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Who, How, and Why: Three Keys to Successful Content Marketing

by Callie Reynolds  |  
December 16, 2014

If you've been working in marketing at all over the past year, you've probably witnessed an argument about the effectiveness of content marketing.

To some businesses, content is the bright future of marketing; others are skeptical about whether it truly drives engagement. The latter group argues that not all content marketing drives measurable results. But some marketers have figured out the secret to creating engaging content.

What breaks the good content marketers away from the pack is their ability to tell a story—and to tell that story to the right people.

I had the pleasure of moderating a panel of content marketers, from such leading brands as Scripps Networks,, and the Associated Press at the Experian Marketing Services 2014 Client Summit. The panel members all agreed that content marketers need to tell the story their audience needs to hear.

Content marketing done right results in increased business and loyalty to the brand, but to realize these benefits, marketers need to design content with specific audience segments in mind. As the panelists discussed, that requires great data and great listening skills, especially when asking the following questions.

1. Why are consumers here?

"Different consumers often visit the same website with very different intentions," stated Gary Feldman, vice-president of Strategic and Digital Ad Sales Research for Scripps Networks Interactive. "Are they looking to be educated? Or are they looking to be inspired? For HGTV, we have to understand why they're visiting our site to deliver a meaningful brand experience. If they hope to be educated, we're going to deliver very different content than if they're visiting for design inspiration."

Seth Harris, manager of Strategy and Digital Products for the Associated Press, agreed that identifying consumer segments was key to a great content and product strategy. "The format of news content has changed so much over the years. What used to be simple text stories now have video, photo and social content," he said, arguing that one of the main ways to make strategic and product decisions is through understanding consumer behavior.

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Callie Reynolds is senior director of client engagement for Experian Marketing Services.

LinkedIn: Callie Williams Reynolds

Twitter: @CallieMCW

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  • by Marc Schenker Tue Dec 16, 2014 via web

    Excellent article, Callie. The Why, Who and How really drills down to the challenge. You've expressed the secret really: behind every challenge or problem, there's a simple story to be told. Thanks again.

  • by Jeannette Koczela Wed Dec 17, 2014 via web

    I think the key point for me in this post is "marketers have to combine different data points" because I am finding that the demographics and psychographics of an ideal client is not enough to go on. We also need to know their dreams and their fears and their behavior regarding each of these. Thank-you for sharing this.

  • by Jasmine Williams Fri Dec 19, 2014 via web

    True. I've witnessed the argument too. And I just come back with as many metrics as possible. For instance, are visitors that engage with our content ultimately contacting us? Showing this type of proof is very important.

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