Content marketing and playing it forward

//Content marketing and playing it forward

The days of proprietary content are clearly over.  Today, you gain fans and following by ‘playing’ it forward, pun intended.        

In the Twitter-Tumblr world, everyone is a journalist, a photographer, a curator, a commentator, an opinion-maker, an expert, an authority or an editor. However working without a content strategy is like fishing in muddy waters – you are posting on various forums but you don’t know the real impact of your content sharing.

A recent IBM white paper on “The Content Marketing Challenges” brings up some of these issues. “Content marketing, like any other strategic commitment, requires discipline and consistence,” says the IBM author, revealing that 58% B2B marketers are now spending more of their budgets on content sharing.

According to the Content Marketing Association, those using content marketing spend 19% of their budgets on it, more than the 15% recorded for events, 14% for TV, 11% for online marketing and 10% for print. Other channels mentioned in the survey included direct marketing (9%), outdoor (7%), social (6%) and radio (6%).

Among those who don’t use any form of content marketing, 25% used direct marketing, followed by 18% each for both TV and print.

How to market your content? 

In 5 ways to encourage customers to share your content, market research company Marketo suggests that one creative way of doing it is to weave in a social element into every marketing campaign that you conceive and send out. If your content is good – it will make it compelling for the reader to share it with others and “make every dollar you spent on your marketing, look like two,” assures Sanjay Dhalokia, the chief marketing officer of Marketo.

Good content for social media posting is anything that –
1.         Names the guilty
2.         Reveals interesting facts
3.         Gives the disempowered the will to fight
4.         Celebrates an underdog’s win
5.         Has shock value
6.         Shares an incredible bit of information that startles
7.         Talks about cuddly pets and celebrities (People lover talking about other people)

Devise a content-sharing strategy when:
–          You are launching a new product, service or program
–          You have a report or a study to release
–          You have a compelling story to tell
–          You have won an award or a certification
–          You want one of your important meetings/seminars/discussions to be covered

Innovative ways of sharing content mooted by Marketo are:

1.     Turning it into a contest, incentivize sharing with a coupon-linked promo. E.g. “Pass this information to five FB users and redeem an Axe Deo with every purchase on showing this code at a retail outlet).

2.     Appealing to their sense of altruism (Plenty of that going-on during the election year) .

3.     Co-creating value for your readers through what is known as crowd sourcing. A good example of this, cited in the Marketo report is that of http://www.bookperk.com/, a web property managed by Harper Collins that lets members choose which books can be offered for a discount. Once a reader had made a choice, the site asks them to log into their FB account and share their selection with friends.

There could be thousands of other innovative ways of content-sharing. A leading music artist wanted to use the social medium to generate interest in his new album. The offer was that if someone posts a message from his FB or Twitter account, he/she can listen to the artist’s new CD online before others. The campaign worked and created a lot of pre-launch buzz for the album.

An eMarketer report on content marketing (Content Marketing Roundup) explains, “Content marketing can serve a number of purposes, from establishing thought leadership in the marketplace to attracting new leads and pushing those leads down the purchase funnel.”

However the report also cites obstacles in the path, some of which are tabulated below:

Challenging Obstacles to Achieving Content Marketing Objectives According to Marketing

Professionals Worldwide, Jan 2014                                    % of respondents

Lack of internal content creation resources                                       48%
Writing original articles and blog posts                                             41%
Lack of effective content marketing strategy                                    38%
Inability to measure content marketing ROI                                       31%
Lack of content outsourcing budget                                                  23%
Curating or repurposing existing content                                           20%
Lack of social followers to consume content                                     20%
Lack of marketing and sales alignment                                             17%
Lack of premium content (may require registration)                         14%
(Note: n=521Source: Ascend2, “Content Marketing Benchmark Summary Report,”
Jan 22, 2014.)

Meanwhile, a CMI and MarketingProfs report discovered that Facebook was the most popular platform this year, used by 89% of B2C marketers for content marketing, followed by Twitter (80%), YouTube (72%), LinkedIn (71%), Google+ (55%) and Pinterest (53%).

The days of proprietary content are clearly over.  Today, you gain fan and following among friends and strangers by playing it forward.

(From MLI, Social Marketing Division. As an integral part of our broader services, we provide clients with complete data management solutions including: Data Cleaning, Mailing Campaign Management, De-duplication and In house Database Management)

About MLI

MLI is the leading Direct Marketing company in India, offering integrated multichannel marketing strategies in the B2B and B2C space. The company provides access to all types of mailing lists in India and the rest of the world direct mailing lists, telemarketing lists and email marketing lists and support services for cross-channel marketing.

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