Content Marketing - Quality Matters


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The more intimate the content specialists are with the data, the faster, better and more effective the content is going to be. Dan Dooley, PaceCo Senior Vice President of Digital Solutions, explains how our PaceCo editors are analysts, too, and it's always quality over quantity.

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Content Marketing - Quality Matters

  1. 1. © Pace 2013 | | Greensboro, NC | New York, NY | Dallas, TX | Rogers, ARPace PerspectivesBy: Dan DooleySenior Vice President,Digital SolutionsContent MarketingQuality Matters
  2. 2. According to a recent study from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs,86% of consumer marketers are now employing content marketing, with 28% of theirbudgets dedicated to the practice. In the business-to-business world, the numbersare actually higher. Additionally, analysis from Econsultancy and Adobe indicates thatcontent marketing as a unique discipline has emerged as the top digital priority for in-house marketers in 2013.Which three digital-related areas are thetop priorities for your organization in 2013?The Content Consensus2© Pace 2013 | | Greensboro, NC | New York, NY | Dallas, TX | Rogers, ARContent marketingConversion rate optimizationSocial media engagementContent optimizationMobile optimizationBrand building / viral marketingJoining up online and offline dataMarketing automationVideo marketingSocial media analyticsConnected TVTargeting and personalization0%29%39%34%39%39%38%37%39%31%29%30%32%26%24%24%15%11%21%9%19%9%0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%Adobe / Econsultancy Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing
  3. 3. So why are marketers suddenly realizing the importance – and dedicating more budgetand resources – to their content approach? There are three primary reasons: 1. Search, social and mobile behaviors have pushed the need for more content to fill an ever-increasing number of versatile channels and platforms. 2. Marketing and IT functions are aligning more closely than ever, creating a much tighter integration that allows for dynamic content targeting and personalization. 3. The data has become clearer about consumers’ ability to block out strictly com- mercial messages but their willingness to engage a brand based on informative, educational and entertaining content.As the industry continues to mobilize and operationalize content marketing compo-nents, a lot of attention is being paid to content strategy mechanics: platform layers,asset management, workflow and governance. However, as more and more brandschurn out more and more content (through more and more channels), in order foryour efforts to be effective the content you create must be well crafted.In this deluge of content, it’s not just connecting to the right person, at the right time,with the right offer. The message needs to be carefully and thoughtfully constructed sothat it has meaning and value—and also entertains, informs and inspires someone to dowhat you now have permission to ask them to do.Today, content quality matters more than ever.© Pace 2013 | | Greensboro, NC | New York, NY | Dallas, TX | Rogers, AR 3In this deluge of content, it’s not just connecting to the right person,at the right time, with the right offer. The message needs to becarefully and thoughtfully constructed so that it has meaning andvalue—and also entertains, informs and inspires someone to dowhat you now have permission to ask them to do.
  4. 4. If you need proof that quality is the driving feature of effective content, look no furtherthan the core underpinnings of the web itself. Google’s latest releases – and in fact abet on its entire business – emphasize the quality of content and the positive experi-ence it can build into each search. The Panda and Penguin updates significantly adjust-ed the criteria for who would rank high, aiming to replace the content farms that addedlittle value and instead focusing on creating the best possible experiences throughquality content. Their challenge is to mathematically simulate (and index) what a greatuser experience is, what it means for content to be compelling and valuable.To that end, here are the top two questions that provide guidance from Google’sown blog*: 1. Would you trust the content in this article? 2. Is this article written by a thought leader who is passionate about the topic?They go on: “Our site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find ‘high-quality’sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content.”Trust, knowledge and passion are core to defining quality in Google’s eyes. Instead ofrewarding good experiences, the algorithms penalize bad content – good content isthe standard.One of the other pillars of our digital (and increasingly of our non-digital) world is, ofcourse, Facebook. Last year the social media giant made a series of changes to itsplatform for both users and brands that emphasized compelling content in the formof stories. Through Timeline, brands were compelled to talk about themselves withina wider context – their history. Also, it implemented the Edgerank algorithm, which,like Google’s, is predicated on positive experiences and reactions to posts. The better-quality posts are those that are more meaningful to the individual and will receive moreattention. Thus, the marketer is rewarded with more reach.In both cases, the quality of the content – its impact as indicated by its usefulness – hasbecome the critical factor in defining effectiveness. So how do you ensure that whatyou’re creating meets the quality threshold, and how do you build a content frameworkthat prioritizes quality as much as speed?Forces for Good© Pace 2013 | | Greensboro, NC | New York, NY | Dallas, TX | Rogers, AR 4*Source: Google Webmaster Central Blog, More guidance on building high-quality sites, by Amit Singhal, GoogleFellow,
  5. 5. In over 40 years of building effective content programs for some of the world’s leadingbrands, Pace has learned that there are four important aspects to building a quality-firstapproach to your content program:The first step is to identify and define what your audience is going to find compelling,and then align that with what differentiates your viewpoint. The unique perspective orpoint of view you bring to the table is your value. Your products have (hopefully) uniqueselling propositions. Your content should, too. And this isn’t just limited to what youhave to say: Input from your suppliers, partners, industry analysts and, of course, yourcustomers will not only elevate the experience by diversifying the vantage point, butcan also further validate your position. If you have editorial partners, ensure that theyunderstand your business and your company, so that what you have to say can be bal-anced with why your audience should pay attention.Passion might be the most difficult to quantify but the easiest to identify. Where are theinternal wells of enthusiasm? How can the organization tap into the deep appetite youremployees and partners have for the business? This intensity may not directly translateinto specific content types (the most ardent aren’t always the clearest communica-tors), but a talented editor is uniquely trained to identify and guide enthusiasm into athoughtful content approach.The key to practice – both the noun and the verb – is creating an environment wherecontinued and applied learning is paramount to the process. However, having thetools and people in place to pull performance insights from the data is only half of theequation. Those insights need to inform the continuous content creation cycle itself:Writers, editors, producers and platform developers need to understand what worked,A Quality Framework© Pace 2013 | | Greensboro, NC | New York, NY | Dallas, TX | Rogers, AR 5PerspectivePassionPracticePrecision
  6. 6. © Pace 2013 | | Greensboro, NC | New York, NY | Dallas, TX | Rogers, ARwhere and why. The more intimate the content specialists are with the data, the faster,better and more effective the content is going to be. Here at Pace, our editors areanalysts, too.And finally, organizational commitment to content marketing as a practice, and con-tent quality as a result, is only ensured (like most worthwhile efforts) internally: with thededication of budget and resources. Reflexively, the organization is only going to com-mit with the proof of value. That’s why, before you begin, it is critical to have in placeboth the measurement criteria and the analytic tools that can validate your contentapproach. Your partners, agencies and internal stakeholders should be clear about theirroles in the reporting standards and outputs. Only with evidence that is tied to strategicobjectives will the business reward the program with continued investment.Applying these principles, your content will be uniquely actionable, considered trust-worthy (by humans and non-humans alike), and informed by the data, and the impactwill be evident to the organization.The more intimate the content specialists are withthe data, the faster, better and more effective thecontent is going to be. Here at Pace,our editors are analysts, too.6
  7. 7. © Pace 2013 | | Greensboro, NC | New York, NY | Dallas, TX | Rogers, AR 7A key differentiator regarding the way Pace ensures content quality is in its approachto topic development instead of focusing on asset production. In an omni-channeluniverse, this means that our editorial calendars aren’t merely scheduling tools, butare accountability outlines. They focus not only on assignments, but also context: 1. Who are we speaking with? 2. What are they looking to solve? 3. Where are we speaking with them (platforms and channels)? 4. What do we want them to do? 5. How will we measure that?And from here, the editorial team designs a content approach at the subject matterlevel, considering multiple content types (article, video, infographic, tweet, interactivepost, visual pin), long and short form treatments, and real-time as well as evergreenpieces. So, in about the same time it could take to create a single article, we producea rich ecosystem of content that can be flexibly leveraged across the enterprise,extending the content’s value and creating an intelligent hedge on its success.A topical concentration also allows for discrete versioning at the user level – we candevelop content for particular audiences based on contextual insights or unique behav-iors. This is built into the editorial workflow asan active output. In what seems like avery short time, content marketing ishitting its stride: most marketersnot only understand its value,they are quickly moving fromtactical execution to strate-gic and operational enterpriseimplementation.Creating Quality, Multi-Touch Experiences
  8. 8. © Pace 2013 | | Greensboro, NC | New York, NY | Dallas, TX | Rogers, ARDan Dooley Senior VP, Digital SolutionsAbout the AuthorDan has more than 20 years of experience as both a client and agency leader,guiding brands through the labyrinth of emerging digital platforms and theirimpact on brand vitality, consumer behavior and marketing investmentconsiderations. He has helped some of the world’s leading brands weavedigital and interactive practices into their core marketing efforts, including:Walmart, Verizon, AT&T, Disney, Anheuser Busch, Dell, UPS, Disney, McDonald’s,Four Seasons, Best Buy, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola, Target, The Home Depot andPorsche. His digital programs have garnered awards around the world, includingmultiple Cannes Cyber Lions, Webby’s and Effies.8ConclusionHowever, according to the 2013 B2C Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfssurvey, only 32% believe they are (somewhat or very) effective content marketers. Asmore brands refine their approach, the content universe is only going to expand –more content meeting evolving platform demands. Many brands will lose sight of thefact that effective content answers consumers’ questions, engages with them andultimately builds trust.In this crowded and noisy universe, the quality of your content will become a criticalbusiness asset. Start building a quality-first content approach now to ensure that theongoing effectiveness of your program won’t drown in the inundation.
  9. 9. © Pace 2013 | | Greensboro, NC | New York, NY | Dallas, TX | Rogers, AR 9About PacePace is North America’s leading independent content agency, specializing inmulti-channel branded content solutions that fuel loyalty, CRM, marketing, digitaland social programs for many of the world’s largest brands. We have a staff of morethan 300 professionals that are located in four offices across the U.S. – Greensboro,NC, New York, NY, Dallas, TX and Rogers, AR. We help our clients navigate throughthe complex marketing landscape to develop programs that suit their needs, todeliver targeted outcomes.Contact:Emily Wrightemily.wright@paceco.com336.383.5783*Econsultancy, October 2012**Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs/Pace B2C Report, November 2012***Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs B2B Report, October 2012