Content marketing is important now, more than ever. In 2020, global online content consumption has doubled and the surge is attributable to the global lockdowns thanks to the coronavirus. With an increase in content consumption, more people are making first-time buying decisions based on content and changing the way content is used in the buyer’s journey. Due to this, content marketers are feeling the pressure to produce and distribute more content during this peak of uncertainty and content saturation – but we are determined to rise to the challenge through storytelling.
This year at one of the industry’s largest annual conferences, Content Marketing World (CMW), things looked a little different. Although the event was held virtually, Welcome’s (formerly NewsCred) eighth attendance to CMW was no different than the prior years – filled with insightful workshops and brilliant keynote speakers. We are always fortunate to grow and evolve alongside the content marketing industry. Coming off back from CMW, now is the best time to do a roundup of the biggest shifts in content marketing. From diversifying content marketing channels to writing in an authentic voice, here are a few key takeaways from this year’s event that every marketer should pay attention to.
1. Diversifying Your Content Portfolio
The most common tip given by investors is to “diversify your portfolio.”
As content marketers, we are taught to diversify our content channels to attract buyers by offering a suite of content – including videos, long-form & short-form blogs, ebooks, and webinars. However, according to Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi, this isn’t enough – but why is diversifying in different content channels not enough to lower marketing risk? Because we can’t diversify in the same asset class; quoted by Joe Pulizzi, “[different social media and content channels] technically is diversification, but it’s similar to buying stock from Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.”
So what can I do to diversify the content experience? The answer to this is simply, by creating and mapping out content based on types of revenue or marketing goals.
According to Joe Pulizzi, there should be four revenue categories when mapping out content for the buyer’s journey:
- Win Revenue (Demand Generation) – these are content that provides information to sell products and services to new customers
- Grow Revenue – assets that increase total yield and cross-sales
- Keep Revenue (Customer Retention) – these are assets for loyalty efforts and customer content
- Direct Revenue – content that can generate revenue and profit directly from the audience’s interaction (e.g. sponsorships/ads in podcasts, subscriptions, premium assets, donations, and events)
Moreover, the future of marketing success is by developing content based on channel type and goal. By expanding your content diversification in these four points, you can take the content experience to the next level.
2. More Content, More Sales
More people are purchasing from a business for the first time than ever before.
As we know, the buying process for a new solution can take several months (or even years) to purchase and implement, but with the current state of remote work, many executive leaders are trying to fill the gaps in their current solution(s) urgently to meet demands of the “new normal.”
According to Convince & Convert founder Jay Baer, 20% of B2B buyers switched suppliers for most purchases since the pandemic.
Therefore, more marketers are now sitting on a new solution compared to prior years and buyers are keener to seeking alternatives for their current vendors. This begs the question: How are executive leaders quickly executing the buying process to supplement solution gaps during the pandemic? How are marketers gathering information for alternative solutions? How are buyers evaluating new vendors?
With content! During uncertain times, buyers want more guidance during the buying journey. Content will be key to supplementing information needed to make buying decisions. As a result of this, there is pressure to create more content in order to reach the demands of the buyer’s content experience.
All things considered, the pandemic has created extensive opportunities for content marketers to generate more leads and influence the buyer’s journey through content creation and storytelling.
3. Inclusive Approach to Marketing
This year, one of the most prominent hot topics at CMW was the conversation around diversity and inclusion in marketing.
With historic political protests displayed around the world, the topic of inclusion at Content Marketing World perfectly aligns with the events in the real world. That being said, most brands do not feel obligated to take an inclusive approach to their marketing efforts because marketers think that taking a social or political stand doesn’t strengthen their relationship with customers.
Contrary to their beliefs, in today’s world, employees and customers demand that brands are positively impacting society and improving people’s lives. According to Edelman’s research, 80% of people believe that brands should play a role in societal problems. One of the largest inequalities we are facing in marketing today is the lack of representation from marginalized communities. If you want to appeal and deliver impact across all communities, taking an inclusive approach to marketing is important.
Here are some ways to make your marketing more inclusive:
- Using nonbinary language (i.e. using language that is not restricted to two things or parts)
- Representing people from marginalized communities
- Amplifying voices of underrepresented groups
As the voice and storyteller of the brand, the choices we make as content marketers have an impact on strengthening customer relationships by being inclusive and authentic in every piece of content we create.
4. Building Trust with Customers
Whether you are adding comedy, drama, or research into your content, approaching content with an authentic voice is crucial to connect with your audience.
During Welcome and Studio ID‘s keynote session, Chief Strategist Alex Cheeseman, reiterates the importance of connecting with your audience through authentic content. More than enough times do we see repetitive, meaningless content on company blog sites. And now is the time to break this habit! As mentioned by Alex Cheeseman, companies that produce less content but more meaningful content have seen an increase in conversion and lead generation compared to brands that produce lots of purposeless content. Therefore, authenticity is key to connect with your customers.
As reported by Edelman, only 1 in 3 buyers trust most of the brands they buy. Trust and connection are now the make or break difference for a brand. As Jackie Chakiirelis from Quest Digital stated in her Content that Builds Trust in the Era of Distrust session, people today grant their trust based on two distinct attributes:
- Competence – delivering on promises
- Ethical Behavior – doing the right thing and working to improve society
As previously stated, the approach to inclusive marketing develops trust between the brand and the customers. Rather than selling to customers, think about serving them by creating exceptional content. But more importantly, develop content in your authentic voice. If your authentic voice comes in a form of comedy, like the keynote speaker Kamau Bell, incorporate comedy into your content efforts. As content marketers, we have the power to build trust with our customers; we need to empower our audience with exceptional content and storytelling.
That’s all for Content Marketing World 2020! Thank you to everyone who attended our CEO’s sessions. If you weren’t able to make it, request a demo and one of our experts will be in touch!
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