Sorting the content wheat from the marketing chaff

What does content marketing mean to you?

Content means different things to different people but most recognise it as an integral part of the modern marketing mix. 

Some see it as SEO-charged digital bait – as a means to encourage well-timed spikes in traffic to the company website, others value it as a way of building credibility – leveraging content as a vehicle for thought leadership. 

A content manager may present a heavily populated editorial calendar as content strategy, while a social media executive will pull together a suite of visuals designed to stop a growing following in their scrolling tracks. This is what content means to them.

Few appreciate it is actually all of these things – to varying degrees. Fewer still recognise the all-important difference between content and content marketing.

Reports, infographics, blogs, ebooks, tweets, LinkedIn posts, videos, animations – these are all individual pieces of content. Some or all of these formats might have a role to play in delivering a hard-hitting content marketing campaign. But, the truth is, format is irrelevant unless the story, messaging and channel mix is strategically sewn up. And without an outreach plan that brings all of these elements together, a piece of content will forever be just that – a lonely, albeit beautifully crafted piece, that’s doing very little other than entertain the ad hoc few that happen to find it amongst the ‘noise’. 

The difference between content and content marketing

The targeted, well-timed delivery of a succession of content assets aligned to a customer journey model is what translates content into content marketing. The plan that turns well-meaning outputs into measurable outcomes.

Integral to this plan is establishing the right channels to take your content to market and making sure that wherever and whenever your audiences are exposed to your content, everything is joined-up and serves a purpose i.e. drives an intended action. This expert and timely distribution of content is in effect content marketing. Simply putting content ‘out there’ doesn’t mean you’re doing content marketing. It means you’re generating stuff. But don’t feel too disheartened if you fear your efforts are currently falling into the content for content’s sake category.

Getting the right message, to the right person at the right time may sound straightforward enough, but research shows relatively few organisations are actually working to a documented content strategy that supports this mission. According to The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Marketing Profs 2018 benchmarking survey, 63% of B2B businesses are still generating content without a formalised plan. And even the biggest brands with the most sizeable budgets confess to grappling with being truly customer centric.

Finding the right way forward

A content strategist will draw on robust audience insights to formulate an approach that starts by helping you find the right focus. Separating the content wheat from the marketing chaff by determining which channels to concentrate on, the right set of messages to take to market and the formats that will help you get the most traction. Getting you well away from high volume ‘churn’ and into a content marketing groove that gets results.

Find out how we can help you find the right way forward here

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

-The Content Marketing Institute-

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