Editor's Note: Today's post comes courtesy of Michael Gerard, CMO of Curata. He is responsible for Curata's marketing strategy and all related activities. Michael has more than 25 years of marketing and sales experience, having successfully launched and sustained three start-up ventures, as well as driving innovative customer creation strategies for large technology organizations. (e.g., IDC, Kenan Systems, Prospero (mZinga) and Millipore).
As brands become savvier about content marketing, they’re increasingly building new teams and processes to support content initiatives, rather than creating content on an ad hoc basis. In Curata’s recent survey of 500 marketers, 71% of respondents said they plan to increase their investment in content marketing in the areas of people and technology this year.
In many cases, investing in people means hiring a dedicated content marketing department. Nearly half (43%) of the companies surveyed already have an executive focused on overall content strategy.
Here’s a look at four best practices used by savvy brands to align marketing with broader organizational goals.
1. Create a strong content team. Whether called a Chief Content Officer, VP or Director of Content, the executive in charge of content needs a team of excellent content creators. The team might include a blog manager, content specialist and writers. Oftentimes, these writers have a journalism background, ensuring that they know how to source credible information and craft stories with a strong narrative arc. On top of building an internal content team, many companies also outsource a portion of their content to agencies or freelancers. This helps them maintain a steady stream of fresh content without exhausting the internal content team.
2. Identify other internal contributors. Not only do smart brands build teams of content creators, but they’ll also identify employees from other departments who can be part of an extended content marketing team. These individuals or teams can contribute additional content or ideas as time allows and help build support for content marketing by securing executive buy-in. It’s helpful to collect ideas from other corners of the organization, as other departments might be privy to discussions or developments that the content team isn’t.
3. Revamp the process. The best content marketing is typically aligned with global and local marketing strategies. Choosing and analyzing metrics around engagement, ROI, and other areas can help refine the strategy and rationalize the brand’s investment in content marketing. For example, how much traffic does the company’s blog drive to the corporate site? What’s the impact of specific types of content on leads in your nurturing process? Once you’ve identified the posts that produce the most social shares and impact your lead nurturing process, you can tweak your editorial calendar to include more of that type of content. Still, it’s a good idea to vary the type, length and format of your content to keep it interesting.
4. Support innovation in content marketing. As the pace of publishing and promoting content accelerates, the need for relevant, high-quality content will only increase. To make your content current and shareable, mix it up by crowdsourcing from readers, curating from third-party sources, or drawing inspiration from customer questions. Including readers and other third-party sources in your content mix makes them feel included and boosts the likelihood that they’ll share or comment. A recent Curata survey found that top-notch marketers are only creating 65% of content, with the remained being 25% curated and 10% syndicated.
Look for other ways to reinvent your content to keep it from getting stale. You might repurpose a series of blog posts as a free eBook download or turn it into a webinar. You could also break up an infographic into shorter, tweetable nuggets to keep your Twitter feed updated. The content marketing pyramid includes information on crafting longer or shorter pieces with existing content to get more mileage out of everything you create.
Interested in reading about content marketing best practices in more detail including the impact of technology and the strategies used by top-notch brands? Download Content Marketing Tactics Planner 2014, Curata’s third annual benchmark content marketing study.