One of the risks in marketing is the tendency we all have to get caught in a habit. We all develop a certain way of doing things, and we convince ourselves this is the only way to do it, even when circumstances change.
As the conversations around the marketing table often begin with, “At my last company we…”
That’s not to say that experience isn’t important, or that principles don’t exist because they do and they matter. However, if there’s one thing the internet did for marketing, it showed us how dramatically things can change – and that they are changing at increasingly faster pace.
This means we must, as marketers, maintain a student’s mindset, continuously challenge assumptions, and actively seek out new ideas. That’s the common denominator among the articles (and one podcast) included in this week’s Unscripted Marketing links [UML].
As it is on the occasional Saturday, I’ve vetted three resources below, wrapped in thought, and recommend them for your perusal.
1) Content marketers as librarians
“If you double the side of a square, you increase the area by a factor of four. If you double the side of a cube, you increase the volume by a factor of eight. Small change, big impact.”
That’s how Jimmy Daly begins his piece – 5 Content Marketing Power Laws – for Animalz a marketing agency and it had me hooked as a reader. There are many knowledge nuggets in his piece, but one that really stood out was the difference between thinking of content marketing as a library as opposed to a publication:
“A publication relies on getting views from the articles published that week. They end up publishing way too much content in an attempt to maintain traffic. It’s like shoveling coal into a furnace – if you stop shoveling, the engine stops running.
A library is an evergreen source of information that can earn traffic for months or years. Readers discover content via search engines when they need it. Content is more detailed and less frequent but produces outsized returns. This is where the leverage exists and why it’s an essential power law.”
His idea centers around the importance of organic search. While I’m all in on the compound returns of content marketing, the benefit of thinking like a publisher is the value of growing a base of subscribers that know, like and trust your organization.
Even so, the idea that content marketers should think like a librarian, rather than a publisher is a refreshing take that reaches outside the typical content marketing echo chamber.
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2) The long-term value of content marketing
I’ve always found it’s a hard sell to pitch a marketing (or PR) program to a CMO that won’t result in leads or deals in the next quarter. It’s not that marketing leaders don’t see the value, it’s that it’s easier to articulate the value of last touch attribution campaigns in an executive meeting where marketing follows the vice president of sales with a numbers-driven pipeline report.
Yet Bethany Johnson makes a solid case in – 18 Non-Monetary Ways Content Marketing Benefits Your Business. This was her guest post on the Content Advisory for Robert Rose. Despite the title, these ideas are high value, which is pretty clear in her first example about data:
“Look no further than Under Armour’s acquisition of mobile apps MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness to see this business benefit in action. The apps themselves are a unique content marketing outlet for the athletic apparel brand, sure. But just imagine over 200 million users divulging information like fitness goals, caloric intake, apparel tastes, nutrition details, workout preferences, and sleep habits… all while engaging with your content.”
If I were to add one more “non-monetary” but high value use case for content marketing, it would be about strategically building relationships through content. It’s also the reason why I’m prone to say PR people are the best-kept secret in content marketing.
3) Rising influence of creative in content marketing
The UK team at LinkedIn took an underperforming ebook created by the US team, redesigned, polished it up with better creative and better title. Today it’s known as The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn.
For anyone that’s straddled the Atlantic Ocean in marketing, that’s a delicious piece of trivia for ‘marketeers’ from Jason Miller of LinkedIn in an interview with Kerry O’Shea Gorgone. His commentary was part of a Marketing Smarts podcast titled: Create a Content Strategy That Rocks: Jason Miller of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
I believe his testimony underscores the rising importance of creative in content marketing:
“For a ‘Big Rock‘ piece of content like ‘The Secret Sauce‘ or ‘The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide,’ we probably get 100 or so different creatives for the ads and for the blog headers and for everything. We test everything to see what works. Once we run the test, we find which one wins, and turn the one-off that’s underperforming and move the budget over to the one that is [performing] and do another test. We probably have 50 or 60 tests going on at any given time.”
If you even dabble in content marketing, you’ve seen the statistics – everyone is doing content marketing. There is a deluge of content. For sophisticated marketers, I think the necessity of high quality creative, and influence of creative teams is prime to emerge as important marketing trend this year.
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