When we decided to contact a few Content Marketing experts with questions for our 2014 Q&A Blog Series, we were surprised and humbled by the amazing response. Eight of the industry’s leading professionals provided us with unique, insightful answers to our questions, which we have summarized here for your benefit. We hope their advice and perspectives serve to educate you on the latest trends in Content Marketing. Enjoy!
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How has Content Marketing evolved in the last 2 years? What changes are you seeing in the services you deliver for your clients?
Content Marketing is ever-evolving, and we’re seeing an emerging demand for quality over quantity. With recent changes to the Google algorithms, clients are realizing the importance of having informative content written for the reader, not the search engine – if the writing is engaging and valuable, it will naturally result in social shares and links. And if you’ve already devoted yourself to a content marketing strategy, you’re ahead of the game.
Where will Content Marketing be in 2018? What are your top 3 predictions?
Our Content Marketing prophets agree: Content Marketing that is thoughtful, reader-oriented and ultimately more human will be the golden chalice of internet marketing strategy in 2018. Marketers will need to be more and more focused on thought-leadership and ideas, and the presentation of content will expand to emphasize various media. From infographics to video to mobile-optimized material, the face of Content Marketing – if it hasn’t evolved past that title – will be infinitely more colorful and engaging.
What are your favorite tools you use for producing content? What do you primarily use them for?
There are a number of incredibly helpful tools that will facilitate content production. Whether you need to organize your thoughts, type them out, or transform them into an infographic, there are endless resources to achieve success. Most of our experts couldn’t live without their word processing programs and, understandably, a source of knowledge, whether that’s the client, a writing service for hire, or the latest social media trends.
What platforms offer the biggest opportunities for content marketing outside of Google? What’s a hidden gem that other marketers aren’t talking about where you’ve found success?
Everyone seems to agree that the key to non-Google Content Marketing is knowing your audience and knowing them well. Recent changes to LinkedIn have enhanced its Content Marketing possibilities, and visually-oriented, highly shareable content published on social sites like Pinterest are gaining momentum. Keeping on top of trends is integral to relevant marketing strategies.
How do you gauge the effectiveness of the content you produce for yourself as well as for your clients? How do you measure the ROI on content?
Engagement is the name of the game when it comes to the return of investment on content. If your audience is commenting, linking and sharing, you have tangible evidence that your content has been effective. Analyzing data such as site traffic and time-on-page is critical if you want to truly measure the value of your content. When the numbers show that your audience is both growing and spending real time and money on your content, you and your clients reap that benefit.
Do you provide clients guidance on Content Strategy? If so, what are 2 critical things most companies forget about when they create their strategy?
The takeaway advice for clients is to “know where your arrow is pointed.” Most of our panel believes that clients need to be more careful about their content strategies, specifically improving on identifying goals, reaching the correct audience, and avoiding outdated marketing techniques. Using tools such as content calendars can facilitate the strategy, and it’s important for the client to remember that this is not a “one-and-done” process. The changing face of content strategy should always be at the forefront of any client’s marketing plan.
Which of the Google updates has impacted you the most and changed the way you create and market content?
Far and away, the consensus is that the most impactful Google update has been Penguin. By punishing many forms of link building, Penguin forced many people to overhaul their content marketing strategy. Many of our interviewees have been focused on the relevance of their content since before the update, and they largely anticipate that future algorithmic changes will continue to focus on the quality and context of content. While this may alienate inexperienced internet marketers or those trapped in the past, our interviewees believe that this will serve to “weed out” illegitimate marketers and reward those working hard to create relevant, engaging content.
What social platforms work the best for you to promote your content? What’s one piece of insight that many people don’t know when it comes to social promotion?
Follow your audience. There are about five huge social networking sites to help spread your influence; rather than maintaining an ineffectual presence on all of them, promote yourself effectively and well on the few where you have built the greatest influence. If you have a product to sell, try Pinterest; its visual format and keyword focus lends itself well to shareability. Facebook is classic for combining written content and images, and you are able to target specific people, thereby igniting the curiosity of your audience and inviting future clicks and shares. Twitter is incredibly valuable for its ability to instantly connect with your audience and keep up with news stories and relevant media. In the end, the best social platform will be the tailored to your content needs. Once you identify your strengths and your audience, your way will be clear.
There you have it – the most relevant, up-to-date Content Marketing advice straight from the industry experts. If, after having read this, you find your way a little more clear, we’ve accomplished our goal. Be sure to check out the actual interviews in our blog series, and be on the lookout for our comprehensive PDF to share with your colleagues.