Nigel Williams, CMO at Quadrotech, on the evolving pace of Content Marketing.
Content Marketing continues to develop apace as a discipline. One of the most notable changes of late is the addition of content operations, which is now rapidly gaining adoption. This is important, as the addition of operations to a function is a hallmark of maturity; even the legal department has embraced ops now – transforming an often conservative and technically averse function to a much more data oriented, tech savvy discipline.
Content Operations brings the operational rigour of process and metrics to Content Marketing, which can be transformational. Measuring the impact of content is still not easy, but there are many advances. We’ve recently implemented HighSpot as a Sales-oriented Content Management system, and that is providing us with some interesting analytics. It is interesting to see that over the last couple of years software vendors have been embracing the term also – see the post The Kapost Identity Struggle: Content Marketing or Content Operations?
This development is pivotal, but it is by no means the only change. In the table below, I’ve identified 15 shifts in Content Marketing, encompassing how we define content, its purpose, what we need to know to make it work effectively, the type of tactics we use and what the function is accountable for.
In my view, the thinking in the left-hand side of the chart leaves content marketing in its traditional position – important but largely ineffective, with up to 80% of content poorly utilised – a depressing statistic I’ve seen unchanged at Marketing conferences for the last decade. Too many Content Marketing teams work incredibly hard on a massive ‘Bill of Materials’ list, most of which will remain unconsumed. The big shift that alters that is to embrace digital engagement as the primary metric of content success – not the volume of content produced.
By way of contrast, the thinking on the right-hand side applies many new developments in other areas of B2B Marketing to Content Marketing. For example, moving from a knowledge of the buyer’s role and title to an understanding of the buying team, its members and their needs embraces the move to target buying teams rather than individuals. This move is often operationalised by the Demand Unit Waterfall.
Before we come to the table, I’ll highlight one development that I think deserves special attention. This is the shift from using SEO to track keywords to deploying what Sirius Decisions refer to as an SEO universe. This is defined as an identified, prioritized and categorized list of keywords which will drive search authority, content relevance and digital discoverability. This requires a significant change in thinking for many organisations, from picking a set of key words to building a highly granular taxonomy based on analysis. It isn’t an easy shift to make, but it forms a much better set of foundations for digital marketing.
The two lists in the table illustrate that whilst there are many new developments in Content Marketing, keeping pace actually requires keeping your content thinking up to date based on many other Marketing developments. That is challenging, but it does make the discipline fascinating. If you see any developments I’ve missed or have a point of view to share, please do leave me a comment.