As the content industry matures into an estimated $4 billion industry this is cause for celebration: marketing has ideologically moved away from unhelpful, shouty, interruptive advertising to delivering utility through entertaining and informative content that meets consumers’ needs and lifestyle interests.
However, in all the excitement of ‘brands becoming publishers’ many of them are also dealing with publisher’s woes (as well as the benefits).
Scaling content production
Perhaps, the biggest issue facing brands who are committed to content marketing is the simple issue of feeding the beast.
It’s one thing to orchestrate ten, 20 or even 40 pieces of original content for a marketing campaign, but content marketing is a marathon – not a campaign. Unlike media organisations, brands are not institutionally or operationally geared towards the task of producing content indefinitely. Despite some encouraging signs, very few brands have yet to work out how to refactor traditional marketing departments to emulate the processes of editors, subs and producers.
The solution to these issues of content scaling is usually met through content curation.
Companies such as Newscred and Feedmagnet enable brands to regularly ingest and republish feeds of licensed third-party content from reputable sources to bolster their own branded content propositions.
Knowing what to write about
Another issue is the problem of knowing what to write or create each day for your audience.
Whilst from the outset this seems simple enough – it becomes a whole lot more difficult once you realise that content marketing is not about creative ways of talking about your product (that’s advertising), but instead a way of appealing to the various lifestyle needs and interests that concern the audience who might eventually buy your product.
Fortunately, the rise of content analytics – technology which extracts the topics, people, places, companies and concepts mentioned in a piece of content – has made it easier than ever for content marketers to solve this issue.
Using content analytics, content intelligence platforms can track interactions with a brand’s content and use it to build detailed profiles about their readerships’ topics of interest. Whether needing to understand what will resonate with their audiences’ as a whole or as individuals, content marketers are now in an even better position than before to know what content topics are interesting to their audience.
Access and categorisation of content
When adopting production cycles as rapid as any major media publication categorisation and easy access to archived content becomes a huge issue. Particularly as once evergreen content is rapidly consigned to the sands of time with each new piece of content published.
Fortunately, content management services such as AlchemyAPI add a layer of machine-readable data (meta data) to content by tagging it automatically (much like the blue tags at the top of this article; telling it where to go and be archived in The Wall blog’s CMS). This automatic tagging service not only makes it easier for content marketers to search for and retrieve content – it also means they don’t have to manually tag or organise content each time it is produced. Something which is particularly useful when dealing with large amounts in a short space of time.
Distributing content to new audiences
It’s one thing to create content. It’s another to have it seen by the right people.
Whether we are prepared to admit it or not, all of us are aware of branded content marketing initiatives that look good and are rich in content but are just not getting the unique visits that they deserve. The issue here is distribution.
Companies such as Outbrain and Content Amp are taking on this challenge and alleviating the pressure for content marketers, by building relationships with publisher sites with large audiences, and then automatically seeding client content onto these sites under the guise of native advertising. You’ve most likely seen this in widgets below an article which say “More from around the web” or “You might also be interested in…”.
By allowing content amplification technologies to link to their content from more popular sites, brands have a chance to get more inbound visits from new (and as-yet unengaged) readers that they otherwise would not have had access to normally.
Jonny Rose is head of content for Idio