Create a Winning Content Marketing Strategy: Q&A With Gini Dietrich
Content marketing has the power to turn your brand into a driving force in your industry, but with so much competition in the marketplace, how can you ensure that your content makes an impact?
Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich and author of Spin Sucks, recently took the time to answer a few of our biggest questions on content marketing. At her upcoming Cision webinar, “From A to Z: Blogging and Content for PR,” she’ll go into more detail on the topic and share her top tips for building a content strategy that will boost your brand and drive results.
Here are a few of Gini’s insights on content marketing:
Q: With so much content saturating the marketplace, how can brands make their content stand out? What other challenges do you see brands facing in terms of content?
A: It’s SO HARD to stand out. I always find it fascinating that we all groan and complain about how much content out there stinks, but then we get behind our computer screens and create the same thing everyone else is doing. Part of that is because business leaders don’t necessarily understand what it takes to stand out and part of it is a function of just getting it off our to-do lists.
To truly stand out, you have to put a stake in the ground. You have to talk about your secret sauce. You have to get your subject matter experts involved. All of these things are really hard to do because your experts are busy and don’t have time to create content. Your business leaders don’t want to talk about anything they deem proprietary. And you don’t want your competition to know what you’re doing.
But, I can tell you from lots and lots of experience (way more years than I’m willing to admit because I like to pretend I’m still in my 30s), when you do these things, the opposite of what you think will happen happens. Competitors start to refer business to you because they perceive they can’t do it as well as you do. Industry organizations and media outlets begin to use you as subject matter experts. Suddenly you’ve built a foundation of expertise—through content—that is hard to beat.
Q: How has content marketing changed in recent years? What do brands have to do differently now that they didn’t need to before?
A: You have to be much more deliberate and strategic now. I remember when I started blogging, I could write about anything and it would get attention. Now you have to think about the types of things people search for when they’re looking for a business like yours.
You have to be educational, informative and interesting/fun. You have to use a PESO model (paid, earned, shared and owned media) to integrate your efforts for amplification, distribution and lead generation. And you have to find ways to use influencers to help your efforts that is beneficial to them, as well.
Q: What is the most overlooked tactic for distributing and promoting content to target audiences?
A: Earned media! Communication pros are uniquely positioned for content, as it is, but we have the earned media expertise that the other disciplines don’t have. You can distribute and promote content through earned media, just by linking to it through contributed content, interviews or features. It’s pretty incredible to integrate the two media types.
Q: Why is it valuable to make influencer relationships a part of your content strategy?
A: You have the science side of things (which I know makes right-brained creatives a little crazy, but it works). When you work with influencers, you get the very valuable, earned link back to your website or blog. Google looks very kindly on this and gives you a gold star in search results.
Then you have the art side of it all, which is what communication pros already know about, which is having third-party, credible people talking about you/your brand to help build awareness and make the proverbial telephone ring.
Q: Once you’ve created a piece of content, what’s the best way to gauge its success?
A: You definitely want to look at the vanity metrics so you know whether or not it resonates. This would be visitors, shares and even comments. But that’s just the beginning. You can certainly have a very successful piece of content that no one comments on or shares.
The next step is to track what people are doing from that piece of content. Does it have a lead magnet or another call-to-action? Can they download a larger piece of content? Are you able to track leads? These are the kinds of things that will help you gauge success.
Q: Where do you see the world of content marketing headed in the future? What do you think will change?
A: I’m pretty sure I said this last year, but I believe it still to be true: Communication pros will take control of content IF they can figure out how to measure effectiveness. It’s fairly easy to do that if you look at data not as math or science, but as information that helps you determine whether or not it’s working. I realize I’m biased and I’m speaking to a biased audience, but there isn’t another discipline that has the expertise to apply three of the four media types. We can create content that is valuable to our audiences, distribute it, promote it AND measure it. That’s where we’ll win.
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