The Talking Content Marketing journey, comes a bit closer to home with Geraint Holliman, Director of Strategy and Planning and Head Of Content Marketing for DirectionGroup. A B2B and B2C agency based in Berkshire.
Geraint is speaking at next months Content Marketing World Sydney event (16th to 18th March). I wanted to find out a bit more about implementing a content strategy and the rewards that come with it.
Six questions, six answers lets have a chat….
Do businesses need to take implementing a content strategy more seriously, rather than a ‘lets do content marketing and see what happens’ approach?
Absolutely. Pretty much of all of the emerging evidence suggests that content marketing, when done well, can be highly effective in engaging and converting customers. The problem, as you suggest, is that most brands engaging in content marketing are doing so on an ad hoc basis.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that most brands I see, who claim to be content marketing, are simply producing content and not doing a great deal of marketing of it or with it! Not enough thought is being given to objectives and measurement and certainly not enough consideration is being given to the strategic direction of that content marketing.
When content is relevant to someone, can the sales process become simpler?
The purpose of content is to drive prospects to a business building outcome for the brand. Relevance can therefore be considered in terms of where a buyer is in their buyer journey. Therefore, we should create and deliver content which is relevant to a buyer’s particular needs at each stage of their decision then they are more likely to engage with it and move on to the next stage of that journey. So I suppose that the answer is yes, it increases the likelihood that they will react positively if the content is relevant to them.
What do you think are the rewards of a content marketing mindset? Is it an audience who listen, is it recognition within a marketplace?
The best reward from content marketing is that you provide information which is relevant, compelling and timely for the customers and which is useful to them, enabling them to make a better decision. The result of that is a better engaged prospect who is more predisposed towards your brand. For me the reward is that, if you do it right, customers actively subscribe to your communication because it is useful rather than seeing it as unwelcome spam.
Do you consider native advertising as a passing fad or a media tool that will grow in strength?
I think native is here to stay. Don’t be fooled, it’s still just advertising, but now it is advertising your content rather than your traditional selling message. I also believe the native market is still far from being fully developed.
My only caution is the contention that because it is called ‘native’ there is some sense that it is hidden or obscured from the audience and is sneaking selling messaging under the radar in the guise of true content. I believe we do need to promote content to help seed it in the consciousness of the audience I just wish native didn’t infer it was being done surreptitiously. Still all those agency media professionals have to find something to do with themselves and native seems the natural home for them.
Does creating content become easier when businesses become influenced from the world around them rather than thinking that everything revolves around ‘the’ product/service?
Good question. I’m not sure it necessarily becomes easier but I do agree that content should always be mostly about the customer and their needs. Customers inherently sense when content is simply thinly disguised selling messages – and when they do detect them, they tend to ignore the content.
In my recent academic paper ‘B2B Digital Content Marketing: marketers’ perceptions of best practice’ (JRIM October 2014), I identified that the key criteria for successful content are that they should be relevant, compelling and timely. Of course, there will be a time within a buyer’s journey when product data IS useful and pivotal to their decision – so product content served at that correct point in their decision making process WILL be considered useful.
Can you tell us about your topic and insights for next months Content Marketing World Sydney presentation?
According to Content Marketing Institute more budget is being allocated to Content Marketing and more content than ever is being created, yet fewer than half of UK brands have a formalised, written strategy for content marketing.
At CMW World Sydney I’m going to be talking be talking about how brands should build a content marketing engine to power their customer engagement and conversion efforts. This session outlines exactly the key elements of a practical, formalised content marketing strategy which builds a content marketing engine to power engagement and build business for brands of any size.
Thanks to Geraint for his insights and what content marketing means to him. Wishing you all the best at Content Marketing World Sydney. To find out more from Geraint:
DirectionGroup Blog: click here
Geraint on Twitter: click here