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‘Marketing Is Like Friendship’: 3 Keys to Always-On Content

“Marketing is like a friendship. There are lots of pivotal moments in a friendship, like parties, but you don’t get invited if you’re not part of the regular conversation.”

Those words come from Mark Walker, the head of content marketing at Eventbrite UK. In the past, you’d create a campaign for a set amount of time and try to hit some isolated goals for that campaign. Now, the cadence for publishing is much more fluid. There’s always someone posting, tweeting, snapping.

On May 25, at Contently’s London salon, Walker spoke about how the relationship between marketers and consumers has evolved. Consumers are always on mobile devices and social networks, so why shouldn’t brands be, too? Walker stressed that the campaign approach isn’t obsolete; it’s just different. Today’s consumers expect a mix of content: both constant content from social streams and bedrock marketing collateral like e-books that focus on major issues.

But being ready 24/7 can be both exhausting and expensive if marketers don’t have the right system in place. As Nikhil Kalanjee, Hewlett Packard’s digital marketing and social media lead said: “People realize it’s good to talk in between the spikes, but the resource and coordination are missing.”

If those are the problems, here are some potential solutions.

Be patient

Being “on” all the time is hard work regardless of what industry you’re in or what topics you cover. It’s essentially a content marketing marathon, and you’ll need to spend money to run it.

Odds are, you’re not going to start sprinting right away. The best advice is to start slowly and show quick results. During the event, Walker talked about the value of using free software to get started. He also explained how keeping his tech separate from the rest of the organization proved to be a blessing, allowing his team to be far more flexible and independent.

Don’t create everything yourself

Unless you have an unlimited budget, you probably can’t hire a whole team of full-time writers and editors to be at the ready. But if your goal is to develop an always-on strategy, you can still produce enough content by relying on freelancers and existing resources.

“The number of pieces you’re producing doesn’t matter,” Kalanjee said. “It’s what’s coming back from the audience that counts.”

“I’m not a big fan of in-house production either in the company or in agencies,” Kalanjee said. “It’s hard to find people in the company who can tell good stories, and agencies can get stale.” To fill out the publishing cadence, Kalanjee also stressed the value of curation: “Our content is about forty percent curated, sixty percent created, and I want to move to more curated content in the future,” he said.

Don’t get seduced by quantity

Adopting an always-on content strategy doesn’t mean you have to publish incessantly.

“The number of pieces you’re producing doesn’t matter,” Kalanjee said. “It’s what’s coming back from the audience that counts.”

If news breaks in your industry, you need to be nimble enough to cover it before it’s stale. If your consumers tweet you about a customer service issue, you should have the ability to get back to them quickly.

Still, there are ways to use resources more efficiently to maximize your output, like investing in divisible content. This month, Chris Marais, who runs digital marketing for Nationwide, plans to halve his content production to spend more creating “hero pieces.”

Why? Because creating more content only fuels better results to a point. Even if you scale content production, there’s no guarantee your audience will grow at the same scale.

“We’ve hit a point of diminishing returns from publishing more,” Walker said.“But I don’t believe we’re compromising on quality, and we’d be found out if we were.”

Image by Getty
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