At Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio – one of TopRank’s fearless leaders, Lee Odden, spoke with Content Marketers from over 40 different countries on “The Future of Search & Social” in the first breakout session of the day.
1. Content is more than information – it is storytelling that provides meaningful experiences.
Setting the stage with, “Content isn’t King – it’s the Kingdom,” Lee positions content as the reason search exists in the first place. 16% of all search queries have never been seen before. Could that possibly mean that they, or (gasp) you, are potentially creating content no one cares about?
There’s lots of information out there and ways to connect to it – we create, consume, publish, and interact. All of us are empowered to create content – especially with our phones being a content creation device in our back pockets. But our creation also means that we’re competing against our own customers for attention on the search & social web. How do we break through this noise and engage our audience to communicate with us?
Remember that it’s about the customer and their relationship with your information. They need to discover you (search), consume your content (in many forms), and act on it (are they socially connecting, converting?)
Lee quotes Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, “…social network recommendations are becoming more powerful than Google results.” So the real question is – how do you create content that your customer feels compelled to interact with, and tell others about it? How is your content connected to the narrative – what you’re telling as a story? This content needs to be tied to an action.
A business’ Content Marketing Maturity is evaluated through these 5 stages:
Which stage of the process do you feel your organization is at?
2. Your Content Team Functions should include: Strategy, Editorial, Creators, Producers, Search, Social & Analytics.
However you structure your team, or whatever team members are available to you, each should play a specific role in your content creation. Be sure someone is responsible for every step of this process – whether you are a large enterprise agency with multiple members on a team, or a marketing department of one – you can utilize your resources (and sometimes these are your consumers) to make truly great content.
To hold your content creation effort accountable, you can use the “Optimize 360” – Attract, Engage, and Convert – You got their attention, got them talking, now what’s your hook or call to action to encourage the consumer to take the next step?
Some of Lee’s best advice for content creation is that your content should, “Be the best answer.” Your content should achieve the answer to the question that your consumers are asking. If you want to be known for your great service – is your content and interaction conveying that message? Make “Jane” feel like she’s being serviced no matter which channel she’s interacting with.
3. The Future of Content is visual, real-time, mobile, human, cross-platform, multi-channel, social & optimized
More often than ever before, content needs to be everything all at once.
- Visual: Consumers are 44% more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video.
- Real-time: Just like Oreo Cookie’s “Dunk in the dark” campaign, we as marketers must react to the world around us in a positive way to engage our consumers to interact.
- Human: Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” commercial uses humor, and thus is exponentially more shareable (meaning more eyeballs will see it) than traditional content.
- Collaborative: Utilize all the resources available to you – whether that means crowdsourcing your consumers or working with your industry thought leaders.
- Cross-Platform & Multi-Channel: Is your content integrated among all your media? Are your digital campaigns viewable via billboard in Times Square? Is it viewable on all devices (especially mobile?) Make sure you aren’t excluding any particular audience when you have a great piece of content.
- Social: Would you want to share your content? Would someone pay to see or receive this content?
- Optimized: Search is a big piece of the puzzle – your content should be optimized first and foremost for what your audience wants to consume.
The future of content marketing is bright – we have more opportunities and channels than we’ve ever had – let’s all make our content convey the best answer in your industry, for your product, for your customers.
What are your predictions on the future of content? And content marketing?