Robert Rose, Founder of The Content Advisory and Chief Strategy Officer for Content Marketing Institute, joins Mark Nardone, Executive Vice President of PAN Communications, in a lively conversation about today’s content marketing landscape.
Read or watch the clips below to get Robert and Mark’s take on the evolution of content marketing over the past year. At a glance, they discuss:
Robert: For years we’ve been in this world of how do we produce more and more and more content? And whether it’s been driven by SEO or just demand from the organization or whatever the sort of internal drivers of content from the content practitioners or the agency may be, do you find that now that we’ve started to accelerate this idea of direct-to-consumer wider remit for the content programs and the marketing programs that we have? Is that exacerbating this quantity thing or are we starting to finally get some sanity around the idea that, “Nah, nah we probably should reduce and get into some quality.”
Mark: Absolutely, there is no question about that. One of our buddies, I’m sure you engage with Matt Heinz often, and some of the stuff that he puts out there. I was reading a post this morning about how pace of content is changing and how it’s a good thing that we’re focusing more on the quality side of things rather than the quantity, and where marketing may have been measured in years past with the amount of content you’re producing, now it’s the type of content that’s connecting.
“We’re focusing more on the quality side of things rather than the quantity, and where marketing may have been measured in years past with the amount of content you’re producing, now it’s the type of content that’s connecting.”
I feel like marketers nowadays are slowing down to spend the right amount of energy and time in making sure that that content sticks and is valuable. They’re not rolling to the next piece of content to be measured upon. They’re looking at that piece of content that may be in market for a month or two months and they’re really figuring out a way to amplify it, curate it, and make it connect with that audience.
What it’s done for us right now is its had us take a step back and say strategically “how do we take these really great assets that you’ve created as a B2B company and make sure that they are staying in market for the period of time that they should be, while providing value throughout the buyer’s journey of the customer that you’re engaging with?” So, I think it’s really done a remarkable job where we all can work together and not worry about producing X-hundred pieces of content a year, but rather producing 5 to 10 and really doing a great job with getting that stuff out there and merchandising it the way it should be.
Robert: I love this idea. And I still see a lot of B2B organizations still struggling with this idea. You know, this idea of slowing down, getting higher quality. And most of it, I find, is “Okay, how do we actually make that change?” How do we make the change to the ideal that you’re talking about, and slowing down, getting a higher quality.
Part of that, it feels like a lot of these companies we see building these– maybe they’re internal content studios, or they’re internal content teams. And they ultimately ended up getting treated like the internal Kinkos. Where it’s just like produce, produce, produce, produce, produce. And they’re sort of the last in the chain, you know what I mean? Integrated campaigns get created, and then they get put into the field, and then as they’re put into the field, somebody goes, “Oh my gosh, wait. Content to feed that campaign.” And then they ask the content people for advertisements.
So, by the time they’re getting the request and putting together some sort of calendar, it’s already late. They’re already late to market with it. And so, pulling that process back, the content ideation and creation process back in the– early stages of integrated marketing development, getting those teams integrated, seems like one of the key answers that we’re seeing. I don’t know if you’re seeing the same thing?
Mark: Oh yeah, definitely. So, I’m going to go back, a few different things I want to mention on this topic. One is, everything that’s happened with regards to movements have kind of had brands step back a little bit to make sure that because you slow down the quality or the quantity of content, you also look at the tonality of the content.
There’s much more sensitivity in market out there right now. So brands need to be aware of, more so than ever, what they’re putting out. And is it balanced? I think that everybody’s passionately behind, as we should be, diversity, equity, and inclusion. And what’s happening with these brands, with purpose? That businesses are going to do business with businesses that share similar values. That employees are going to work for employers that they share similar values in. That presents a different challenge on the content side, for the better, in my opinion. So, I think that change has been really, really well-received.
“That businesses are going to do business with businesses that share similar values. That employees are going to work for employers that they share similar values in. That presents a different challenge on the content side, for the better.”
Robert: One of the things that we’ve started to see, and this may be a bridge too far for some marketers, but we’ve started to see the full evolution of the brand based on some of the things that we’ve seen. For example, I know that you guys have worked with Citrix and starting to see how they’re not looking at themselves in one particular way, but now because of what’s happened over the last 9, 10, 11 months, have started to see themselves as a different idea. You know what I’m talking about?
Mark: Totally. They are a great example of a company that might have focused a little bit on infrastructure and some networking and now have evolved to be more about employee experience platforms, and productivity, and collaboration, and what that all looks like through that lens. And you start to see how their content adjusts as Citrix moves to be remote workforce driven, workforce productivity, future of work in all those areas that are very, very top of mind right now to brands, to industries all over the place.
They planned for this pivot to brand to the employee experience, but they are right in the heart of this conversation right now and seeing wonderful results both from the brand awareness, to conversations, to content consumption, to revenue. They continue to grow in a pretty down market so it’s a great example of these companies now that are starting to, I’m not saying move upstream on audience, but maybe move upstream to a different style of messaging and positioning because one of the things that came out of the Content Fitness Report is marketers will be spending much more time on message and positioning whether it’s quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, than ever before. And you probably remember the day you set that message positioning, you probably wouldn’t look at that thing for 24 months, 36 months.
“Marketers will be spending much more time on message and positioning whether it’s quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, than ever before.”
They’re now looking at messaging and positioning once a quarter, if not sometimes tweaking it monthly based on behaviors and the analytics and the pull-throughs that they can see with regards to how the industry’s responding to messaging. I think competitively how you differentiate your competitors out there. I mean, it’s a dynamic time to be a marketer I’ll tell you right now, but it’s a lot of challenge for them as well.
It’s important now more than ever to take a close look at your messaging and re-evaluate your content creation process. Starting with the type of content being produced, brands need to take a step back and understand what’s really connecting with their audience. If quality comes before quantity, it’s much easier to repurpose it in a variety of ways and get a longer life out of the content.
Another crucial step for brands to take is to involve their creative teams from the very beginning of the ideation process. The best content is high-quality because it truly embodies the message the team is trying to get across – it can’t be rushed.
Still itching to learn more? Tune into the full video interview to hear more insights from Robert Rose and Mark Nardone.