The saying ‘content is king’ has been thrown about for many years in the marketing industry, to the point where many of us are now sick of the term. But despite the overused buzzword, the intent was correct. Quality-written content that is created with the reader in mind is an essential part of your marketing campaigns and is becoming more important than ever. But is this reflected in marketing budgets?
At the Figaro Digital Marketing Summit in October 2016, we conducted a survey of 136 brand delegates to find out how much they were looking to spend on their content in 2017, and what their most pressing questions and challenges were. Our findings and challenges are set out below.
The cost of content management is relatively low. Once a site has a blog and content management system (CMS) built, uploading, updating or deleting content comes at no extra cost. This is reflected in our findings, where 69 per cent of our respondents answered that they spend between a thousand and ten thousand pounds a year on content management.
Whether it’s updating an onsite blog or creating content for another site, quality content takes careful strategic planning and should go through multiple proofing processes. The maximum spend of any respondent is between £251,000 and £500,000 a year, showing that while this is still less of a priority to marketers than SEO or PPC, content marketing is still a key consideration in the division of marketing budget.
So what are the challenges facing content marketers? Our delegates submitted several questions, and so we enlisted the expertise of our partners Liberty Marketing and NewsCred to share insights, allay fears and give us the top tips on content strategy:
What are the most cost efficient and effective content marketing practices?
“Simply throwing money at content doesn’t mean it will work. We must be strategic, and often we find that means using the content clients have created years back and forgotten.” Says Philip Woodward, creative content manager, Liberty Marketing. “Pages, like domains, have built up years of trust from search engines. What’s more, there’s every chance that your content will have picked up other ranking factors that generate trust such as links and social signals. It’s what we all want – a quick, affordable win and something to impress our boss with. Consult your analytics and up-cycle content with stronger research that makes the post more detailed and better written.”
How do we deal with technical limitations to create interactive, personalised content?
“It’s often much more efficient to look at solutions that can help take the burden off of your internal teams.” Says Marcus Stoll, Head of Marketing EMEA, NewsCred. “The technical requirements of interactive and personalised content are extremely high, and a software solution can make all the difference. Variables like location, type of device, referral information, on-site behaviour, and visit frequency are all readily available via cookies, and can help drive the right messages at the right time. Platforms like Idio or even Marketo can help unlock this info and provide your visitors with an optimised experience.”
So then what tool can marketers use to help plan their content marketing strategy? Woodward suggests: “Buzzsumo. It’s the perfect combination of establishing what your competitors are doing and finding out what your target market loves.” It’s clear then, that keeping track of consumer opinion of your brand is vital to making sure your content remains relevant and competitive. By maintaining a keen overview of the digital landscape with regards to content, marketers can avoid their hard work going to waste by missing the mark on what customers want to see.
What can we do to create content that will drive traffic and links to our site?
“At the end of the day, if content is not relevant, useful, and timely to your audience, throw it out and start over.” Says Stoll. “Dedication to quality is what will keep people coming back and sharing your content. At the beginning of your strategy, paid distribution is a must to help make people aware of your efforts. But from there, the quality content will drive others to post and reference your content which will complete the loop.” If the quality of content is high enough, a return on organic reach doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. Word of mouth remains the most powerful marketing tool, even if the mouthpiece has changed into a slightly more virtual form. If your brand is associated with great, high-quality, engaging content, you will experience more specific, active and loyal customers.
What’s the next big digital trend on the horizon?
“Virtual reality, no doubt. As companies like Samsung work to make VR more accessible, the prevalence in consumers’ lives will increase rapidly.” Concludes Stoll. “There are huge opportunities to be truly creative with the way we deliver content to consumers. If you think about interactive content, there is nothing more interactive than actually living in it – and that’s what VR brings to the table.”
Where is your content taking you? Are you seeking to increase organic reach and decrease your dependence on paid search? Or are you gazing into the future for the next biggest trend? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter at @Figaro_Digital.