The report Content Marketing in the UK 2016, produced by the Content Marketing Institute, shows that marketing teams continue to use more content as a part of their marketing mix. The use of images and illustrations saw the biggest increase (up from 63% to 75%) and there were big increases in the use of social media platforms, Youtube seeing the biggest jump from 68% last year to 81% this year.
The use of content in marketing is set to continue too with 66% of marketers expecting an increase in their content marketing budget this year. This represents a bigger slice of the overall marketing budget at 29%, versus 26% last year.
However, there remain some big challenges around creating great content with 61% of marketing professionals saying that producing engaging content is their top challenge.
Creating engaging content is a challenge and when marketing teams highlight it as such then you begin to get a sense of exactly how difficult it can be. This is a challenge that faces other professions that are involved in creating great content. Journalism, for example, faces a whole set of challenges around how to deliver engaging multi-channel content. This becomes more acute as the channels broaden – think about what virtual reality might mean for the news experience, for example.
The article, The biggest challenges facing the news industry in 2016, is well worth a read to understand upcoming hurdles when it comes to producing great content. Why? Because journalists and publishers have been at the bleeding edge of technology change and changing media consumption. Their challenges will impact on how any business creates content – whether those challenges are mobile, business models or trust.
So how can organisations create value through their content? Whatever the technology or channel, there are some fundamentals that need to be adhered too.
- Know your audience, who they are and what is useful and relevant to them
- Use data to understand what people are looking at, build on that knowledge
- Create regular, original content and deliver it in the right channel at the right time. Again, use data to help understand what works and when
In an interesting Google Insights piece, Lisa Gevelber, Google’s VP of marketing, says, “Understanding consumer intent and meeting their needs in the moment are the keys to winning more hearts, minds, and dollars.”
The thrust of her piece is that businesses need to look at consumer intent and provide the right content to help consumers, to buy or research a product for example. She cites the Home Depot Youtube channel as a good example of ‘useful’ content. Take a look – and now think about what really useful content will help your customers or potential customers over the coming months. Look at your site data and really ask some challenging questions, such as:
- What are visitors looking at?
- What are you producing that people aren’t looking at?
- Do you decide what users need, or do you ask users and then create content for their needs?
- Is your content aligned with your business goals and customer needs?
Be really honest – you might find the answers challenging. And if you do, don’t be dispirited. Marketers and journalists are facing the same challenges.
Great content will help build your authority in the market, feed your marketing campaigns and help grow your business. But first and foremost you need to know who the content is for and what those people find useful and relevant.