Their natural habitat is the par 5 with the watering hole, but you’ll often find them lurking in c-suite boardrooms, their razor-sharp claws ready to rip apart your carefully presented content marketing proposal. I’m referring, of course, to the marketing dinosaur – the fierce creature you must convince to update their marketing methods.
Even as a digital native I’m the first to admit it can be tricky keeping up with the leading edge in marketing developments. There are far too many amazing new automation tools and obscure social media platforms ‘you must be on’ to reach your target audience’s influencers. But (and it’s important to be clear about this) content marketing is not some automation tool that’s simply ‘nice to have’.
Content has become the currency of the web – the thing by which we transact, trade and own cultural and business value online. As such, it’s now a critical component in any digital communication strategy.
The tricky part is overcoming the digital disconnect rife in some executive suites and convincing marketing dinosaurs to pull their heads out of the primordial quicksand and embrace content.
Understanding the beast
The marketing dinosaur comes in all shapes and sizes, so I’ll admit it’s a little unfair to paint them all as vicious raptors. Regardless of their ferocity, many of them share the same concerns: they don’t quite understand content marketing or how it works and they don’t want to allot budgets to something they don’t understand and therefore can’t execute.
You need to:
- Make content marketing accessible by explaining what it is and how it works in layman’s terms.
- Demonstrate the value of content with applicable research and case studies.
- Explain how content marketing can (and should be) integrated into existing marketing programs.
Most dinosaurs are firmly entrenched in their own marketing comfort zones, so you’ll need to take the initiative and be prepared to counter their objections on the fly.
Refuting their roars
“Content marketing… what’s that? Oh you mean PR?’’
Unlike PR, content marketing allows brands to own, rather than rent their online presence. Content marketing is about delivering ongoing value to an audience in the form of helpful, interesting and engaging content – it’s not the occasional press release or media placement.
It’s more work than PR, but it yields greater results because of its cumulative value to a brand.
“Giving all that information to our competitors is a stupid idea!’’
Keeping all your expertise and knowledge to yourself is even more stupid.
Today’s consumer craves relevant, interesting and helpful information. They expect to know almost everything about a brand before they take the plunge and buy.
Wake up! The buying journey has fragmented and changed in the digital era. The consumer is now firmly in the driver’s seat and they want accessible and relevant content at each stage. If you’re not delivering this content and building a relationship with them, your competitors will be!
“Nobody knows how to measure or define ROI for content marketing’’
This myth also surrounds social media, and is blatantly untrue. Calculating ROI for content marketing is fairly straightforward if you have implemented a content strategy that tracks measurable goals.
Remember that content marketing is not just writing and publishing a random blog and hoping for results. Developing a content strategy ensures that each piece of content meets specific and measurable goals.
Content marketing has been proven to generate a higher volume of quality leads than other tactics, and because of the available measurement tools it actually provides a higher level of insight into audience behaviour than offline campaign measurement. There’s also the added benefit of being able to measure the success of content in real time and adapt for increased success.
“The timing is wrong – maybe next financial year’’
Content marketing does takes time, effort and resources, and unlike traditional campaigns there is no foreseeable end point. After all, you wouldn’t go to all the effort of building a trusted relationship with someone and then abandon it.
This usually makes people wary – and rightly so. But the ongoing and cumulative benefits of content marketing far outweigh the initial teething problems.
The reality is that the buyer journey is underway right now. Right now your prospect is searching for helpful and interesting information online. Can you wait until the next financial year before starting a conversation with them?
How to kick-start your content marketing
The marketing landscape has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, and brands need to evolve their strategies to meet the demands of the emerging digital natives.
Adapt or beware, marketing dinosaurs. There’s an impending meteor strike.