorporating emotion into your content marketing strategy can boost user engagement and social reach.
You need to identify what emotion you want each piece of content to evoke and build it into your content calendar, he says. Here are six emotions to consider when creating your content:
Surprise – Share new ideas, state a startling fact, ask a proactive question
Joy – Positive stories surrounding your products, services or target personas
Fear – Risky. Include possible solutions to the fear causing problem you’ve presented
Sadness – Depending on story, but be respectful.
Anger – Provide solutions
Disgust – Generally does not appeal to mas groups
“When producing content, always address if someone would share your content for one of the five identified motivations,” says Paul.
Watch Paul’s presentation here.
Creative Content – Practical Tips On How To Make More Of It
Cat Botibol, owner and creative chief, pd3
“I see a lot of content out there that isn’t that good – that’s a bit sh#t,” Cat says. “But that‘s an opportunity for us to go out and make something better.”
When Cat talks about content she’s talking about more than just words. She’s also talking about pictures, moving pictures, sounds, moments, event and experiences.
Practical advice Cat offered included focusing on internal staff training days, as well as internal comms, running photo, video and copy competitions.
“If you work in a company with 500 employees I bet there’s someone who’s really great at taking photos,” she says. “You’ve just got to find them, so maybe organise an internal competition that involves taking a photo.”
Other tips included raiding the archives – what can be repurposed? If you’re at a relatively new company and you don’t have an archive, think about the heritage of your sector
Cat is also a massive fan of stock libraries. “They’re amazing, she says. “You just have to be creative in the way that you search through them then you can find some really good stuff that you can repurpose for your own needs.”
Ultimately, she recommends developing a creative platform, rather than individual ideas. “A platform must have purpose and mean something,” she explains. “To your product, your brand, your audience, you and your colleagues. If it means something to all of those people then all of those people will be inspired to go away and create their own content ideas, be it user-generated or whether it’s you thinking about blog posts you could write over the next six months.
Watch the presentation here.
Using Content Marketing To Sell Stuff
Simon Douglass, founder, Curated Digital
Old fashioned SEO tactics such as researching keyword volume to map intent, and diligence in analysing competitors are fine but will only get you so far. Once you’ve got someone to your website, it’s language that’s going to do the work: language that’s engaging, expert, and draws readers on to the bitter end.
Simon’s first tip is to spend time manually researching the space you’re planning to market in. “Done properly, content marketing can be used to sell stuff,” Simon assures us. “But in order to do it successfully it does take a lot of time and most of the stuff we’ve done was very manual.
“Understand what people are searching for then try to deliver them something back, which will answer their questions,” he adds. This is something he find is not happening regularly enough.
He also recommends building a tone of voice that you and the brand are comfortable with, and connecting with authoritative writers. “We speak to a lot of writers and a great variety of writers so we can always get hold of authoritative experts which, in turn, leads to authoritative content,” he says.
Also, you must ensure your content looks good. Think about user experience, how people navigate a website. He suggests putting together a focus group and analysing how people move around your website.
Last, but not least, don’t be afraid to sell to people who are engaging with you. “If people are visiting a page with product information on it, we bank on them being interested in that particular subject. If they’re already engaging with you it’s worth a go,” Simon says.
Watch the full presentation here.
What the attendees said…
We asked some of our seminar attendees to tell us the best piece of advice they’ve been given that has positively impacted their content marketing strategy.
Charles Scherer, Content Coordinator, Cafepod
From my boss – you need to be adding value to the conversation. For example, every brand in the world jumps onto the hashtag ‘National Puppy Day’ because they just want to get out there, be seen and speak. We don’t do that, quintessentially, unless we really have something to say. Is the conversation more valuable for us having taken part in it? If it’s not, don’t.
Matt Ralph, Digital Marketing Manager, Landbay
Try to always be authentic. If you create a piece of content that isn’t true to your brand or true the people who are reading it, they will see through it straight away and then basically disengage with it. So it is important to write something that aligns with your brand values while making it readable so that people actually want to read it. Then people will share it. That’s how to get over the hurdle of paid media.
Stephanie Limuaco, International Digital Marketing Manager, King’s College London
I learned today about personas and how you can do the YouGov survey to find out more about your customers which will help you understand the different content you can build. That is really interesting and is something I can action back at the office tomorrow.
Matt Arnerich, Content Writer, Inspiring Interns
The best piece of advice I’ve had is from Liberty Marketing about the importance about reactive listening. Actually the strategy itself can come from doing it at the right time and the promotion can come from doing it at the right time. Rather than saying these are the channels we are going to promote on and that’s going to give it the most reach, it’s about putting it on the right channels at the right time that will get the biggest outreach.
Helle Tumbridge, senior content manager and Copywriter, Colart International Holdings
Always make it valuable, make sure it has some intrinsic value. Don’t make something just for the sake of chucking it out there. That’s a lot of what we have heard today.