John is Brightfire founder and CEO. A graduate of Strathclyde University Business School, he has worked in a variety of senior management roles in digital media since 1997, re-launching Brightfire as an inbound marketing company in 2010, joining forces with HubSpot. Beyond work, John’s passion is skiing, and he has been fortunate to travel the globe on numerous occasions in search of that perfect powder day. These days that includes dragging his family along, too!
“You are what you publish!” is the main rule that applies to businesses in the digital era, writes best-selling author and influencer David Meerman Scott in his must-read book The New Rules of Marketing and PR.
Scott’s advice echoes the rise of brand storytelling and its incorporation into businesses’ marketing agendas. But while in 2011 content marketing was an emerging trend generating a bit of buzz, in 2012 producing compelling content with the rigour of a traditional publisher has become a necessity for businesses looking to attract consumers in the overabundance of digital voices.
Content marketing budgets are rising
Marketers are not the only stakeholders who are coming to realise the importance of content. More and more CEOs and CFOs are buying into the notion, which can be judged by the bigger budgets allocated to content marketing. According to eMarketer, 39% of companies are to increase their investment in branded content in 2012.
B2B marketers are turning into publishers
More evidence of the rise of content marketing came last month from leading market research company Forrester. One of its most prominent B2B marketing trends for 2012 is that marketers are increasingly acting like publishers, adopting a more organised, strategic and editorial-like approach to content production. Thus, when devising their marketing strategies, CMOs increasingly factor in activities traditionally associated with publishing, such as the creation of editorial calendars.
With the explosive adoption of mobile and social, marketers can now go really creative about the variety of content they create. The rise of video and image-based social networks such as Pinterest points to a move away from long-form content, such as white papers, towards short-form content that is visually appealing and easier to digest.
As content production turns into a must for savvy businesses, demonstrating thought leadership will become a staple for marketing strategies, according to the B2B Marketing Trends And Predictions For 2012 report. Marketing directors are likely to utilise all available digital, social and mobile channels in a bid to establish their business as an influential voice.
Establishing an editorial calendar... like a journalist
My experience of working with clients in the B2B technology sector has taught me that regular blogging, keeping the message relevant and knowing your target audience helps companies achieve better visibility, more traction and higher conversion rates.
The only way to make your voice stand out, however, is by approaching content in a strategic way as part of the overall marketing plan. Here is where editorial calendars, with clearly defined rules and timelines for creation, publishing and distribution, come in.
So have you set your brand newsroom in motion?
Image source: dsasso on Flickr/Creative Commons
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