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As part of an overall marketing strategy, content has been traditionally thought of and managed tactically: a list of deliverables for a campaign or product descriptions for a website. While applying general marketing thinking to content may have worked in the past, with e-commerce continually on the rise and social media having become a ubiquitous part of the marketing ecosystem, this is no longer the case.
Strategy is now everything when it comes to content, and it must be targeted and specific to be effective. For content strategy to work, marketers must make a fundamental shift: content marketing is no longer about managing your brand but rather about leading a brand experience.
Forrester studies support this new focus:
“Making the transition to effective content marketing involves a cultural shift in the marketing organization, from pushing product-centric messages at customers to pulling customers in with valuable and useful content. To keep focused during this journey, marketing leaders must have clear goals aimed at customer behavior and relationships.”
Rich content created specifically for your consumer’s experience is the fuel that will drive the change from traditional brand management and marketing approaches to something more relevant for your target audience.
"By refocusing your strategy to address the specific demands of content, marketers have an opportunity to build new engagement possibilities with consumers"
But figuring out the strategies for building that brand experience can be tricky, so we’ve broken down six key marketing shifts that can help build an experiential content approach:
1. Shift Your Mindset.
Instead of considering your brand another asset to be managed, imagine potential interactions with your brand and how you can engage and delight your consumers through these interactions. According to AdWeek, “Customers aren’t looking for brands to define their journeys, they want brands to design experiences that help them create their own journeys.” By putting your customer at the center of this experience, you can elevate not only brand interest but also brand engagement.
2. Shift Your Objectives.
Don’t just push products. According to aforementioned Forrester study, marketers should realign their content objectives to move away “from pushing product-centric messages at customers to pulling them in with valuable and useful content.”
3. Shift Your Communications.
Brands need to move away from one-way push messaging towards an open dialogue with consumers. According to the aforementioned AdWeek article, “This fundamental shift away from traditional communications modes to interactive conversations will enable marketers to drive new levels of personalization, trust and, ultimately, more fulfilling experiences.”
Customer-controlled conversations across paid, owned, and earned media (e.g., social, user-generated content) help keep the interactions between brands and consumers open and at your consumers’ fingertips.
4. Shift the Frequency.
Campaign-driven communications with rigid timelines fail to engage in the content space. Instead, opt for a more holistic schedule that is always-onand is adaptable to engagement levels.
5. Shift Participation.
When developing a content strategy, you need more input than just the marketing department. By engaging leadership, asking for employee inputs from across your organization, and asking for employee ideas and sharing them, you can gain better insights into your brands. The Content Marketing Institute recommends: “Putting your brand’s entire team—no matter the department—onto the task of helping with content can make a big difference. It might even end up launching creative avenues you never expected.”
6. Shift Measurement.
Revenue growth is always a key measure of any marketing campaign. But when it comes to content, you need more insights than revenue. Measuring lifetime customer value and the emotional resonance of content campaigns offers more valuable insights into the effectiveness of your campaign. Further, a CMI article states, if you “tie your (content marketing) KPIs to…specific goals, so you can gain insight into how well you’re progressing toward them.”
By refocusing your strategy to address the specific demands of content, marketers have an opportunity to build new engagement possibilities with consumers. If you make some key shifts in your approach, you can achieve the holy grail of all brand marketing: consumer loyalty.
About Samantha Romano: Throughout her career, Samantha has provided a range of sales enablement, marketing, and research support to drive marketing and business development teams. With a central focus on written communications across her 18-year career, her goal is to rid the world of bad grammar, one comma splice at a time. In her current role with SGK as a content development specialist, Samantha researches market and consumer trends and translates those insights into thought leadership and other materials that drive brand harmony. Samantha holds a M.A. in Writing & Literature from DePaul University.