Ama boston 9-19-13_content_marketing_exec summary


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Ama boston 9-19-13_content_marketing_exec summary

  1. 1. Executive Summary Past, Present, and Future of Content Marketing: Impacting Behavioral Change September 19, 2013
  2. 2. Executive Summary September 19, 2013 Past, Present, and Future of Content Marketing: Impacting Behavioral Change Margot Bloomstein, Brand and Content Strategy Consultant, Appropriate, Inc. Jessica Gioglio, Public Relations and Social Media Manager, Dunkin’ Brands Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs Tim Washer, Senior Marketing Manager, Social Media, Cisco Graham Nelson (Moderator), Senior Vice President, AMP Agency Overview Key Takeaways Great content marketing is about connecting with customers (B2C or B2B) by telling engaging stories. When done right, content marketing doesn’t feel like marketing; it engages people, moves them emotionally, provides answers to important questions, and furnishes valuable, relevant information. The best content marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. It is born from a deep understanding of the customer, a clear strategy that defines why an organization is doing content marketing, a clear link to the business’ goals, and a sustained commitment. When done well, content marketing is flexible, fun, artistic, and engaging—and it can be learned. Increasingly, it is not just words, but is also visual, including video and infographics. It is taking place through an increasing array of social media channels. Important lessons about content marketing can be learned from the failures and successes of the past which can be utilized in the present and can help shape the future. Context Other important lessons learned include: ƒƒ Content issues are often people issues. Organizations often view their content-related communication issues as technology, process, or cultural issues. But at their core, these are all people-related issues. This means that creating good content requires a healthy culture, good governance, and resolution of people issues. “Most of our content problems come down to being people problems.” - Margot Bloomstein David Fox, Photographer Graham Nelson moderated a lively conversation among content marketing experts. The panelists described what they have learned in the past about content marketing and what the state of content marketing is today, and offered their insights about the future. In sharing their most important lesson learned about content marketing, Ann Handley and Jessica Gioglio agreed that the most effective content marketing takes place when it doesn’t feel at all like marketing. Great content engages people, creates experiences, helps people find answers and information that they need, and helps them accomplish something. © 2013 AMA Boston. Created by BullsEye Resources,
  3. 3. ƒƒ Much can be learned from standup comedy. Prior to focusing on content marketing, Tim Washer wrote and performed standup comedy. Comedians receive honest and immediate feedback, and must get their first laugh by connecting with their audience within 20 seconds. If everyone in content marketing had a mindset of getting people’s immediate attention and building an immediate connection, the content that is produced might be different. Producing great content can be learned. The practice of creating content strategies can definitely be learned. This starts with understanding a brand’s broad communication goals, determining the right style and tone, and figuring out where it is going to go, who is going to produce it, and on what frequency. Margot Bloomstein sees the process of creating content as one that any organization can adopt. However, in Bloomstein’s experience, organizations often rush to develop content without first answering the question, “Why?” Why does the organization want to produce content? What is the business need? What is the communication goal? Ann Handley suggested that before developing content, organizations first define their “content mission.” Tim Washer believes that large organizations can develop great content, but doing so is not easy or natural. Marketers in large organizations have been taught to talk about their product and repeat their tagline. But content marketing requires being more subtle with messaging. It is about connecting with people and communicating by telling stories, which is unnatural for large marketers. “It’s that subtle shift toward being not corporate centric, but customer centric.” - Ann Handley A common content marketing mistake is short-term investments that aren’t sustained. The panelists have seen many marketers who jump to launch a blog or a presence on a social media site, but then fail to sustain the effort or budget that is needed. Margot Bloomstein believes it would be far better to have never launched a blog than to launch it and forget about it. Brands should do less things but do them well. Before undertaking content marketing, organizations must understand every step in the process. Organizations must know their mission and why they want to create content. Understanding “why” typically begins with understanding customers’ “personas” and © 2013 AMA Boston. Created by BullsEye Resources, pain points, knowing which customer questions need to be answered, and knowing how to thrill customers. This deep understanding of customers will lead companies to determine what type of stories to tell to move people emotionally and what channels to use in posting and distributing content. Content marketers must tie content marketing to business goals. Every content marketer must take the lead in making a compelling case for content marketing, but the case and the metrics used will vary by the particular industry and company. In one with long sales cycles of big-ticket items, content marketing’s success might be based on lead generation. Another company might view the purpose of content marketing as consumer engagement, and still another company might see sales as the key measure of effective content marketing. In every situation it is essential to link content marketing to key organizational goals. “Consumer engagement is our most important metric. We create content to be an everyday part of consumers’ lives and create new ways for them to experience the brand.” - Jessica Gioglio However, making the case for content marketing is not always based on analytics or quantitative metrics. Content marketing can have an impact when it helps engage and motivate employees, when an industry analyst retweets a great article, or when a great story spurs an emotional reaction, even if there is not a clear and measureable ROI from the content. Tim Washer has had success grabbing screen shots that show the impact of content marketing and sending them up in the organization. Also effective in securing organizational support for content marketing is showing senior management something creative that a key competitor has done. These content marketers see great creativity in how stories are being told. The panelists see marketers telling great stories in a host of creative ways including videos, documentaries, blogs, and all forms of social media. Great content can be funny, artistic, and beautiful. Content marketers should seek to be flexible, should experiment, and should try new things. 3
  4. 4. “If you can produce beauty and art in your brand . . . you can connect with another person.” - Tim Washer Frustration with agencies can be avoided by making them part of the process. The panelists have had both positive and negative experiences working with external agencies for content development. The best experiences have been when agencies have great people (writers and filmmakers) and when there is close collaboration. When working with agencies doesn’t go well, often there are handoffs and expectations of frequent deliverables without communication and collaboration between the client and the agency. Often when there are problems with agencies, the client is complicit. Content is becoming even more visual. To date content has largely been words. But going forward, the panelists see visuals being critical, in the form of pictures, videos, infographics, and more. Content marketers will increasingly use visuals to help tell compelling stories. GE and Chipotle were mentioned as examples of companies doing creative work in this area. Other predictions for the future include: ƒƒ Storytelling through multiple channels. The panelists see even more social media channels emerging not just for broadcast or conversations, but for use as unique ways to tell stories. For example, content marketers are using Pinterest not just as a place to pin things but to tell new types of stories. (As homework, Tim Washer suggested that everyone upload at least one video to YouTube to become comfortable publishing content in this way.) ƒƒ Platform-agnostic structured content. The idea is that content marketers will create content that can be used and easily reassembled in many different forms and places. This can include short form in one location and a longer form in another. Other Important Points ƒƒ Avoid committees. When creative content must be reviewed and approved by a committee, it tends to get watered down and becomes mediocre. ƒƒ Content for regulated industries. An example that was shared of an approach to developing content for a company in a highly regulated industry was to have the legal department involved in the process of © 2013 AMA Boston. Created by BullsEye Resources, approving the messaging architecture, the editorial style guidelines with sample content, and the editorial calendar. The result was that the legal department was invested in the process and knew how the content was being created, what the content would be about, and the frequency of content creation. As a result, as long as the guidelines were followed, the legal department didn’t need to review and approve every piece of content. ƒƒ Creative filmmaking. One panelist suggested finding talented young filmmakers, even while still in school, and engaging them. Talented people can do great work at a fraction of the cost of established filmmakers and big agencies. An alternative suggested by another panelist is This company arranges and oversees film contests, which can produce great content at a reasonable cost. More from the Panelists These panelists all have created content and regularly share their thoughts via social media. To learn more from them, check out the following resources: Margot Bloomstein - Twitter: @margotbloomstein - Website: - Book: Content Strategy at Work - YouTube Jessica Gioglio - Twitter: @savvybostonian - YouTube Ann Handley - Twitter: @MarketingProfs - Web log: - Book: Content Rules - YouTube Tim Washer - Twitter: @timwasher - Website: - YouTube About BullsEye Resources BullsEye helps organizations capture the key takeaways from their events and create lasting thought leadership that increases the value and extends the reach of these events. BullsEye has summarized thousands of events around the world for leading corporations, associations, universities, and non-profits. To explore how a collaboration might help your organization to further leverage the content of your live events, please visit us at or call (978) 443-5513. 4