As content marketing becomes more commonplace, brands are becoming savvier about creating processes and building teams to support content initiatives. In fact, Curata's recent survey of 500 marketers found that 71 percent say they plan to boost their investment in content marketing in the areas of people (internal and external) and technology during 2014. Twelve percent say they will make a significant increase in investment.
Investing in people often means hiring a dedicated content marketing team, including Chief Content Officer, VP, or Director of Content to oversee the team. Forty-three percent of the companies surveyed already have an executive focused on overall content strategy.
But once they have a content executive in place, how do savvy brands align marketing with broader organizational goals? Here's a look at four best practices to maximize content marketing success.
Build a solid content team. The executive in charge of content--sometimes called a Chief Content Officer or VP or Director of Content--needs a team of strong writers to execute on his or her vision. Oftentimes, these writers have a journalism (rather than a traditional marketing) background, ensuring that they know how to source credible information and tell stories in a compelling and authentic manner that isn't overly salesy. In addition to building an internal team, many brands also outsource part of their content creation to agencies or freelancers. Outsourcing helps them maintain a steady stream of fresh content without exhausting the internal content team. The best marketers avoid "cheap" content and ensure that all the content developed for the brand is high quality and meets company standards.
Align internally. In addition to building a core content team (perhaps including a blog or content manager, content specialist, and content writers), it's also smart to identify individuals and teams across the organization to be part of an extended content marketing team. They can contribute content as time allows or if they're less comfortable writing, help generate brand-appropriate ideas from other corners of the organization. In addition, these members of the extended marketing team can help evangelize support for content marketing by securing executive buy-in.
Rethink the process. Content marketing succeeds when it's aligned with global and local marketing strategies. Identify what content you will produce and how that content will flow from creation to distribution to analysis. Establishing metrics to help improve the content marketing creation process is also key. Metrics exploring engagement, ROI, and other areas can help hone the content strategy and justify the brand's investment in content marketing. For example, when reviewing your company's blog, how much traffic does it drive to your corporate site? Look at which blog articles produce the most social shares and tweak your editorial calendar to include a similar styles of content.
Encourage innovation in content marketing. As the pace of publishing content continues to accelerate, the need to create more relevant pieces will only increase in 2014. To keep content fresh and relevant, consider mixing up your content mix by crowdsourcing from readers, curating from third-party sources, or drawing inspiration from customer questions. Continuing to innovate and reinvent the creation process will keep the content from getting stale. For instance, you could repurpose a webinar as a series of blog posts or turn it into an ebook to get more mileage out of every piece you create. The content marketing pyramid offers ideas on creating longer or shorter pieces with existing content.
Want to read more about content marketing best practices? Download Content Marketing Tactics Planner 2014, Curata's third annual benchmark study covering the strategies of successful content marketing teams, the role of new technology, and much more.