Most of us at Collective Content have backgrounds in journalism, rather than in marketing departments or agencies. That makes us great storytellers. But it also, back in 2012, made us sceptical about this hot new area called content marketing.
We knew that ad-funded media models were in trouble (and the situation’s grown only worse since then) but that didn’t mean consumers and business decision-makers were about to start trusting content from brands.
For example, every year we research whether gatekeepers in PR trust so-called brand journalism, a staple of content marketing. For the most part, though, we needn’t have worried.
What we didn’t know back then was that content marketing isn’t new, even if its name is. Michelin has done it for years with its guides. John Deere started its advice for farmers – The Furrow magazine – over 100 years ago. American Express does it every day now, wonderfully, with its OpenFORUM online community, packed full of advice for small businesses.
Being entertaining or useful as a brand makes sense given the above context. That’s why nine out of 10 UK marketers now employ content marketing. Even so, only around a third of organisations have a documented content strategy, according to leading lights such as Altimeter or the Content Marketing Institute. Still, by next year, 51 per cent of companies will have someone in charge of an overall content marketing strategy, according to Curata. Let’s face it: CCO is a hot job title.
All that means you need to know about a wealth of content marketing issues, such as when to use an agency or go in-house, having an authentic voice in your content, staffing content marketing teams or understanding editorial processes and style.
WHAT COLLECTIVE CONTENT DOES
Our starting role is usually as consultants. In the best spirit of B2B content marketing, we educate and inform. This often means showing you how leading companies are using content, not just for PR or thought leadership but to become more visible online, to develop long-term conversations and to become a trusted source – long before an audience member might be considered a lead or, eventually, a customer.
Then we develop a programme. Content marketing is a long-term undertaking. It isn’t about a three-month campaign. It’s about now until forever.
It is important you plan, plan, plan. We first help you understand the assets you have. This can be through a full content audit or something as simple as identifying employees who can create your content – from the C-suite to customer service agents to external experts.
We then look at suitable channels. Social media is great – but you don’t own those channels. Working with the media is often still advisable – but do your partners understand this?
At the very least, you fuel a blog on your own website, a blog that is updated regularly, a blog where each post counts. We make sure of this because we come from a world of daily deadlines, content planning and analysing the results of every piece of content. We do this not just for blog posts but for all formats from the shortest tweet to the longest e-book, and beyond text to graphics, audio and video.
We either unlock all this potential for you as trusted advisors, or run it for you as a full-service content agency. Sometimes, we do both.