PubCon 2014 Recap Day 3: Content Marketing Day

Wednesday’s PubCon dove into the fascinating world of content marketing. I’m sure most digital marketers are already familiar with the term as the concept has been around for a while now, although it officially became a buzzword only a few years ago.

PubCon Day 3 - Content Marketing Day

As was pointed out by Phillip Thune and illustrated by the Google Trends graph below, content marketing really started to become popular around 2012, when an increasing number of Google users started searching for the term.

Number of searches for content marketing over time

The idea behind content marketing is to cut through the noise created by traditional marketing, to which modern consumers are becoming increasingly blind. Content marketing seeks to provide value to prospective and current clients by giving them information that may help and educate them. Aggressive sales pitches are left out as businesses believe that by creating value for the client, the clients will return to them when in need of expert services and advice.

The day kicked off with a talk from Chris Brogan on the general strategic thinking required in successful content marketing. Very much like in traditional marketing, a business wishing to employ content marketing needs to start the process by defining its clients’ needs. The core idea in content marketing is to give value to the clients, and the catalyst is to know how to serve the community.

The content is driven by the business mission, which means that all content should, in effect, be planned around the business mission. This ensures that clients are given the chance to become a part of the mission and to gain a sense of belonging.

Delivering value should be the main driver of content marketing, according to Chris Brogan. In content marketing a business shouldn’t promote, but make the content bigger than the business. Dan Sturdivant, another speaker and Senior Account Manager at Speakeasy, also emphasised this point; a business should always first give, and only after this sell.

PubCon 2014 Las Vegas day 3 schedule

Around this time, it occurred to me how often I’d noticed an inherent disparity between the strategic approach to traditional marketing versus online marketing. Too frequently had I read about the hottest online marketing tactics with not enough attention given to the strategy and reasoning underlying these tips. It almost seemed that people had forgotten digital marketing is marketing; strategy-driven, not technology-driven. Many people may become blinded by the plethora of technology, platforms and algorithms at play in the online space and forget about the most important bit; the strategy.

The importance of a strategic approach was highlighted by speaker Sean Jackson. He illustrated how the buying funnel can aid in creating content that drives the clients through the funnel. According to him, however, most marketers ignore the last three stages of the funnel, leaving gaps in their content marketing strategy. He urged to close these gaps and to devise a marketing strategy that addresses one or more of the eight buying stages.

Stages of the buying funnel by Sean Jackson

Towards the end of the day, the seminars concentrated on the specifics of good content. Phillip Tune reminded the attendees that when producing content, it should be done as if Google didn’t exist. That is, for those, who used to write content primarily for search engine optimisation benefits, there was now a new focus on quality.

So how do you come up with topics that resonate with your audience? Many tips were shared during the day, such as asking your team members for ideas, researching your clients’ core needs as well as questions and even utilising the common SEO tools (keywoordtool.io, Ubersuggest.org and Google’s related searches).

In addition to some topic-generation ideas, multiple speakers underlined the necessity of an editorial calendar, as it gives marketers a better chance of managing a streamlined flow of timely content. Measurement was another hot topic that is often ignored or forgotten by many, which leads to a multitude of problems if it’s not clear to the marketer what content resonates with the audience.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, several speakers reminded us that content marketing is a long-term strategy. In general terms, it may take a business an estimated six months and 200 articles before any noticeable results. Until then, marketers should keep at it and remember Chris Brogan’s advice to deliver value above all else.

Talks attended today
• Morning Keynote with Chris Brogan
• Content Creation Strategy with Arnie Kuenn, Phillip Thune and Sean Jackson
• Understanding Heat Mapping and Infographics with Paul Ryazanov and David Wallace
• Afternoon Keynote with Jason Calacanis
• Integrated Digital Marketing Campaigns with William Leake and Jim Banks
• Content Strategy and Content Marketing with Dan Sturdivant and Jordan Kasteler

The last day of the conference, on Thursday 9th, will be a PubCon Pro Industry day, with specific in-depth seminars on SEO, social media, content marketing and paid search. Make sure to check it out and gain some insider information on the latest hot topics in online marketing.