Content Is King, But ROI Sits on the Iron Throne

Content marketing was the buzzword darling of the industry only a few years back. Everyone seems to be in the game now, but not all are practicing content marketing effectively.

The key to effective content marketing is building trust by focusing on audience need over product and maximizing the expanding ecosystem of content creation.  Everything that has been created as part of the marketing mix has a role—it’s up to marketers to implement the tools they have to their advantage.

The ultimate goal of any marketing plan is ROI. Where KPIs were once acceptable in content marketing, that’s no longer the case. At the end of the day, marketing is about moving real figures, not just engagement. ROI needs to be the backbone of any content marketing strategy—how to achieve it is the question.

  1. 1. Expand communications beyond the commoditized advertising trap.

    To tell a story, you need to know who your audience is and what they want to hear more of. Likewise, insights-driven creative can be much more effective than pure product promotion. That’s not to say audiences don’t need information on the products and value of the brand—they do—but marketers can tell much more powerful stories by using data to craft emotional stories that reach audiences at their core.

  2. 2. Explore life beyond organic reach.

    There is no room for complacency in content distribution. With the incredible amount of content available out there, it’s more important than ever for marketers to get their content seen. Distribution efforts need to be amplified and expanded, taking on multiple formats across numerous channels.

  3. 3. Use tactics effectively and don’t get caught up in shiny-object syndrome.

    New methods of marketing product come out all the time. It’s important for brands to use them correctly and authentically, rather than just putting something out there to put it out there. Shiny new objects, from Snapchat and influencers to AI and VR, are an important part of the marketing mix, but brands need to step back and look at what levers they are pulling and why. The application and use of these new means in marketing are important—you can’t have the same content year after year—but methods need to be tailored to and appropriate for the brand.

  4. 4. Focus on creating a community between brand and audience.

    Impactful content marketing helps move the needle by remaining authentic and encouraging the audience to want to spend more time with your brand. For content to work, the audience has to identify with the stories and messaging you are putting out there, and that content has to stay true to the brand and the pillars behind it. Consumers will put their money where their mouth is, but to do so, they need to align with the brand and feel a part of the community it creates.

  5. 5. Align and standardize.

    Content carries the brand message to the audience at large and therefore always needs to ladder up to objectives. Likewise, measurement of content needs to be standardized to determine whether the methods being used are actually effective. Consistency allows marketers to look at different pieces in relation to one another and determine which are the best at meeting the goals set for their brand.

Brands need to continually examine how well content performs against brand goals. As content marketing continues to cement its place in brand marketing approach, the strategy behind it needs to remain laser-focused on achieving real ROI.

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