A FIX FOR THE CONTENT CONUNDRUM.


Recently, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend an industry conference on content marketing strategy given by Robert Rose, a noted authority on the subject and current Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory. It was intriguing to hear his insights and in-depth analysis on the many facets of content marketing and the lengths to which he’s taken the subject.

According to the Content Marketing Institute and The Content Advisory group that Robert is part of, content marketing is defined as: “… a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

While there are virtually hundreds of different kinds of content, they generally fall into the following categories which include: Blogging, Longform Content, Case Studies, White Papers, eBooks, Infographics, Checklists, Video, Interviews, Social Media Posts, GIFs and Memes.

During Robert’s talk, I was encouraged to hear him speak about our role as marketers and the ability we have to increase the value of content with our clients in order to improve how they build and grow their audiences. Sitting in our weekly digital team or account planning meetings, or when talking with clients, I’m reminded of the challenges we face in creating more strategic content when the need to fill the content pipeline across all sales and marketing efforts is never-ending. This is especially true considering the constantly growing number of media channels and online platforms.

For most small-to-medium sized businesses, this “Content Conundrum” as I like to call it, can be extremely difficult given the demand as well as the variety of content needs. Most often, content is being created by a single person within a smaller organization or an internal staff that can’t possibly address every type of need. Even those companies who work with an outside agency are often focused on the next project or campaign from a content standpoint instead of taking a more wholistic approach.

Having the ability to take a strategic approach to content by creating a master plan of sorts for an overall content marketing strategy can be the difference between simply writing another blog or case study to laying the foundation for an overall content marketing strategy plan that touches every facet of your organization. In the best-case scenario, the plan addresses all the different types of media while working to build trust with your audiences and supporting your company’s purpose. As you can imagine, this is not something that happens quickly or easily, but with the right roadmap it makes every piece of content better. In Robert’s talk, he shared a lot about “Roadmaps” and I’d be glad to provide you with the details so you don’t have to spend 2 days in a workshop!

Here are some notes on key areas that Robert touched on in his presentation. There’s a lot more to these but they’ll provide you with an idea on what he’s advocating.

  • The Content Planning Framework consists of 5 areas including:
    • RESOURCES: Model & Team
    • PURPOSE: Goals & Focus
    • AUDIENCE: Personas & Story
    • FRAME: Governance & Process
    • VALUE: Monetize & Measure
  • Historically, media companies as far back as the 19th century drove marketing messages and, in many cases, the focus was on advertising versus actual news
  • Today, media companies are looking a lot like agencies, and product companies are looking a lot more like media companies
  • While large businesses drive much of the media, niche audiences are viable business models
  • We are all in the audience business
  • The classic marketing or advertising model builds a process to filter the most likely customers in time, whereas the content marketing model makes markets and places the emphasis on value and the growth of audiences as business assets
  • A client’s Content Marketing model can be identified as one of four business models that can help determine future goals, plans and expansion. These include:
    • THE PERFORMER; Content-as-a-Department Marketing Strategy
    • THE PLATFORM; Content-as-a-Business Business Model
    • THE PLAYER; Content-as-a-Contributor Marketing Tactic
    • THE PROCESSOR; Content-as-a-Service Business Strategy
  • A Content Marketing Plan should consist of the Content Purpose, Audience Investment, and an Operational Roadmap
  • Ultimately, we need to know where we want to add value to the audience journey. Is it at the Discover, Learn, Try, Transaction, Use, Adopt, or Return stage or experiences?
  • Getting to the purpose of your content has everything to do with trust, whether it involves earning trust (Subscribe), evolving trust (Win), or deepening trust (Grow)
  • Define audience personas using the 5 steps involving Detail, Discover, Decide, Differ, and Design to create meaningful and relevant stories

As you can tell, Robert’s expertise and background in content marketing runs deep and it’s reflected in the fact that he’s often asked to speak at industry events on top of serving his own clients.

When it comes to content creation at AFFIRM, we have our own methods of developing strategic content for ourselves and our clients with the focus on being relevant and engaging. We may not use all the methods that Robert speaks of, but after hearing his talk, we’re taking a fresh look at how we can integrate his principles into our process in the months ahead.

At the moment, and from purely a messaging standpoint, I’ve always considered us as an agency that’s bent on delivering the Right Message to the Right Audience and using the Right Media. Of course, this isn’t the traditional Three R’s of marketing – Reach, Repetition, and Relevance, but they’ve served us well for the past 30 plus years and wherever we go from here, our content will only get better.

To learn more about Robert Rose and his insights on Content Marketing Strategy, visit: https://contentadvisory.net/ or contact Steve Stocker, Principal – Chief Creative Officer at AFFIRM.

AFFIRM is a full-service marketing communications agency with headquarters in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. The agency serves local, regional and national clients in Business-to-Business and Consumer markets and has special expertise providing social marketing, transit, transportation and health benefits marketing and communications. For more information, call 262-650-9900, or visit www.AFFIRMAgency.com.


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