If any industry vertical stands to gain from the current content marketing and content development craze, it is the providers of content management software and solutions.
Content marketing has dramatically changed the digital marketing department yet many enterprises simply aren't prepared.
Website Magazine interviewed Ian Truscott, VP of Product Marketing at SDL Content Technologies Division, on the popularity of content marketing among brands, how content helps these brands build trust with consumers, and how marketers can add some sizzle and splash to their digital content strategy.
WM: Why has content marketing become so popular among brands? Haven't digital marketers been using content to drive website traffic and conversions since the 'Net's inception?
IT: I agree, but I think as we see our use of the Internet mature as a business platform and move away from a technical, task based function, we are seeing distinct business disciplines and best practices being defined. Web Governance, Content Strategy and Content Marketing are all examples of things that people have been doing that are now coalescing into these new professions.
WM: What is it about content that helps build trust with a brand? Is there any direct evidence that content marketing results in increased revenue?
IT: That’s an interesting question after your point that “digital marketers been using content to drive website traffic and conversions since the 'Net's inception?” The answer to your question about revenue is a very firm yes – it’s just we haven’t always called in Content Marketing.
I recently read a very nicely written blog post by Theresa Regli at the Real Story Group where she suggested that content sets the scene and the expectations for the brand before people experience it. She writes very eloquently about how she had an expectation about Provence, the sights and the smells, well before she travelled there. This is the role content marketing plays in projecting who you are, and the quality of your service and products.
The fact that we are now recognizing Content Marketing as a business discipline (and have far more tools and data available) means we are also measuring our content marketing success – not just through revenue uplift or website clicks – but through brand sentiment and brand metrics that the big data of social enables us to tap into and are essential as we engage with our consumers across multiple channels.
WM: How should a brand approach content marketing? What should be the primary objective and what's the best way to measure success or failure?
IT: I am a big fan of Robert Rose who writes on the subject of Content Marketing and I strongly recommend his book. I follow his view that the primary approach is to define and then tell your distinct and differentiated story or stories. When doing this, organizations need to take an outside-in approach and put their audience at the center of that story. You then need to figure out the best way to get that story across, based on where your audience is - on a Facebook page, Twitter, your website, an email or a combination of these.
The objective and measurement metric should be no different to whatever reason you are doing any digital marketing – content marketing is not separated from that, it’s a defined tactic that is part of the overall marketing mix. One thing I would say on that though is that those metrics should be considered very carefully as they can be divisive and drive skewed behavior not in-line with the broader business objectives. If for example you measure website hits, then why not just publish a video of a cat playing the piano on your homepage? Because that’s not necessarily going to drive sales of widgets or raise brand awareness of you being a serious law firm.
WM: How does a marketer create "sizzle, flash, and the occasional splash?" in the content marketing efforts? Any best practice guidance you could share from your own or your clients experience?
IT: HA! I like that “sizzle, flash and the occasional splash” - sounds like a great title for a blog post. If I can turn your question around slightly, I think perhaps you need to ask whether your audience wants “sizzle and flash.”
In our own experience we sell Enterprise software through a B2B channel to two primary IT and marketing buyer audiences. The influencers in our market are looking for different qualities in us like dependability, trust and a level of thought leadership that results in a business partnership with us that will remain contemporary and relevant to their challenges in engaging their audience.
Therefore the primary tactic for an organization such as ours is to establish credibility. And we do this through recognition by industry analysts and trade publications; by building commercial credibility with customer case studies/references and technical credibility and by building a community that makes developing on our software becomes an aspiration. And then sharing these stories.
WM: Tell Website Magazine readers about how SDL supports brand's content marketing initiative.
IT: SDL has a range of products that touch the customer journey at various points that we describe as Global Customer Experience Management; from managing and publishing content through our SDL Tridion product, to content translation through our translations services and technology, to our FredHopper content recommendation engine, to gaining insight through social intelligence technology (SM2) and managing the whole campaign and analytics.