Content marketing is an always evolving industry which often goes beyond content strategizing and development to include making every touchpoint a unique opportunity to engage with customers. As many brands are working to personalize their messaging about products and services to customers, there will likely never be a shortage of content. However, creating content that is engaging and that effectively meets customers at the right time during the buyer journey is a challenge that almost all departments within any organizations are seeking to overcome.
The secret to getting this done is aiming to solve a need that a customer has and finding the most effective format to do it in. Stephanie Stahl has offered us her thoughts in this regard. As she is preparing for Content Marketing World, the largest event about content marketing for content marketers, next week, she took some time to give us her take on content marketing.
As General Manager of Content Marketing Institute (CMI), Stephanie leads the brand’s event, digital, print, and e-learning operations and gets to work with the best team on the planet. Previously, she served as the VP of Content Marketing for UBM’s Technology portfolio, providing strategic guidance on content development, content optimization, audience engagement, and go-to-market platforms for the brand’s technology clients. She has worked for UBM for more than two decades, helping shape new multimedia content and event offerings. She also served as Editor-in-Chief of InformationWeek for many years. Stephanie lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband, two teenage daughters, and many pets (birds, dogs, reptiles, hedgehogs, etc. Some might call it a food chain).
Here is what she had to say about content marketing strategy, upcoming content marketing trends, and effective content development:
1. What makes content engaging and successful?
There is a simple formula! Here it is: Engaging content solves a reader’s need, it educates, it entertains, it inspires. The formula must include the first element and at least one of the others.
2. What do you think is the most important element of a content marketing strategy?
Great writing (and great editing!) is fundamental to creating content that is worth taking the time to read. This is how brands can build an audience that’s interested, then loyal, and hopefully so obsessed that they never leave you.
3. What trends do you think will dominate content marketing in the next 3 years?
There will be more attention paid to hiring great writers; more content marketers will move into broader brand leadership roles (because their content has helped create a more cohesive corporate mission), and more attention will be paid to generating revenue from strategic content efforts.
4. When you create content, what is your number one goal? Increased visibility? Brand awareness? Lead generation?
For CMI, it’s all about educating our community, building our audience, and introducing our audience to other components of our business (our live events, for example). But most brands have all of those goals at some stage.
5. What is the most effective content format? Research? Infographics? Reviews? Blogs? Videos?
All of the above! Find great writers and editors, create compelling ideas, inject your brand voice, and then figure out the format you want to use to tell your stories. If you don’t have adequate video tools, don’t sweat it. Blogs or long-format content may be the way to go. If you have talented creative artists, consider visual storytelling. If you have experts who are comfortable in front of a camera, consider adding video to the mix. Figure out what you are best at and start there.
Thank you for your thoughts on this topic, Stephanie! We hope to talk with you again, soon!
If you want to keep up with Stephanie and her work at Content Marketing Institute, check out the links below.