By Chris Lee
Content marketing is on the move. According to industry watcher < a href="http://www.econsultancy.com">Econsultancy, just 38 per cent of brands have a content marketing strategy in place, although 90 per cent of the organisations it interviewed believe it will become more relevant in the next 12 months. Searches for “content marketing” have also increased significantly in the last year.
It is against this backdrop that the inaugural Content Marketing Show took place in London in November 2012, organised by < a href="http://www.sitevisibility.co.uk">Site Visibility, the same agency behind the twice-yearly, sell-out BrightonSEO conference.
Right place, right time
According to the Content Marketing Show’s organiser, Kelvin Newman, there was a gap in the event calendar that needed to be filled.
“Part of the reason everyone is so excited by the idea of content marketing is the way it crosses many different disciplines and helps performance too,” he told NMK. “Whether your background is is SEO, social media, PR, viral marketing or journalism, you can bring something to the content marketing table. It’s also hugely effective investment compared to bought media. All these disciplines are growing up and feeling much more comfortable working and learning together.”
The value of content marketing
One of the keynote speakers was Philip Sheldrake, marketing author and managing director of consultancy Euler Partners. For Sheldrake, content marketing traverses the two disciplines of wider marketing and public relations, where “content marketing” in some form and volume has been practice for years, he argues. But measuring value is a challenge.
“Measurement of content marketing requires as much diligence as PR and marketing more widely,” he told NMK. “We’re not looking to get ‘eyeballs’. We’re not looking simply to get shares, likes, retweets etc. We’re looking to develop conversations with and amongst our customers and prospective customers in order to understand them better and make ourselves more clearly understood, so that we might win new customers and drive and maintain the loyalty of current customers. In Influence Scorecard terms, we’re seeking to improve the effectiveness with which we influence and seek to be influenced.”
Sheldrake believes that the publicly visible – or at least calculable – metrics are those so-called output metrics. They are closely related to the content and distant from business.
“I like to conjure up the idea of a chairman’s statement at the front of an annual report insisting ‘we’re stoked RTs tripled last year’. It’s not going to happen, and for good reason,” he said. “The true metrics of success, the outcome metrics, describe customer acquisition and churn, and cannot easily be determined by third parties. These are the chairman’s domain of interest. So who’s doing content marketing well? Only your own outcome metrics can say.”
For Newman the potential for content marketing is huge.
“Whereas in the past different approaches or disciplines might have felt a tension or pulled in different directions coming together under one banner immediately solves a bunch of those problems,” he said. “Ultimately it’s what customers want and if it works for business we’re only going to see more investment and success in content-led campaigns.”