In 2017, most of us are now familiar with the concept of ‘content marketing’ and its associated benefits. Creating, publishing and distributing engaging content for a specific audience, if done correctly, can undoubtedly boost the fortunes of a business in numerous ways: improved visibility in search engines and the wider marketplace; higher domain authority for your site; more referral and social traffic; increased conversion rates; and deeper relationships with customers over time are among the benefits most frequently mentioned.
However, it could be argued that the some of the most important, but frequently overlooked, benefits that accompany the use of content marketing are the internal changes the technique naturally encourages inside the content-creating organisation itself. For example:
Boost staff morale – and billing rates!
One of the biggest unexpected consequences of content marketing is how much it can boost the morale of the individual executives involved. There are lots of articles out there that will tell you how much content marketing can help build authority and credibility in the minds of prospective clients, positioning your content authors as experts in your industry. But don’t underestimate how much of a positive impact it can have on the author’s thinking too.
We all tend to go through our careers without ever stopping to think about the huge amount of knowledge and expertise we’ve accumulated along the way. By providing your executives with the time and space to gather their thoughts on a given subject and then organize them into a reasoned, coherent argument, you end up creating more than an informed piece of content; you create an engaged, confident employee.
For those working in an agency setting, an increased profile via content marketing can also provide an opportunity to increase your rates. Stars cost money you know!
Let’s talk shop
While we talk of a ‘marketing industry’, the reality is that the sector is a collection of different specialism and in reality most marketers have jobs that are extremely niche, e.g. programmatic PPC. In those cases, there are maybe a handful of people within your own organisation who really understand what you do and the chances of having an in-depth chat about your work with friends or family is non-existent.
Now, because content marketing is often about building engagement with very specific audiences, subject experts within a business have the chance to communicate with their professional peers about the nitty-gritty of their subject areas, without having to tie anyone to a chair. Subjects that may be dry to you and me can often be fascinating to others and, depending on the particular audiences you are trying to connect with, highly-focused content can be very effective in making it through to audiences that your ‘broad-brush’ content simply can’t reach.
Providing your subject experts with an outlet for their professional musings can often lead to niche content that engages in a way that ideas generated by your marketing team or PR agency never will.
Obviously, not everyone in your organisation will have the skills required to write great content, but they will all have a great piece of content inside their heads, waiting to be drawn out by a professional journalist, copywriter, graphic artist or video maker. If you need professional help to turn your people into content stars, make sure you get it.
We’re all marketers now
Once an executive has a bylined article or blog appear online, either in-house or via an external media title, most will then be very interested to see how the piece of content performs in terms of views, social shares, click-throughs, etc. This, in turn, will usually prompt them to share the content themselves via their own social accounts and well as re-sharing company social media posts that feature the content in question. It may even spark a friendly competition between your various content-creating executives to see who can produce the most popular, most effective or most shared pieces.
In short, content producers will become engaged with the wider marketing strategy of their organisations in a way that they simply weren’t before.
In addition, an active content marketing strategy can help to unify, amplify and support all the other marketing activity that your organisation is investing in. Launching a new app or website? A behind the scenes article or video on how you tackled the challenges involved can help to build awareness and heighten anticipation pre-launch. New press adverts just launched? Use social media friendly content to promote the campaign and amplify the impact.
Michael Feeley is consultant journalist with The Drum Contributor Network
The Contributor Network provides companies with a platform to directly upload content onto thedrum.com. It allows users to collate news stories, case studies and insights all in one place. Find out more about membership here.