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Six important questions and answers about content marketing

From the book: Scaling Up Content Marketing (2019)

How to develop the right content competences?

Achieving successful content marketing does not happen overnight. Before you can set up a successful media company, you will need to develop specific competences. You must learn to think from the perspective of the target group and its interests. You must hold onto the chosen content formula without losing flexibility in the further development of your formats. You must know how to reach, interest and bind your audience. This requires the use of the right technology. On the one hand, content requires generalists, who are able to maintain the overview, the relationships with brand management, sales and service. And on the other hand, it requires specialists who are experts when it comes to certain channels, analytics and creating content, such as copywriters (Machielse and Peelen, 2017).

Whom to involve?

As mentioned, content marketing is not the exclusive domain of a communications or marketing department. In recent years, we see that larger organizations are having positive experiences with agile teams. These are multidisciplinary teams which are not too large and which work on certain subjects using short sprints and small steps. Without having written large, fixed plans beforehand. With the right to make mistakes, act and learn from what they do. Content marketing can flourish using this method or organization. An integrated organizational approach is reached without the burden of plans, methods and their control being poured in concrete.

What to do yourself and where to involve third parties?

Not all competences are available in-house, nor can they all be integrated in-house. It is good to bring third parties in for these. Important here, as already mentioned at the start of this chapter, is that all those involved must live and be the brand. This creates an area of tension. In a media landscape where the command and control model no longer work, and more and more brand representatives communicate from the brand, the risk of inconsistent communication grows by the day. Permanent and in-depth involvement with and coordination of one’s own content marketing is a must for everyone who wants to take it seriously. Internally and externally.

Content sources?

What sources do we see and use, who has practical access to it, and is everyone aware of the associated processes and rules? One of the mottos here is that the content must work for us rather than us working to create and distribute the content. This means we must step outside our corporate bubbles and discover what is going on with our stakeholders. We must connect to what is happening in those communities and organize our sources and input from that perspective. These connections are at the foundation of the strategic competitive advantage of a brand or organization. It is precisely this network or ecosystem that is difficult for competitors to copy!

What role do social influencers play in content creation and distribution?

Good social influencers emphatically contribute to reach, engagement and credibility, but due to their independence, they are not hierarchically bound and cannot be influenced as directly. Even so, their importance is increasing as consumers seek more content, incentives and authenticity. This is difficult to deliver from one’s own corporate sources.

How to organize?

As mentioned, this requires a smart balance between flexibility and control. A right and broadly shared content plan — just like a corporate style and communication style — offers grip on curation, creation and distribution, while agile forms of content marketing (inbound, content hacking) provide the necessary flexibility that we can use to respond to the market and society. This is accompanied by regular test and measurement: what works, with whom and in what way? But also, can content be published before it is tested?

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