Unleashing the Power of Content

client_6By Steven Shapiro

Content marketing must work because here you are. You are reading a blog that will take you to a video that resides on a publishing platform called Speakers’ Corner that builds brand engagement with Westmeath, and exposes you to me and my company Communications Strategy Group. If the quality of the content is worthwhile and provides value, you will be willing to exchange your engagement, in whatever form that is, for access to the content, and a relationship will be born. This is what we call a “Content Value Exchange.”

More and more organizations are coming to understand the importance of becoming publishers as they recognize that marketing is no longer a game of control, but one of influence. Market forces, whether it be the advancement of ad blockers or the “consumer spring” that empowers stakeholders to verify and validate authenticity, have required brands to build an audience and trust with consumers like no other time in history. Valuable content has become the vehicle to build that relationship. It’s not a new concept, but it has become more of an imperative in the marketing communications world. With this accelerating interest and growing commitment to content marketing has come greater complexity both in terms of the structure and responsibilities of those in the marketing organization and the tools and tactics that are applied.

The question is, how do you approach this dynamic marketing communications environment in way that optimizes your marketing communications budget and delivers measurable outcomes for your organization? At the heart of a streamlined content marketing effort is what we call “Content Process Optimization” (CPO). While CPO requires a great deal of front end work, including:

• persona development,
• shared value identification,
• promotional channel analysis,
• content and subject matter expertise audit,
• influencer ecosystem mapping, and
• creation of measurement dashboards among many other foundational steps.

The heartbeat of CPO is a consistent work flow application of a content supply chain around a shared value with the audience, including:

• creation/extraction of content,
• packaging of content, and
• the distribution/promotion of content.

Sounds simplistic and obvious, but in most organizations today it is the distribution and promotion phase of the work flow that often drives the first two or worse there is no coordination at all. For example, in most organizations, the PR function is extracting and packaging content for the media, while the social media team is creating streams to cultivate a community, while advertising is centered on brand building activities all of which are often not aligned. This misalignment causes inefficiencies in the allocation of human and financial resources, marginalizes marketing outcomes, and perhaps most importantly, dilutes what your brand stands for in the minds of consumers and stakeholders in the cacophony of voices they are peppered with each day.

At the end of the day, the goal of your content marketing initiative is to create a publishing platform that over time builds an engaged audience that in turn can reduce marketing costs and maximize the lifetime value of your customers.

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