Earlier this year, Tim Asimos of Business 2 Community declared that content marketing will dominate marketing strategies in 2014. And he has the numbers to back it up.
If you’ve already immersed your marketing tactics with native advertising and storytelling, great. If you haven’t, this is the year.
But before you shift the way your company approaches marketing, it’s important to understand two things: you’re probably already using elements of content marketing in your strategy, but first you need to know who the major players are. This is key. The people you encounter may be your biggest roadblocks or your biggest allies as you develop, build and implement your strategy.
Whether you have an established internal strategy or are looking externally for help to get started, these are the five people you will meet in content marketing.
The early adopter. The rock star. There’s always one in the group. This person will claim they’ve been doing content marketing since before it was called content marketing. They’re connected. They’re sought after for speaking engagements and events. They know all of the catch phrases and keywords.
If you’re new to content marketing The Guru can be a great source of information, right? Not necessarily. Many times The Guru quotes data you can find anywhere. The white papers are never theirs. They may be so far removed from the actual applicable work, that you’ll never find a case study where they actually did the work. What was the last project they worked on? What was their last successful campaign? What were the results?
Many well-known practitioners have developed a following by expertly drawing upon real-life, practical experience for presentations and workshops. These are the experts to watch. They know the jargon, but they also can show you what it means.
The One Who Is Not Impressed
If you’re developing an internal strategy, this person is usually firmly invested in the current strategy. “The metrics are consistent and reasonable, the KPIs are met, what is the problem?” “People are buying the product. Conversion rates are solid. What is all this talk about engagement?” This is the time to arm yourself with as much data as possible. A little bit of education is needed here. In order to win this person over, you need to know your stuff. This is often a decision maker who is not wowed by talk of latest trends. This is a “show me” person, not a “tell me” person. And, to be clear, it’s not even about winning them over, it’s about providing facts and numbers to show them that content marketing works.
For every time a solution fixes a problem, there are at least 10 times where it doesn’t. Experienced marketers know the tried-and-true best practices – set goals, develop, launch, validate, reassess and launch again. But there is really no one-size fits all approach to anything marketing-related. Content marketing is no different.
The Evangelist believes content marketing is the solution to every problem, for every client and every campaign. This is the person who’d encourage every brand to dive headfirst into real-time marketing. This is also the person who would have encouraged companies to gear up for their “Oreo” moment.
The Evangelist is knowledgeable enough to be dangerous, so you’ll need a clear understanding of the challenge at hand and clear KPIs to make your point. And you may even have to compromise and run concurrent strategies with The Evangelist to tackle a problem.
The Data Nerd
No description needed. This person is data-driven and can be your biggest ally if your marketing campaign works and the numbers are right. But content marketing is a little different — you aren’t just measuring conversions or revenue, you’re measuring engagement. There are more touch-points. Of course the goal is for those engagements to turn into conversions, but to be effective, there is emotion involved. The Data Nerd won’t understand or really care about that. Your strategy may seem unreasonable or far-fetched, and you won’t get their buy-in.
In order to convince this person to think beyond impressions, remember three words: Show and prove. Every video, every instance of real-time engagement should correlate to a metric. Every single time.
The One Who Actually Knows What They’re Doing
This is you, right?
Well, here’s how to recognize “The One”: This person cares more about retention and engaging customers than immediate conversions with the belief that good content and personalization facilitate loyalty, which then facilitates conversion.
This person is flexible and is always experimenting. A master storyteller, with a key understanding of what content interests their audience. They know which stories to promote to which segments. There is no one-size approach. And most importantly, “The One” knows the recipe to the secret sauce: Sometimes the data are the stories.