Take a minute to think about marketing in 2014 and how a basic 500-word article could probably drive results for your company: site traffic, perception of influence and thought leadership, and inbound leads. Fast-forward to the present day, and a lot of the buzz surrounding content marketing has had to share the spotlight with newer, shinier approaches and technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
I'm not here to say those advancements aren't impressive or that they don't have a place in your marketing strategy. But I will say that they haven't rendered content totally useless, either.
Companies just need to take advantage of trends in content marketing and determine how to make content work for them -- and their audiences -- again. Here are three companies I've noticed doing it well:
One of the best ways to revive your content is to figure out a way to repurpose and amplify your existing pieces. Creating content is resource-intensive, especially if you're creating video content. Rather than reinvent the wheel, find a way to make that piece go the extra mile.
Yoola, a digital media company, does this through its localization and distribution of content. In other words, Yoola works alongside some of the world's top YouTube content creators to repurpose existing pieces of content to fit a new market and expand their reach.
For example, Yoola and the biggest lifehacks channel on YouTube, "Slivki Show," are working to introduce the channel's engaging tips-and-tricks content to the Chinese and German markets, which is especially big because China's audience has been difficult for Western influencers and content creators to tap into.
Through content translation, localization, and promotion, content from "Slivki Show" is now featured in the feed of China's most popular social network, Weibo (following recent loosened censorship by the Chinese government), with other local platforms to follow. This gives "Slivki Show" access to one of the largest audience bases in the world, just by localizing and helping to promote its existing content for a new market.
Your company created content and shared it on social, but it doesn't look like your audience is engaging with it. What happened? Well, getting your audience to engage with content takes more than a couple of mindless social shares from your company account. It requires testing and understanding what really makes content shareable, and that process is a science -- one that avoids #overusing #hashtags.
Dose, one of the world's fastest-growing digital publishers, which earns more than 50 million unique visitors monthly and boasts more than 25 million social followers, helps brands create stories worth sharing using predictive, data-driven technology.
Embracing social media as the new SEO, Dose understands the science behind what makes content go viral, which is important to audiences engaging with and sharing your content. Emerson Spartz, Dose's founder, says, "The old-school model of 'create and pray' will only push content. A data-driven approach to 'create and optimize' is essential."
Despite the digital noise, clutter, and ads that pop up out of nowhere to sell you something you don't need, there's still plenty of good content out there, and it's not impossible for your brand to cut through that clutter. Once your content does reach your audience, what are you doing to ensure it converts?
Classic analytics aren't always enough to understand how and why users do what they do. ContentSquare, a user experience analytics and optimization platform, works with global brands -- including Unilever, Lacoste, Best Western, and L'Occitane -- to identify behavioral data about their target audiences and site users to increase their conversion rates.
Providing automatic, artificial intelligence-driven recommendations regarding what content needs to be created and which changes need to be made, the platform helps brands see triple-digit conversion increases that lead to a sustained spike in sales.
"Many e-commerce brands don't understand how to remove the noise, what motivates their buyers, or which KPIs truly matter," says Jonathan Cherki, ContentSquare's CEO and founder. "You have to understand behavior in order to make and tweak the right content."
While content is still king, it doesn't rule on its own. A successful content marketing strategy that supports business growth contains plenty of science and creativity, and these companies leverage it well. What additional trends are you seeing emerge? Let me know in the comments.