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Content Marketing

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FORUM INSIGHT: Make your company blog work harder

There’s no sadder sight than a neglected company blog.

The chances are you’ve invested a fair bit of money in your website, which is probably the main channel through which to present your company to potential and existing customers outside of face-to-face meetings.

And if that’s the case, you’ve probably spent a fair bit of time setting up social media channels, and have maybe even paid someone to manage those for you.

First impressions last and your blog is the perfect tool with which to keep those channels fed and your website looking fresh and up to date.

But like New Year resolutions and Arsenal FC post-Christmas, it’s very easy to lose momentum after those initial earnest posts.

The main consideration when trying to keep a company blog updated is time, or the lack of it. Quickly followed by the need for inspiration. Both are easily addressed.

If you’re already paying someone to manage your social media, speak to them about taking on blog duties too. If you’re using an external creative agency the chances are they will be able to help too.

Internal solutions are also easily happened by. That new marketing intern is probably desperate to get his or her name up in lights and should be eager to prove their worth through blogging duties. Failing that, ask around – offices are often full of hidden talents waiting to be released.

Once you have the resource, it’s time to think about the content. The task of conjuring up appropriate subject matter can be a little intimidating, but it needn’t be.

A good place to start is drilling down into your product line – what do you sell? How were those products created? Look at mini FAQs, staff profiles, product announcements and commentary on industry news that affect your business. Does BREXIT have implications in your market? Tell your audience why.

To keep organised, draw up a simple content calendar, containing subjects, publication dates and responsibilities to keep things on track.

And the more content you post, the better it is for SEO too. Search engines will see that your site is being maintained and kept fresh, and that will score you brownie points against competitors in the rankings wars.

Plus, as alluded to earlier, the great thing about blog content is that it will feed your social media channels, which can also become neglected quite quickly. Each blog you post should be shared on LinkedIn – via employee profiles and your company’s own page – Twitter and Facebook.

All all three platforms you can then increase your reach if you pay to ‘boost’ posts to reach specific demographics. But more on that anon.

So, brush those cobwebs off your CMS and start posting – the world of content marketing awaits…

Mapp

Industry Spotlight: Say hello to Mapp

Mapp is one of the largest independent digital marketing technology companies in the world.

Built by marketers for marketers, Mapp provides a comprehensive family of software and customer-centric services, including a sophisticated data management platform; tools that optimise email, mobile, app, social and web marketing; and campaign management and strategy consulting.

Mapp has more than 3,000 customers including Puma, PepsiCo, KFC, PacSun, Thomas Cook, Deutsche Telekom, Bon Prix, Cnet, Xerox, TUIfly, Lloyds Banking Group, TSB Bank, and Deutsche Bank.

Guest Blog, Catherine Spencer: The real problem with content marketing…

‘Content’ as a word has seemingly got itself a bad name and it’s starting to cause a real problem for our industry – or so a number of recent articles would have it. It is a vague term that’s entered our marketing lexicon but, love it or hate it, it’s here to stay. Content marketing itself is not the problem, it’s the fact that most content has little to no impact on its target audience and really, it’s helping no one. We just get overwhelmed with clutter.

Take a look at any major UK company’s blog and you’ll see that most of the “content” they’re churning out doesn’t do the following:

  • Teach visitors something new or useful;
  • Give away handy resources for free (such as templates, cheat sheets and how-to-guides);
  • Inspire their visitors;
  • Clearly and concisely answer the question implied by the title.

The ‘Definition Problem’

One of the quirks of this industry is that we love coming up with complicated or vague words to describe what we do – and often they stick a little too strongly.

Remember when “selfie” became the Oxford Dictionary word of 2013 and we collectively went mad over how our country was going to the dogs? Well the unfortunate bystanders in the marketing industry mightn’t like it, but new words like “native advertising” and “content marketing” have quickly become the new normal.

Just by looking at Google search trends, it is clear that ‘content marketing’ has become widely accepted within the industry above ‘marketing communications’ since 2004.

 

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The ‘Practicality Problem’

While it is agreed that “content marketing” fits under the definition of “marketing communications”, referring to web content as “Marketing Communications” is tricky when working day-to-day in the ad industry. Actually, content marketing is just a small part of the overall marketing communications strategy.

When you’re working for global brands, you’ll find referring to a blog post as “marketing communications” will create more confusion than it’s worth. Confusion costs time and money in our industry and it goes back to the definitions problem – you might not like it, but the easiest way to be on the same page is to use the same language.

The ‘Content Problem’

Whilst most content indeed fails, it doesn’t mean content marketing itself is the problem. It means the people who’ve made the content maybe.

We’re not here to defend crappy content. But content marketing done right has tremendous value, there’s a reason it’s so big! It just needs to be matched with relevance.

To succeed with content, marketers need to develop content around a brilliant idea, focus on overwhelming the target audience with value, amplify the message by sharing the content with the right people, and finally ask for (and listen to) audience feedback.

Are we using the wrong word to describe content marketing? Maybe.

But let’s not forget the bigger picture: we should be focusing on value, not semantics. Whatever the buzzword might be that describes how we’re doing it, we really just need to get on and do it.

 

Catherine is a senior content, PR & social executive at equimedia. She joined equimedia in 2015, previously having worked in-house for a large charity. Today, Catherine manages marketing campaigns for a number of our large charity clients, as well as retail and insurance, from planning and production right through to delivery.