3 Hard Content Marketing Truths

This week, I’m on a pilgrimage in the desert. No, not the one my Jewish nana really wants me to take; it’s the one my CMO (very easily) talked me into—the SiriusDecisions Summit in Las Vegas, which secretly has the reputation as one of the most insightful marketing events on Earth.

Each day, I’ll share what I learn on the ground from foundational courses, dozens of case studies, and keynote presentations introduced by 2013 EDM jams.

1. Good content marketing is hard

As most content marketing surveys tell us, everyone is investing in content by now. Most marketers accept that quality content is an essential part of effective digital marketing, but relatively few folks are doing it well.

Sirius lead researcher Phyllis Davidson laid out some hard truths during the summit on this topic: 60-70 percent of content is unused, and not because we forgot about it. Her original research revealed that most content just wasn’t good enough to use. It’s worse than useless; it has the potential to be detrimental to your brand.

Hearing this data almost felt like an intervention, and as an industry, we have to be better. That means putting in some hard work and accepting that…

2. We have to evolve beyond mediocre content strategy

There’s no magic retargeting tool or single hire that can drag a large enterprise out of content marketing mediocrity. A great hire can help, of course, but that needs to come with a commitment to building a strong content strategy from the ground up.

For large brands that struggle to handle all their content floating around, a content audit is a good place to start. Sirius presented a compelling framework for identifying all of your content, eliminating or consolidating low performers, and creating a new system of organization, activation, and optimization. The framework ensures that the quality content you produce actually gets used properly.

The importance of auditing and managing how content is used across the enterprise came up again in Contently’s case study with Manulife. Shawna Dennis, Manulife’s head of content, detailed how her company avoided $1.2 million in marketing costs in six months by using Contently to optimize and re-use content globally.

Ultimately, this is hard work. According to Sirius, the full content strategy transformation roadmap takes between six and 12 months. It involves going beyond content strategy basics (“this is the content we’re going to create, this is where we’re going to publish it”) to advanced content strategy (“here’s the role that content plays in every aspect of our larger marketing strategy.”)

Admittedly, the framework in the tweet below may seem a little frightening at first. But it’s also necessary if you want to maximize the impact of your marketing and gain an advantage over your competition. (Which is part of the reason we’ve committed to developing a content strategy with all of our clients and plan on incorporating a lot of our favorite aspects of the SiriusDecisions model.)

3. You have to up your marketing conference hype videos

I think we can all agree that SiriusDecisions has set a new standard for marketing conference hype videos. Try to top that.

Image by Kaboompics / Pexels

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