In a world where content is king, creating that content, making it relevant, scalable and easily found is of upmost importance. Accordingly, Accenture Interactive has started a Digital Content Studio that it hails as a “research-driven, creative strategy practice, created to explore the critical issues and opportunities for innovation within the emerging content space” for clients. Search Insider spoke with Donna Tuths, managing director of Accenture Interactive’s global content services, about the studio, content marketing in general and how search fits in with all of it.
What’s the current status of content marketing, and how does that play into the creation of your content studio?
So much of the industry is trying to wrap their head around the content marketing space, how marketers should use it and integrate it into their marketing plans. We really experiment and bring into our space a lot of different types of content. A lot of it is about coming in and looking at content and helping our clients think differently about the challenge that content is presenting them.
How do you translate those things into actionable content and programs?
The fastest growing area for us is in content strategy. A lot of these things we use to help broaden the way people are thinking about what their challenges are and we help them literally craft and settle on new strategies. In some cases, it’s coming down and helping a client remap how they create content from beginning to end within their organizations, who their partners are, what their ecosystems look like, perhaps working through the issues of whether they want to bring their own creative and content back in-house.
What is the biggest challenge you’re seeing when it comes to content marketing?
We did a survey this past year, and one of the things that came out was that more than half [of respondents] indicated that they have more content than they can manage. More than half believe they could be outperformed by their peers around content. So for the largest companies in our economy, what we’re seeing is a lot of them are struggling with how to keep up with both creating the amount of content they need to create and managing it and distributing it.
What are the trends you’re seeing in content marketing?
One of the trends we focus a lot on is a really shift in mindset. We call it: “You are your content.” It’s an acknowledgement that content is the most meaningful expression of the brand. Companies are beginning to understand that in a world that is largely virtualized, content is your method of connection.
Coming out of that, we are very focused on another trend [we call]: “Know thyself.” If you are your content, then who are you going to want to entrust that content to? What we see is that brands and companies are really wanting to expand beyond creative partners who are more short-term and campaign focused to partners that can take a much broader, deeper and long-term view to their content. And in many cases, they want to steward a lot of that themselves.
How does all of this content affect brands’ relationship with consumers?
It used to be your content was competing against your competitors’ content. Now your content is competing against all the content that’s out there. That, I think, is really raising the bar as to the kind of content that you have to create. One of the things we’re focusing on is to push the envelope on the quality and speed. It’s about competing with all kinds of content for the attention of the consumers.
How do you get your content
My general comment is you’ve got to think about search right at the beginning. And you really have to engineer your content to be picked up the way that you want across many different search algorithms. You have to think about it when you’re planning and thinking about what your content is going to be about. Because if no one can find it — or they don’t find it first or close to first — they’re not going to get to it.
With that in mind, what tips do you have for creating content?
You’ve got to start with the end in mind. That sounds like a simple point, but I actually think that planning has now become really important. If you’re heavily involved in content marketing, you have to think of the editorial calendar. And then truly finding, either internally or through partners, a really excellent editorial staff that really knows your end customer. That’s going to be your most critical ingredient.
(This Interview has been condensed and edited.)