By Danny Wong
Content marketing is no longer something businesses and brands can ignore or brush off with an ambivalent shoulder shrug.
Big names such as American Express, Anheuser-Busch, and PepsiCo have adopted content as part of their marketing mix. Relatively smaller businesses such as HubSpot have dedicated staff who produce blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, and videos that educate readers and keep the HubSpot brand top-of-mind.
Not only are they seeing engagement and readership increase, sales have gone up as well.
To understand how businesses these days think about content marketing, we reached out to iProspect, a leading digital performance agency that works with 2,000+ clients around the world including General Motors, Disney, adidas, Mandarin Oriental, and GAP.
The goal was to understand how a marketing agency — the folks driving content marketing for the world’s largest brands — executes effective content campaigns.
We jumped at the opportunity to probe Jack Swayne, VP, Head of Product and Services, with 4 questions about iProspect’s strategic outlook on content marketing.
Here’s the Q&A:
1. How does iProspect do content marketing for its clients?
iProspect approaches content from the same perspective as we do all channels – performance.
Our consumer centric approach to content gives our clients unique and focused content strategies; building content around specific points of commonality between a brand and their audience, and allowing us to respond in real-time.
The point of engagement (through content) and the point of transaction (through digital commerce, lead generation or audience development) are reaching ever closer. This convergence makes the contribution of media to a business much more visible, immediate, and measurable. The fact that convergence is here today—and will only grow with speed—is what we have built our agency solution around and what guides us as we look into the future for our clients.
In terms of solutions we offer, this covers the spectrum from strategic direction on leveraging current assets, planning for new content development, identifying potential integration points into other digital marketing efforts, optimizing for natural search and measurement and finally, full-scale production on those strategies.
2. Given your experiences, do see any correlation between the amount of content published and pageviews / conversions? What’s the point of diminishing returns?
Content is a wonderful vehicle for marketing, because even after its initial wave of value from publicity and social interaction, it can still drive value in natural search for weeks, months, or even years. More content, assuming it’s used, promoted and optimized correctly, can certainly drive increased traffic and visibility for any brand and act as a direct conversion driver or indirect support player.
Depending on your content approach and the audiences you’re trying to reach, the ceiling for the amount of content that you produce can be fairly high. Naturally, the more social the content is the more time you need to leave for conversation to bloom. For niche or luxury brands who want to be seen as exclusive, you should consider focusing on fewer, higher-value pieces of content. The point of diminishing returns, therefore, comes into play when you are producing and promoting content faster than your target audience can consume it, or producing it so fast that your brand voice and personality begins to fade from the efforts.
The biggest risk for overwhelming an audience with content lies in social and blog posting – given their place as venues for quick hits, topical discussions, and other more immediate applications. We suggest you moderate posting to keep pace with your audience, and you can easily avoid this pitfall.
Typically we would recommend creating a mix of content types (articles, commentary, videos, imagery, interactivity, etc) and targets to increase the volume of content produced and the number of venues it can be used, without risking the unique value of the brand’s overall content marketing. This allows you to engage different audiences, or to engage audiences differently, without diluting the overall value of your content efforts.
3. Your site mentions ”time” as a “lever of content”. What type of data do you have about the best time(s) to publish, share, do paid promotions, etc.?
As a performance agency, we have a lot of data around the best time(s) to publish content; not just from website analytics and social engagement data, but also from other performance channels.
For example, if we see higher engagement rates on display on a Friday evening for a brand, we will use this data to inform our publishing time for content. If we see higher click through rates on particular ad copy for paid search at a certain time, we also use this data to inform our content schedule. The great thing about content and the social world we live in is that consumers can tell us what content they want published, where, and when. Consumers are driving our content schedules, and brands that understand this are reaping the rewards.
4. After you create targeted content for clients, organic pageviews aside, how do your further drive quality leads to that content? What are your post-publish promotion tactics?
We promote a lot of content, but we only present the right content. We use a tool that tracks content engagement in real time.
We only promote content socially that over-performs organically to ensure that brands get the best bang for their buck. But we don’t just promote content through social channels; we have a blogger outreach program, where we either work with bloggers to promote brand’s content, or more often than not, create unique and targeted content for our clients’ audiences to engage with.
Hopefully you enjoyed our Q&A with Swayne. If so, feel free to share it with your friends. Also, if you’re up for it, we’d love to hear: How do you do content for your brand or business? Please share your response below in the comments!