Content marketing seemed easy at the beginning. Blogs were new and wildly popular, and marketers saw an opportunity—a way to more personally and more directly connect with their audiences, without the usual number of barriers between brand and audience.
That was good, for a while. Brands developed relationships with their audiences that stepped away from sales talk; instead, brands acted as an expert resource. Search engine optimization got added to the mix as marketers embedded keywords in blog posts to ensure their content could beat others vying for an audience's attention.
However, SEO strategy and the pressure to compete eventually led to a focus on content quantity—in service to search engines, not the audience.
That ever-growing demand for content is how content marketers have landed in their current state: overworked, underappreciated, siloed, always chasing a near-impossible goal. They're expected to create huge amounts of high-quality content in almost no time, all because of the assumption that the more content you produce, the better a chance it has of ranking higher, satisfying the search engines for one more day.
And as audiences became interested in audio and video content, those responsibilities were foisted on the backs of content marketers as well, leaving them to juggle priorities while chasing an impersonal algorithm.
Marketers spend an average of 33 hours per week creating content, Casted's State of the Content Marketer report found. And that's just one of many responsibilities, which include managing campaigns and vendors, handling agency communications, and acting as media liaisons.
It's no surprise that marketers under pressure to produce, produce, produce have adopted the "good enough to go live" approach to their work.
To compete in today's climate, marketers need a strategy that helps them prioritize audience interests while making better use of their time. They need methods that maximize the value of the content they share instead of giving into demand for more. They need to be able to measure the effectiveness of their content to keep making better stuff that's more engaging, informative, and helpful to their audience. They need the tools to get back to the highly creative work that brought them to marketing in the first place.
They need an amplified marketing strategy. Here are four steps to get there.
1. Listen to your audience
Amplified marketing is built on expert interviews and conversations, captured with video and audio, that serve as the source content for an array of blog posts, email marketing campaigns, social media content, and video and audio clips.
By starting with topics and thought leaders that offer value to your audience members—answering their questions, offering solutions to their problems, and inspiring them—you can streamline your content creation, align your marketing teams across channels, and get back to serving your audience. Then, use robust metrics to pinpoint effective content so you can follow your audience with confidence.
Most content marketers we surveyed are already looking for a way to bulk up their video content and podcast offerings to improve audience engagement. An amplified marketing approach supports those goals as part of a greater aim: to free content marketers from cycles of "good enough" so they can get creative to compete with the infinite options available to their audience.
2. Have a conversation
Start by asking what your audience cares about and who can offer expertise. Instead of tasking a junior marketer with writing a series of blog posts on the subject, find someone with passion and knowledge, and get some time on the calendar.
Starting with a human connection will resonate with your audience. It can be as formal as a keynote or webinar, or as informal as a podcast episode or virtual video chat. Whatever you choose, make it a great conversation by uncovering fresh perspectives, introducing unexpected questions, and centering the interests of your audience.
Record that conversation, using whatever equipment you've got: Zoom, Teams, Skype, or just simple gear for an in-person talk.
3. Amplify it
Once you've recorded a conversation rich with ideas, insights, and flavor—full of the kind of connection your audience craves—share it. But don't stop there: Break that powerful talk into a whole collection of content for use across channels.
Although all the content marketers we surveyed said they create webinars (usually monthly), less than half reported using clips from those webinars in their social media or email marketing.
Amplifying your content can mean using a video transcript for a series of blog posts, turning a webinar into a series of shorter videos embedded in email or social content, and using the audio for a podcast episode (or a whole series!), thus saving time and getting the most out of what you create.
Measure your content's impact and follow your success
Amplifying content optimizes the work of marketers. But to make that work worthwhile, you need tools to measure its performance so you can do more of what works. You need technology that offers insights beyond vanity metrics and actionable data to help your team strengthen your brand and align with your audience.
The following brand awareness and demand indicators are a good starting point:
- Audience growth
- Traffic growth
- Social shares
- Social media mentions
- Traffic to conversation-driven content
- Conversions from conversation-driven content
- Content's impact on the buying cycle
- Revenue attributed to content
Once you've gone through the entire process, repeat it. Find another great voice with something to say, on a topic important to your audience. Mine that conversation for the best nuggets and use them to fuel your content. Measure to find out what worked, and chase it.
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We asked marketers what they need, and they told us: More time for creativity, more insight into the customer, more meaningful metrics, a better way to do what they love. Amplified marketing is the next generation of creating engaging content, a way to bring back the human connection and stand out in a crowd of "good enough to go live" sameness.
More Resources on Amplified Content Marketing
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