Content marketing isn’t a new concept, and few business leaders get to lofty positions within an organization without knowing a little about content marketing benefits and strategies. Yet, content marketing is more important than ever, and as younger, tech-savvy generations grow up, creating effective, engaging content could become a primary business objective, an essential element of providing quality goods and services. Thus, CEOs of today and tomorrow shouldn’t have a mere passing familiarity with content marketing; they should know as much as possible to ensure their business’s viability into the future.
Still, the CEO isn’t the chief marketing officer; CEOs have a full plate of other essential business operations. So, where’s the balance between knowing enough about content marketing to ensure a business’s content flourishes and overloading a CEO with content marketing minutia? Read on to find out.
Content Marketing Basics
There is an overwhelming amount of content out there for users to access—and a proportionately overwhelming amount of it has to do with content marketing. Unfortunately, content marketing has gained significant buzz, which means that everyone and their mother is weighing in with definitions of the term as well as tricks and tips for successful business application. On one hand, this means more CEOs might see and benefit from content marketing practices; on the other hand, it means most CEOs likely lack a firm foundation of content marketing basics.
There are several definitions of content marketing, but perhaps the best is the one from Content Marketing Institute, which says that content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and ultimately to drive profitable customer action.” In this definition CEOs should pay attention to key elements:
- Strategic marketing approach. Content marketing requires strategy; it cannot be successful without a clear plan and tactics.
- Creating and distributing. Content doesn’t just pop into being. CEOs should understand that content takes time to develop, and it needs a place to live, like a company blog or some other publication.
- Valuable, relevant, and consistent. Each of these qualifiers is subjective to unique audiences, but content that lacks even one of these adjectives will be less effective.
- Attract and retain. Content that attracts an audience is good, but content that retains an audience is better.
- Clearly defined audience. Businesses need to fully understand their different audiences before they can create effective content for them. Buyer personas can be useful tools for this.
- Profitable customer action. While content can be a primary profit generator, it isn’t for most businesses. Thus, content needs to point customers in the direction of profitable actions, like purchasing products or contracting services.
Each of these elements is complex and requires knowledge, experience and time to enact effectively. Said plainly, a CEO can’t take the reigns of content marketing because it would require too many of their resources and leave other critical business efforts without direction. Instead, CEOs should outsource to trustworthy B2C or B2B content marketing firms, which are equipped with the requisite expertise. Still, having a clear picture of what content marketing is should help shape CEOs’ expectations for their company’s marketing efforts and their own involvement in the task.
Content Marketing Trends
Though the basics will get most CEOs through most conversations about content marketing, CEOs more involved in marketing efforts might benefit by staying up-to-date on the latest content marketing trends. Content marketing isn’t particularly new; some cite the launch of John Deere’s magazine, “The Furrow,” in 1895 as the first example of content marketing, but it could be as old as print media, or older. Yet, old-fashioned, outdated content isn’t typically engaging, especially for modern audiences, so CEOs should pay attention to trends to ensure their content strategy is attracting the right attention.
Content trends shift swiftly in 2020, when there are so many different types of content for different audiences. Some trending content strategies include:
- Microcontent. Short-form content fits neatly into busy customer schedules.
- Multichannel. It is possible to modify one piece of content to fit multiple channels, like blogs, podcasts, and videos, etc.
- User-generated. Customers like hearing perspectives from other customers.
- Live. Live steams feel like unique experiences and give audiences more interactivity with their favorite brands.
Knowing content marketing basics allows CEOs to have realistic expectations for their content and campaigns, especially while they lean on a third party to acquire results. Staying fresh on content marketing trends ensures that CEOs aren’t pushing for tactics that won’t advance their marketing goals. CEOs don’t need to know everything about content marketing, but by investing in the right knowledge, CEOs can remain connected to this vital component of their business strategy.