Authentic, memorable, relevant content and information delivered in the appropriate channel for audience consumption is more critical than ever, according to speakers at last week’s Content Council annual conference in New York.
Attendees included members of The Content Council comprised of agencies like MSP-C that are working with brands to help create meaningful engagement strategies and executions that will resonate with their audiences.
In line with the conference’s theme, Content Chaos: Navigating the Path to Engagement, we heard from a variety of speakers at these agencies along with content marketing leaders from major brands like IBM, GE, CDW, Google, AARP, Refinery29 and Citi. They relayed experiences and observations within the often tumultuous, chaotic environments their brands navigate to reach and meaningfully engage their target audiences.
Insights came from Arianna Huffington, founder of Huffington Post, Ann Rubin, VP of branded content and global creative for IBM, Chris Perry, global president of digital at Weber Shandwick, and Ramon Velutini, brand manager of Duracell, to name just a few of the presenters.
The presenters shared the view that trust is paramount and ubiquity is the new exclusivity. Here are some additional key takeaways:
- Authenticity is the name of the game. It’s equally important to believe in your message as it is to be heard. Audiences will immediately see through a disingenuous message, and trust will be lost. Once you lose trust, you lose business.
- Today, it’s not enough just to make a good story – you have to know how to create social buzz. There’s a big difference between just getting eyeballs on your brand and building influence and loyalty. Don’t focus solely on clicks. Focus on telling your brand story and building your voice.
- Today, clients are very focused on analytics and measurement in content marketing. Clearly define what you want your content to accomplish. Calculating ROI will follow.
- Set clear guardrails for your brand, defining which conversations and cultural topics are relevant in which to be involved, and follow them strictly.
- Consumers want to be entertained; they want to be moved. Understand the emotional potential of your ideas.
- Leverage data to market in the moments that matter. Drive precision in your messaging and timing.
- Brands and publishers are taking risks, getting weird with their content, and it’s working for them.
- There was more content created yesterday than a single person could consume in their entire lifetime, and there’s so much junk out there. Brands putting themselves on Instagram or Pinterest just to be there are making a mistake. Have a defined strategy and know where you’re most valuable.
As The Content Council says, “Content marketing is the discipline of creating content, on behalf of a brand, designed with the specific strategy of influencing consumer behavior in order to drive quantifiable profitable results.” And the only way to achieve this goal is through authentic, buzzy, well-defined content.
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