Content marketing used to be blogs, audio, maybe a video here or there. Yet last year, according to research from the Content Council, content budgets went from 12.6% two years ago, to 23.6% of marketing budgets today – and they estimate that might become 1/3 of marketing budgets dedicated to this nebulous thing called content by 2017.
Right now creating content means:
- Do it yourself – editorial and journalism skillsets, plus creative
- Hire someone – same issues as above, plus expectations that somehow anyone else’s content should bury your results.
- Get the audience to do it – user generated content, and measurable social sharing are available…but you lose total control (which is why this often works…)
What’s lacking is confidence in this new world of content marketing driven by mobile, where selling isn’t allowed and measuring activity with real, actionable data is the goal.
Content is not an ad on a site which most advertisers trust. It is a piece of a sequence that most create randomly, even today.
“Indeed, only 52% of marketers surveyed by the Content Council expressed confidence current measurability standards, compared to 65% of survey respondents in the media industry.”
- Content marketing is based on an old model, search. Everywhere people say, start with the keywords, because that is what people search for…but people on social aren’t searching.
- Search has a goal, while social media does not; if your content model begins with a behavior that has high intention to buy (search), that’s great. But if your model is social, the same actions you take in search will poison your social results, because the content has to guide, subtlely and slowly, the consumer.
- No marketer likes subtle and slow, they want fast and now. Content marketing budgets should grow over time, from 10-20% initial return in 30 days to full conversion 6 months later, depending on product.
- Even this is just one model that cannot be copied, because content marketing is truly a fingerprint. Not just of you, the brand, or your business, but of the customer, because it’s their social story you are entering.
It’s easy to understand why so many businesses are lost, because the model for creating content is based on an old blogging and podcasting model, content designed to sell ads around.
Now the merger of the content and the ad is converging in a term “native advertising”, which while not totally accurate, is the first step to measuring how content can market and drive traffic, without slamming people over the head with salespeak and act now buttons.
If you really want to trust your content marketing, you will custom design the approach, timing, events, and pattern interrupts (where you interrupt the routines for your content, and your audience), and gaining actionable data on your audience that can actually benefit them, and you.
The problem with content marketers, most marketers never created content or generated user content, and most content creators never marketed (and sometimes don’t like marketing at all).
It’s time to bury the bias and discover the truth; you have to test your story driving social traffic, like you test your marketing, only measure over 6 months, not 1.