3 Best Practices for Content Marketing

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Customer Strategy
Marketing
Today's rapid proliferation of digital channels has put the need for constant, relevant content front and center for marketers. But many lack the time and resources necessary to create impactful content marketing.

Today's rapid proliferation of digital channels has put the need for constant, relevant content front and center for marketers. But many lack the time and resources necessary to create impactful content marketing.

To meet marketers' growing need to deliver content to customers and prospects, The CMO Council, along with NetLine, last week launched the Content ROI Center, an online resource dedicated to helping marketing organizations improve the performance and return of their growing investments in content origination, multichannel formatting, targeting, and delivery across the entire customer lifecycle.

I spoke with Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, about the launch of the site, and he said buyers want contextual insights and to receive an educational view of products. In doing so, companies need to become trusted knowledge brokers. Many marketers fall short here, offering content that is overly technical, self-serving, self-promotional, and irrelevant. Here, Neale-May offers three best practices for content marketing.

1. Have a clear focus. Neale-May said first and foremost, marketers must have a clear view of what the content should achieve. "When it comes to content, it's not random acts of content generation. You have to have a clear view and focus of where it will be directed. You have to have content that's based on market engagement," he said.

2. Be timely, topical, and has all the requisite packaging. Marketers need to offer versions of content that can be easily consumed. "Content is like fresh vegetables with a limited shelf life--it has to be displayed in a way that is appealing."

3. Find out what resonates with your audience. Think through the delivery chain and content consumption patterns of your audiences and what resonates with them. "Most people don't get into that level of analysis and don't track how content is consumed and shared. Nor do they have any insights into level of influence they have. In a ways they're producing content in a vacuum," he offered.

Whether you're a B2C or B2B marketer, content is critical in both the pre-sales qualification and throughout customers' buying lifecycles. How well it's presented and how meaty and meaningful it is can largely determine how well the brand performs in the marketplace. According to Neale-May, "It's a content world.... If you're not looking at who's using your content and why, then you're missing opportunities to engage with your audience."

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