Content marketing is an effort by brands to connect with customers and provide them with value in exchange for their attention. For many corporates, content marketing is a relatively new space. Some brands feel the pressure to find new ways to connect with their audience more than others. However, changing consumer behaviour means that content marketing is becoming the only way to reach customers. This means marketers have an important role to gain buy-in from senior executives. Here are 7 content marketing rules that senior executives must understand in order to grasp the importance of content marketing for decision making:
Brand objectives are a golden thread.
A brand must identify its objectives for participating in content marketing. These objectives then inform the creation of the strategy, all the way through to execution and reporting. Objectives can include:
- Increasing reach
- Growing customer engagement
- Improving brand sentiment
- Growing leads
- Specific goals and conversions
When objectives are identified, decide how progress will be measured and reported on. What metrics will be valuable and what tools are required? A content marketing strategy is not accidentally created. Start with strong, clear objectives and use them to guide every step.
Every strategy should be unique.
There is a world of difference between engaging in content marketing because “everyone is doing it” versus knowing what it means for your brand. Think specifically. Content marketing is a tool that can close certain gaps for customers and teach them why your brand is amazing. What specific issues are you seeking to tackle and how? Content marketing is a tool to evolve your brand’s marketing model. There is no one size fits all approach.
Content is horizontal- not vertical.
This means that content stakeholders exist in many different areas of a business. Content is not a function that can exist in a silo. For example, an HR department can produce or oversee content for internal marketing. Marketing departments can require certain IT support. Website hosts need to understand what kind of content will live on a brand’s website. Content and web development teams need to work together on SEO, and so on. There is a lot of convergence when it comes to content.
This means content marketing is everyone’s job.
While it may be intuitive for the Marketing department to lead content initiatives with an agency, the responsibility is more far reaching. Everyone from sales to senior management needs to help with finding, producing and distributing content. There is no one specific area of the business that is responsible for content by itself. The traditional framework of business operation must evolve, because the market has evolved.
Consumer feedback does not equal a crisis.
Many senior executives struggle with content marketing because they fear feedback. No brand will spend its life on social media with no customer criticism. When a negative comment pops up, some executives believe it is equivalent to a brand crisis. This is not the case. Customer criticism presents an opportunity to build loyalty as the public observes how the brand responds. When and if a crisis does occur, a well-crafted crisis management plan will resolve the issue. This means senior executives must also commit to adhere to the crisis management plan, and trust the marketers’ judgement.
Make resources available
A major problem for content marketers is lack of resources. A dedicated content marketing schedule requires a lot of time and effort, as well as other resources. For example, writing a blog post or shooting a video take a lot of time. If a brand is collaborating with an influencer, that partnership also requires resources. Learn to manage expectations about what can be done. What timeframe, cost and quality level are feasible? Remember: things can be good and fast, good and cheap or fast and cheap- but never all three!
Research, research, research!
There is no shortage of examples of brands that are doing it right. When in doubt, always do your due diligence! What brands are in similar sector or tackling the problems your brand is facing? Put together a robust set of case studies to allow senior executives to go through them and buy in.
Stephanie Taderera is a Content Executive at Magna Carta Reputation Management Consultants. To learn more about how we can help your brand\’s reputation, contact us today.