If you are a content marketer like me, your career pretty much revolves around creating things for your company. Blog posts (like this one!), social media posts, graphics, eBooks, videos, white papers—the list goes on and on.
However, according to experts, the way we create and circulate content is changing — thus raising the question of whether or not it is still relevant to a company’s success. During a presentation at the 2019 Hootsuite Future of Social Conference in January, Mark Booth, Head of Social Media at Adobe, talked about what he refers to as “the demise of content.” But before I and the thousands of content marketers out there quit our day jobs, let me explain exactly what he means by this apocalyptic prediction.
According to Booth, 60 to 70 percent of all content produced by Business to Business (B2B) organizations goes unused. “I think we’re guilty at times of just creating content for content’s-sake. Every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003,” he said, quoting Google’s Eric Schmidt.
That is a ton of content.
According to Johnson & Wales University professor and online instructor Elizabeth Carey, there is no longer a need for companies to have a large volume of content for their social media platforms. “When I was consulting on a social and digital media client in 2011 and 2012, the focus was primarily on high volume of content in a multi-channel distribution model,” she explained. “The social media channels were still in a growth phase, so businesses were evolving their content marketing strategies in parallel paths.”
Instead of creating content just to post it, Carey says companies should instead create things that resonate with their customers. “The focus should be on leveraging the two-way dialogue that social media offers to businesses and how they can interact with customers,” she explained. This idea coincides with the simple marketing strategy Booth touted during the conference: CDM—content, distribution, and measurement.
In a perfect world, Booth said the content we create should be four things: beautiful, relevant, informational, and entertaining. It needs to have a purpose. Instead, many content marketers have an “if you build it, they will come” mentality. If we create the eBook, write the blog, and design the infographic, it will be seen, retweeted, shared, and will convert, therefore making it a success.
But Booth says that strategy isn’t good enough anymore. Instead of just creating to create, marketers need to approach the content they’re creating strategically and identify to whom it can be marketed. “If you’re not creating in the age of the individual, you’re doing something wrong,” he said.
Carey agrees. She says that data analytics from social media can tell a business exactly how customers are engaging with their content, and who their customers are from a behavioral, demographic, psychographic, and geographic standpoint. “When businesses take advantage of this data, develop relevant content, and combine it with a commitment to engage with customers across the most optimal social media channels, they establish trust and a level of authenticity that customers respond to with brand loyalty.” Instead of creating anything and everything, take the time to learn which types of content work best for your company. Once you have your strategy in place, you can put the work in to make it effective.
Distribution is the key to a successful content strategy. Without it, you’re just creating stagnant content that has no legs. Booth said his team breaks distribution down into three segments: organic, paid, and influencer-driver.
Some people think that organic distribution is dead. To that, Booth says this: “Wrong. I am seeing millions and millions and millions of dollars that are being touched by organic social. It is influencing the pipeline.”
One piece of advice Booth offered is to start using paid social ads if you aren’t already. “We are seeing massive, massive results [from paid social],” he said, indicating that his company currently has a campaign on Twitter with a 17-percent click-through rate (CTR). According to online advertising firm Wordstream, the average CTR for paid search ads on Google AdWords is about two percent.
By identifying industry influencers in your target demographic—not just celebrities and athletes but people who are actually using your solutions in their communities—you can build a network of brand advocates that will resonate with your audience.
One point that Booth made repeatedly is that your content is only as good as the distribution and measurement you have behind it. “We have to live in a world where we’re actually showing what we’re driving for the business,” he said. “Friends don’t let friends report impressions as a campaign success metric.” According to Booth, impressions are not something that bring any value, unless they are being monetized like in a media company. Other metrics can be analyzed to show the value each piece of content is brining into your company.
“We’ve been able to do some interesting things to actually show that we are influencing this much money with this blog post, this tweet, or with that Facebook post,” he said. His best advice is to stop focusing on the metrics that won’t actually get you anywhere. Instead of social engagements, highlight things that highlight business-driving success like dollars. Executives care about dollars far more than they do about impressions or engagements.
The moral of the story? If you build it, they will come if you have a content, distribution, and measurement strategy that showcases real value.
Want to learn more about earning your online BS – Digital Marketing & Social Media degree from Johnson & Wales University? Complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.