Content Is Still King, If It's Done Right

PHOENIX -- The first full day of the Content Marketing Insider Summit included a panel on content distribution and choice overload.

FleishmanHillard Senior Vice President and Senior Partner Ephraim Cohen asked the summit audience if they understood Facebook’s shift to a “paid” vs. “organic” strategy for brand content.

Most of the attendees raised their hands. He then went on to share FH’s own observations, noting that the PR firm’s social media practice sees that good “conversational” brand content will still get “6% to 10%” coverage among its Facebook followers on an organic basis.

Panelist Michail Takach, director of digital marketing, North America, Manpower Group, said the shift was inevitable -- mainly from a consumer’s point-of-view.



“What we suspected is that people are tired of hearing brands talk about themselves as a rule,” he said, adding that Manpower made a “dramatic shift” in its own content strategy this year to deal with that shift, opting to focus more on the stories of “the people we impact and deliver” than “talking about ourselves.”

In a keynote presentation, Colin Nagy, executive director, media and distribution, The Barbarian Group, talked about how his company collaborates with client GE on content and creative distribution.

GE’s targets include potential recruits as well as the general public.  So showcasing the company’s assets in a sexy and appealing way is Job One.

Enter Matthew Dear, a techno musician who recorded thousands of GE sounds and turned them into a piece of music called Drop Science. The piece was then distributed in a variety of ways including a partnership with Bit Torrent which resulted in the track being downloaded several million times.

“Sound as a medium was very abstract for us,” Nagy says. “As a result, because we stretched, it helped it be a little more interesting.”

On a more downbeat note, Allen Gannett, CEO and founder of TrackMaven revealed some sobering statistics on how far we still have to go.

“Content is the panacea, but we’re not actually very good at it,” Gannett says.

According to a recent study from TrackMaven, a growing majority of professional marketing content fails to have an impact. The marketing research firm found that while the content output per brand has increased 78% from the start of 2013 to the end of 2014, content engagement actually decreased 60%. That raises the obvious question: is more content necessarily better?

 “We are publishing more and more content than ever before, and there’s less and less engagement,” Gannett says.

Brands publishing the least amount of content are actually getting more engagement. It’s quality, not quantify. Some of the top engaging brands -- Gawker, NFL, Apple, the Brady Report – publish much less than you might expect.

Timing is key, Gannett says. “We have to start posting when people are listening,” he says. Marketers aren’t publishing on weekends, but that’s when customers are actually listening (not the days we are at the office.)

It’s the same with time of day. Marketers are publishing 9-5, but consumers are busy working themselves and aren’t paying attention until evening.

“One of the big mistakes we’re making as marketers is being convenient for ourselves,” he says.

There is far too much content regurgitation in marketplace and not enough original content, Chad Warren, senior strategist, social media and content marketing, Adobe Systems, told Content Marketing Insider Summit attendees this morning during another panel discussion on the intersection of content, content marketing and social.

Devising a coherent content marketing strategy is hard enough in and of itself for many marketers to wrap their minds around, but what about stringing together the loose confederation of listening tools, engagement platforms, curation models, distribution options, and measurement, analytics and reporting tools? That’s another story altogether.

“Informed content” is key, says Ellen Sirull, senior marketing manager, content, Experian Consumer Services. Monitoring Twitter feeds and the calls coming into the customer care center helps direct what content the company provides.

“Putting content out there just for content’s sake is the antithesis” of what marketers should be doing, Warren added.

A lot of companies are taking a “me too” approach before considering what type of content they should be providers, says Dan Cristo, Director, SEO Innovation, Catalyst.

“They might see that their competitor is using video and think they need to use video too,” but might not actually have the appropriate content for video.

Attorney Vejay Lalla, a partner in the entertainment, advertising and promotions group of Davis & Gilbert LLC, gave attendees a primer on how not to get sued -- or at the least, when to settle -- when it comes to content marketing and regulation. Using celebrity images for endorsements can be tricky, unless the person
has given explicit approval.

And some celebrities are more likely to sue than others, he said, naming a few examples that drew chuckles from the audience.

"It depends on how bad their last movie was," Lalla says.

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