Content Marketing: Strategy & Content Aren’t the Same


Content HighlightedContent marketing, like we’ve discussed before, is one of the most talked about concepts in marketing circles today. The reasoning for its popularity is legitimate because content marketing does, in fact, work IF done correctly. There is a ton of information available about content marketing, but unfortunately, not all of it is good advice.

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding content marketing is the difference between a good content marketing strategy and actually having good content. In other words, you can have an excellent content marketing strategy, but in order for it to deliver, it has to be executed with great content. The same is true on the flip side – you may have great content but not have a strategy that really makes it work for you.

It’s possible to have both, but it’s obviously much more time-consuming. Content marketing is very similar to social media in that people, businesses, and yes, marketers often neglect the first part of the catch phrase. It’s a shame really, since the first part is what makes it work. Also, similar to social media, marketers also want to “jump the gun” with content marketing. We marketers are always so eager, aren’t we?

However, again, an effective content marketing strategy must come first. While many brands are still struggling with this, there are some that get it. Coca-Cola, for example, tries to understand the experience its customers have with the brand. After taking action toward this goal, Coke realized that this experience often happened through a vending machine and decided to give customers more than just one of their sodas. The company gave customers cakes, flowers, and many other prizes that resulted in millions of YouTube hits. What’s more, Coke ended up with some really great content to accompany its already great strategy.

Coca-Cola is so committed to content marketing that it even launched a “Content 2020” initiative that goes beyond developing social and crowd-sourced content. Through this endeavor, Coke wants to “earn a disproportionate share of popular culture” by telling compelling stories with artists, actors and musicians. It wants to tell stories that provide true value to its customers while also meeting its own business objectives.

Coke launched this initiative in 2012 and has maintained its commitment thus far, showing that it understands how all its marketing efforts rests on its content marketing strategy. Brynn Bardacke, Coca-Cola’s global group creative director, spoke with iMedia Connection about its initiative and the results already obtained.

Just as Coca-Cola has done, content marketing goes hand-in-hand with your overall marketing strategy. It’s a starting point that leads and dictates your other actions. Your content marketing strategy isn’t just your blog or your Facebook and Twitter posts – it encompasses everything.

A recent study from Demand Metric shows that only 13 percent of content marketers think their efforts are “very successful.” This is staggering. The survey consisted of more than 500 responders and only 13 percent really believe what they’re doing is working.

Demand Metric Chart

The above chart shows the objectives that these content marketers have. These are great objectives to have, and clearly, most of them directly impact the bottom line. So, where does the problem lie?

For many, it’s the process that’s wrong. Here again, it’s the whole jumping the gun thing once more. There’s much more to content marketing than setting an objective and projecting an outcome. The middle part – the micro goals, tactics, etc. – is how you get to actionable results. To throw a party, you don’t just have an idea for a party and then expect people to just show up. You plan, you send out invitations, you prepare food and decorations and more. It’s a process.

The same is true with content marketing. You set goals, you set micro goals, you define tactics and match them to your micro goals, and more all BEFORE you start doing. This will also help to give you check points to define whether or not you are succeeding to avoid falling into the 13 percent of struggling content marketers.

With so much emphasis on publishing today from Google’s increased efforts to deliver quality content to smarter consumers not falling for “marketing speak,” content marketing has a good reason to be top of mind for marketers. But, before jumping on the bandwagon, marketers need to have a solid strategy outlining goals and the process as well as a content plan in order to really make their efforts worthwhile.

Incidentally, SugarSpun will be hosting a free social media webinar on content marketing showing attendees how to develop and succeed through content marketing. Jennifer Evans Cario, SugarSpun Marketing’s president, will walk attendees through the process of creating a home base for content efforts and also how to produce quality and targeted content through developing audience personas. The training will take place Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 8 PM EDT/5 PM PDT. Register here.

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Abby Johnson

Abby brings a unique perspective to the mix because her background consists of both traditional broadcast and public relations to now the world of online. She is very skilled at looking at the big picture and understanding how to get the message across to a particular audience.

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