To be clear, I didn’t coin this phrase, but I certainly agree wholeheartedly that content may be king, but marketing is queen.
And, I’ve written about this before … the notion that content marketing, at its core, IS marketing.
Why marketing is queen
In a slightly dated study by AOL and Nielsen, 27 MILLION pieces of content are shared every DAY! In fact, we create as much content in 2 days as we did from the invention of writing to 2003! And, this metric is dated 2010. By now, we likely create as much content in a single day as we did from the dawn of time until 2003.
That’s a LOT of content and your little piece will go unnoticed unless you incorporate marketing into your content strategy. I mean, there’s a reason they call it content marketing.
Now, many firms hire journalists to implement their content marketing. And, journalists have many fine qualities and qualifications for writing content — they know how to research, how to write, how to interview, they’re relatively cheap ….
What journalists lack, however, is marketing backgrounds to aid with determining WHAT to write about, how to incorporate subtle influence and build calls to action (CTA), an understanding of the consumer decision-making process and how attitudes, beliefs, norms, social interactions, and other aspects of consumer behavior impact consumers, how to include customer support and build word of mouth, and other aspects of marketing. Don’t forget, content marketing ISN’T journalism, you’re creating content with the idea of stimulating some action — sharing, signing up, buying — that supports your market performance. You’re not creating content just to get read.
Unfortunately, many marketing folks lack skills necessary to effectively manage DIGITAL marketing tasks — they aren’t trained in SEO (keyword strategy), creating social media engagement, digital analytics, online consumer behavior, graphic design, rudimentary web design, … Of course, journalists lack these same skills.
Because content marketing, in fact ALL digital marketing, increasingly requires cross-functional skills, there isn’t a single functional area with the skills set required for effective content marketing implementation.
How to bring marketing into your content marketing
Whether you hire marketing folks or non-marketing folks to manage your content marketing efforts, here are some marketing tasks they’ll need:
Content marketing isn’t just putting something up and hoping it has an impact. Monitoring performance of each piece of content in terms of intermediate results, such as view, sharing, etc. and market performance goals, such as lead generation, sales, subscribing, etc.
Content marketers need to understand metrics, be able to access and interpret reports from Google Analytics, etc, conduct A/B testing, and basically decide what’s working and what isn’t.
A critical aspect of business intelligence, as it applies to content marketing, is knowing WHAT to measure. Instead of focusing on vanity metrics, like Fans, Followers, metrics that impact the success of your content marketing strategy are necessary. That means evaluating both the success of your content — # readers, # shares — and its ability to drive market performance — drive visitors down the funnel toward achieving marketing goals.
While social media marketing ISN’T advertising, you still have market oriented goals — or should have. Every piece of content produced should work toward building your brand and influence prospective buyers to consider your brand.
Your content marketing goals should include being a thought leader in your product area, the place users turn to learn what’s going on in your industry. Or, you should be the source of interesting, helpful, fun information and stories.
Cialdini recently updated his seminal book on influence and uses the principles very effectively to subtly motivate markets toward action, including the Obama campaign. Knowing how to use these tools effectively is critical for effective content marketing.
Understanding how consumers behave, the steps they traverse in their product journeys, how they think and feel, how they behave in groups and are influenced by group members, what they recall and how they learn — all these aspects of consumer behavior help determine your content marketing strategies.
Knowing principles of consumer behavior is only the start, however, and having market research skills provides the ability to query your target audience and direct actions toward the most profitable actions.
While consumer behavior isn’t linear and predictions may not be entirely accurate, understanding consumer behavior suggests the most likely actions driving market performance.
Whether you need a complete analytics strategy, some help with brand marketing, or some consulting to optimize your existing social media marketing, we can fill your digital marketing funnel. We can help you do your own social media marketing better or do it for you with our community managers, strategists, and account executives. You can request a FREE introductory meeting or sign up for my email newsletter to learn more about social media marketing.