What’s changed for you in the last three years? A lot we’d bet. In a lifetime, three years sounds a short time but a lot can happen in thirty-six months. Life evolves at its own pace, and the world seems a busier, more fast-paced and crowded place than it did even three years ago. That’s certainly the case in content marketing land too.
Content marketing back in 2012
When we wrote the first edition of the Valuable Content Marketing book back in 2012 we were excited to share an approach that was still finding its feet in the UK. Blogs and social media had emerged in earnest around 2008. By 2012 many people loved these new ways of connecting and sharing ideas. But not many businesses considered them as a way to attract and get closer to customers.
Or at least they hadn’t in the UK and Europe. Businesses in the US were fast seizing on the business potential of the new content-fuelled digital landscape. Commentators like David Meerman Scott, Chris Brogan, Joe Pulizzi were spreading the word and we loved what they had to say about this new ‘content marketing’ trend.
In the rest of the world, most marketing was still outbound-telesales, events, advertising – and much of it wasn’t connecting with buyers, or paying back in terms of results. Attitudes were changing. Buyers were literally switching off.
Against this backdrop, a business sharing helpful content could differentiate. It was the perfect time to launch a book explaining this new content marketing idea, and showing people how to do it. So that’s what we did.
2015 – a changed content landscape
Fast forward to 2015 and a whole different landscape. Content marketing has gone mainstream in a few short years. The approach has spread far and wide. It’s no longer the main preserve of the US business scene. Research by the Content Marketing Institute in the UK in 2014 showed that 85% of respondents were using content marketing to promote their firms.
And as the idea of sharing content on the web as a way of marketing a business has taken told, the marketplace has become increasingly competitive. That tiny spark of an idea – if we share the answers to the questions our buyers are asking online they will find us and trust us – has created a wildfire of content. Buyers are inundated with the stuff! The early adopter advantage vanished many months ago.
And the business marketer’s response to this new crowded market place? For some it’s been – let’s do more content – and more and more and more. Hit and hope, multiplied a thousand fold. For others, it’s been this new content marketing approach isn’t working so let’s go back to the old methods. We’re witnessing a resurgence in interruptive marketing techniques, now fuelled by new digital strategies. Social platforms are pushing these hard too – remarketing, and paid social advertising is rife.
So what’s the best approach on these more cynical, crowded content times?
How to navigate the new content landscape like a boss
Smart marketers stick to their guns and create even better content.
They know that marketing with valuable content still trumps the interruption techniques of old. People are more likely to pay attention and take action when they’re being shown something that they’ve chosen to see. Yes, there is already way more content in the world than we can collectively consume in our lifetimes, but we are all still using the internet to help us answer questions and research buying decisions. Businesses need sound digital marketing strategies, now more than ever.
If you’re marketing a business in 2015 then hold firm to valuable principles. Create and share fabulous content and you will win attention and make friends on the web and off.
How to win at content marketing in 2015:
- Put your customers first, always – create content that’s genuinely useful for them.
- Share a story people love – businesses with purpose create the best content. A business you can believe in is powerful.
- Get the system working – brand, website, social media, email, SEO, PR and events, sales – a joined up ecosystem for success.
- Document your strategy. You can graft your way to clarity and focus – and it takes time. Increase your chances of success and do the hard thinking first – be clear what you want to achieve and write up a well-researched content strategy. Use it to focus your efforts and deliver on your business goals. (This content strategy workbook from our new book will help you.)
- Learn from those that do it well – there are some great companies out there creating brilliant content to aspire to. Check out our Valuable Content Award winners for some inspiration.
We’ve rewritten the new Valuable Content Marketing book to help you navigate this changing landscape. A step-by-step, practical guide, it tells you exactly what to do to make content marketing work for you, with plenty of stories to inspire you along the way.
Full details on the book website www.valuablecontentmarketing.co.uk and a heap of resources to help you find your path and build the business you really want.
We really hope it helps you. Do let us know.