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Module 2 - Lesson 4
Today, we’ll be diving into the trends of content marketing and why investing in it, especially in uncertain circumstances, is a winning concept. We’ll also discuss how you can optimize your spending so that you only invest in tools that give you a positive return. Content isn’t going anywhere. Having strong values, being consistent with our messaging in both text and visuals and targeting specific audiences with equally specific content are increasing in importance. People want to buy from brand’s that have personality. Here aresome of the top things we think are going to continue to be vital in the coming years:
Content scalability and personalization. The biggest focus in producing content is becoming more scalable to reach more audiences. Creatives need to keep increasing their output and one of the most common issues they face is too many requests for new collateral, too little time. Companies are looking for ways to create more with less resources by making processes leaner, outsourcing content, and promoting employee-generated content.
Brand consistency. This topic is trending with companies that have multiple locations or many partners, resellers, and distributors. Staying on-brand means that your logos, fonts, colors, look of images, tone of voice, etc. need to remain consistent and comply with the brand style guidelines of your organization. It can be difficult for the content creators in your company and external agencies to remember or find out what all those guidelines are, especially if they work for a larger employer with lots of products, employees and regions.
Social and environmental awareness. Audiences are demanding that their preferred brands get down from their ivory towers and take part in conversations about current phenomena. Many organizations are putting extra effort into communicating their values and how they position themselves within the global system. This requires a fast reaction speed from brands.
Should we be investing at all right now? The trends are showing that there is a demand for more content output and that content needs to be both topical and personalized for it to resonate. But is content something that companies should be investing in when times are tough and the future is uncertain? In the first half of2020 we’ve seen several national and global crises that no one could have predicted.
This, in turn, has caused uncertainty in the market and lead to waves of cutting investments and unemployment. Some companies see the current time as a great time to invest in people, branding and tools because there is a larger pool to choose from and a rare chance to quickly gain a competitive edge over companies that are taking a more bearish approach. Many, however, are taking the opposite view and cutting all spending that is non-essential to make sure that they have enough cash flow short-term. What is or isn’t essential seems to depend on the company though. Some cut from sales, some from talent and some from marketing. Every organization needs to decide for themselves what they feel comfortable with and which strategy is possible for them. There is no one answer on whether companies should invest in their business or wait until there are more reliable forecasts in place. But a good thing to remember is that investing should always mean that there is a return waiting to be realized. Sometimes content is misunderstood. While it is a powerful tool to engage and communicate with (potential) customers and generate leads, content marketing is not a quick fix. It takes months or even years to build solid organic interest in your target group and constant effort and optimizing to stay relevant. If you cut your marketing efforts because of the uncertainty we are now facing, you risk losing information, interactions and data on what could ultimately be the saviour of your company.
Whilecontent marketing might not be the fastest way to grow your revenue, quality content impacts your visitor’s buying decision more than any other any other technique according to HubSpot. Content like blogs, emails, images, infographics and videos can explain your unique offering, prove your expertise and thought leadership position, and help your target audience to find you on search engines. Content marketing is also all about consistency. If you disappear from the feeds and minds of your audience, there will be a competitor that will be happy to take your spot. While cutting down on external guest writers, your writer staff and your marketing budget can give some short-term gains, you will likely suffer losses later down the road.
But what if you have to optimize costs in order to survive or stay viable in the next months or years? There are tools to make content marketing more efficient so that you can still continue to invest in it, but only in the parts of content creation and management that really add value to you. A good example of such a tool forcontent marketing could be a system that helps streamline your marketing operations and make them more efficient. A Digital Asset Management solution is a central location that helps in storing, organizing, managing, creating, sharing, and publishing digital content.
Our final tip for determining what your brand should be investing in is: Audit your tools and software: When you are evaluating what you are spending money on, don’t look at just the price. Think: What is giving you a return on investment? What systems are your teams still using and finding real value in? If you are getting more out of something than you are paying for it, it shouldn’t be on your cut list. Let’s look at the example of a DAM again. Companies that select a top-tier DAM for their digital asset management efforts will benefit from a return on investment of 15x of the cost of the product. If your company works with hundreds of assets to keep marketing, communications and sales running, it’s more than likely that your people are spending too much of their limited resources in working with and around content rather than creating new content. In conclusion: Think of both the short-term and the long-term value when you are deciding what you should continue investing in. Calculate the return on your investment and talk to your teams about bottlenecks in their work. Now might not be the time to expand your business or do risk-heavy strategic moves but invest in efficiency and maximizing the talent of your workforce.
Module 1: Brand management
Module 2: Content and brand
Module 3: Managing branded assets