Entrepreneur Lifestyle & Business Management

Content Marketing and the Chief Content Officer

Every day in your business you use content. Business cards are a form of content, brochures and marketing materials are content, and your website is content. When you compile a tweet or a status update that’s content. As you can see you’re surrounded by content and most of the time you don’t even notice it until you are looking for it.

Why bother with content marketing?

Companies that provide a steady stream of fresh content via their blogs get 97% more inbound links to their site, a huge SEO boost
Blog content is 63% more likely than traditional marketing to influence purchase decisions
70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company through articles rather than advertisements
60% of consumers have positive feelings towards a company after reading content on its website or blog
Interesting content is one of the top three reasons given in customer surveys when explaining why people follow brands on social media

Compelling statistics? Well, I’ve used content marketing extensively to turn around one business in the middle of a “credit crunch” and that business was deemed to “difficult” for content marketing to be effective. If you know what you’re doing you can take the content marketing basics and build your content marketing plan from scratch.

Content marketing is a phrase you’ll hear all over the web, and what it means is simple enough, but how you execute your content marketing plan can be the complicated part.

Oh wait! You need a content marketing plan?

It’s okay, it’s not your fault that you don’t have all the tools you need, after all you also have a business to run. Content marketing from scratch is a tough proposition if you’re unsure of what to do

No content will ever get marketed without taking action.

Introducing the Chief Content Officer

Not that long ago, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) professional’s demands consisted of product pricing, marketing collateral development, target messaging, sales, advertising, public relations, and lead development. They needed to stay abreast of media viewership and readership, advertising pricing, and competitor’s sales and pricing. Certainly enough work for one person with a small team to manage. And, all needed still today.

With the growing popularity and ubiquitous use of the Internet, reaching the target audience on the Internet has added to that challenge. Their workload exponentially increased. While the new media and type of work is not difficult to understand, the amount, management thereof, and time needed to stay informed of new technologies and strategies is more than one marketing director should have to manage. While all of the previously referenced demands are still relevant, there is a new set of demands that requires a new position at the executive table: Chief Content Officer (CCO).

What exactly are the demands of the Chief Content Officer?

Creating a content marketing strategy
Identifying, developing or curating, and managing the repurposing of content
Identifying Internet influencers (the new media)
Staying abreast of new technologies and social media outlets
Identifying and evaluating new distribution technologies
Determining the best social media strategies
Developing and analyzing SEO strategies
Building the team and creating processes
Publishing and distributing content
Measuring results and determining ROI

The CMO and the CCO complement each other and develop processes to share information and resources. The CMO’s skill set is both technical and creative; while the CCO’s skill set is similar, the focus is on writing techniques and the delicate balance of target messaging depending upon the target audience. For example, you would not use the language of a technically-focused product data sheet in a blog or Facebook post.

Content Marketing Strategy is developed through competitive research, company goals, resource availability, and analysis of online marketing efforts at that point in time. After a strategy is developed, the team gets together to develop the content marketing plan. The whole process is circular in nature and very dynamic. As online audiences have incorporated Internet use to obtain information, they have developed a short attention span. Like advertising, you need to write your message concisely and in the best context for the specific audience you are trying to reach. After extensive research, which incorporates Internet search, traffic analysis, keyword research, and possibly polling, the CCO develops different target messaging dependent upon the distribution venues determined to be the most effective in delivering the company’s primary message.

Then, the CCO must conduct the development of the content. It may start with procuring a white paper from a subject matter expert (SME). From the initial piece, other collateral will be developed and rewritten to speak to a specific audience. Examples include press releases (directed at news editors), blog posts (directed at company followers), videos (directed at those information consumers who want it in a nutshell in two-to-four minutes), social media (directed at headline readers), company reports (directed at stockholders), presentations (directed at industry experts)…well, you get the picture. One initial piece of content may be repurposed for 20 different venues. The good news is that you get more mileage than one print article 15 years ago.

The CCO needs a strong team that can professionally produce, distribute and report on the results during the content lifecycle. Team members may include direct reports, shared resources, or outsourced experts such as a copywriter, graphic designer, Web designer, public relations expert, and digital advertising and analytics professional. For a small company, the COO wears all the hats and depends on outsourcing for efficiency.

After the first piece is distributed, the project effectiveness measurement and analysis begins then continues through the life of the content, where at the end a return on investment (ROI) can be determined.

And, somewhere in between the hustle and bustle of deadlines and meetings, the CCO needs to stay informed of new online marketing trends and technologies.

Some may argue that content marketing is a passing fad, but all one needs to do is find a bench to sit on during lunchtime in a city center and spend 20 minutes watching people as they go about their business and have lunch.

They’re using their smart phones texting or perusing the Internet, using their tablets and laptops as they wait for their lunch, or are having lunch meetings collaborating on their digital devices. When was the last time you picked up the Yellow Pages to find a company that sells what you need?

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