In December 2020, Robert Rose, Founder of The Content Advisory and Chief Strategy Officer for Content Marketing Institute, joined Mark Nardone, Executive Vice President at PAN Communications, in a lively conversation about the state of the content marketing landscape. You can see the full conversation here.
As marketers begin to prepare for what’s to come in 2022, Robert and Mark reconnected to discuss where things are today.
Read or watch the clips below to get Robert and Mark’s take on the continued evolution of content marketing. At a glance, they discuss:
Robert: We now start to see brands really taking a step back and saying, “Okay, we need to figure out what content we’re going to create and then figure out how do we scale it across all of these channels.” So pulling back and making planning, actual creation planning, a step that actually helps us scale and get more stuff out the door, but does so in a way that sort of manages the quality of all the content, not just like, “Oh, we’ve got a great blog, but our marketing materials really suck,” or, “We’ve got great marketing materials, but our blog really sucks.” And so it’s getting much sharper about it all the way around.
Marketers have to pull back and make an actual creation plan, a step that helps us scale and get more stuff out the door, but does so in a way that manages the quality of all the content.
In PAN’s 8th annual Content Fitness Report, buyers stated that they consume 1-5 pieces of content per month, yet marketing teams are creating much more. How can we do less with more?
Robert: This idea of scale, in many cases, comes down to the fact where we say, “Okay, we’ll just reconfigure the same piece of content to be available at the whole, in multiple expressions.” And so the classic example of this is at the awareness stage, we have a case study. And then you go in and actually learn about thought leadership and the thought leadership white paper mentions the same case study that you just read. And then you go and talk to a sales guy who gives you a demo and in the middle of the demo of the product, he’s talking about a use case of the same case study you just read. And then you go and get to the end where you’re talking about procurement and all of that. And guess what? You’re using the same case study again as your testimonial.
We’re trying to scale so much that we never give a journey or a customer experience that differentiates from each other throughout.
And we’re trying to scale so much that we never give a journey or a customer experience that differentiates from each other throughout. So you never know where you are as a customer, and quite frankly, you don’t care. You lose interest because, oh, squirrel, right, everything else we’ve got to deal with. But we’ve got to get much better.
And to your point, this idea of worrying about getting siloed again with content is a huge, huge challenge because everybody has their own agenda. Demand gen has their own agenda. Sales has their own agenda. Brand has their own agenda. PR and comms has their own agenda. And if we don’t figure out a way to conjoin those things into one idea, we’re always going to be delivering mediocre content at every step.
The data here might surprise you. While employees may prefer to work for a brand who has a clear purpose and stands for things they believe in, brand purpose is less important than a great product/service and customer experience for buyers.
Mark: You see everybody’s talking about the great resignation. It’s been a theme out there for the last 6 to 12 months. Brands are faced with employees that are burnt out from work, just want a career change, don’t want to be forced to physically come back into office. They want more of a hybrid model or a remote workforce from home. And some of these businesses just aren’t set up that way, nor do they want to be. But others are being far more open to how to kind of work and kind of effectively manage a remote workforce.
What comes with that as a marketer is just a different trigger of how you communicate, how you engage. So I like to use the scenario this way, Robert: From a sales standpoint, you got your funnel. You got a top of funnel, mid funnel, bottom of funnel, you get the advocacy, come out on the other end. Mirror that on the employee side. You should be creating content that has employee experience written all over it and it’s the top of funnel recruitment. They’re considering through the interview process. You’ve closed them as an employee now and you’re turning them into an advocate just as much to help you on the recruitment side. The balance of those two pipelines, those two funnels, puts the HR team and the marketing team in lock step where I don’t think they ever have been before.
The balance of these two pipelines – those two funnels – puts the HR team and the marketing team in lock step where I don’t think they ever have been before.
There is still room for improvement as marketers prepare for 2022 marketing. According to PAN’s CFR, 35% of marketers did not have a strategy for engaging their employees on social media. That changes now.
The last 18+ months have challenged marketers in all new ways. But a refocused approach on finding the right cadence for content, building an engaging community of advocates and followers, and developing the most impactful content marketing strategy will see greater returns as we look ahead.
But wait, there’s more! Tune into the full video interview to hear more insights from Robert Rose and Mark Nardone.