"What's at the heart of content marketing?"
"Why does content marketing make sense for me?"
"How do I do it well?"
Chances are, you're asking yourself one or, indeed, all of the above questions. And that is why I have decided to join Forrester's Marketing Leadership research team as a senior analyst.
I've been working with content marketing since 1998, well before it was called content marketing, and most recently at an agency that specialized in it, Velocity Partners. Before that, I helped major Scandinavian brands like Kongsberg and ABB understand how to weave content marketing in their marketing strategy and mix.
Every time I discuss content marketing with practitioners, two observations regularly surface:
1. It's very powerful. The idea of doing marketing that customers want, that they even seek out, is enticing. It can create a virtuous cycle that makes everything else (social media, email marketing, events and campaigns) much more effective. Red Bull is the consumer brand poster boy for this, but companies as diverse as GE, Hubspot, American Express, Ford and IBM are also doing it well.
2. It's very difficult. Most brands have very little experience making content that customers want and seek out. Producing great content-driven experiences, repeatedly, over time and with a limited budget, that deliver visible value for customers and prospects, and that drive business outcomes for the brand, is hard. It's particularly hard for marketers accustomed to a product-benefit or brand benefit frame of thinking, and the big bang ad campaigns that go with it.
With these in mind, my upcoming research will help brands and senior marketers understand how to design, create and distribute powerful content for their brand and, at the same time, prepare to tackle the organizational, process and technology challenges that lie ahead. To get things started, my first report will focus on a discrete but critical part of the content marketing challenge:
How can you be sure you're giving your content marketing assets the best opportunity to reach your target audience? My hypothesis: Content discovery and promotion is a key component of any content marketing initiative, but is often overlooked. In the coming weeks, I'll be speaking with dozens of marketers, agencies and vendors about the challenges, the opportunities, and the best practices they see emerging in this area. If you have an interesting viewpoint or a direct experience to share, please do get in touch. The report will be out later this summer.
In the meantime, I'm eager to hear new input, ideas, and questions that relate to content marketing. You can find me on twitter @rskin11 or drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org). Let's talk.