Content Marketing Evolution at Content Marketing World

This was my third consecutive Content Marketing World (this was the fourth edition of the show), and I couldn’t help but notice a pretty radical shift from years past.

CMworldOnce upon a time, the focus was on the actual creation of content in all of its flavors:

  • How do I convince my boss that content marketing is important?
  • How do I get the budget I need to create content?
  • How do I decide what to focus on?
  • How do I know how much to create?
  • How do I find the resources to create all of the content that I need?
  • Where do I find the time to create content?
  • How do I recruit members of the team to create the content that I need?
  • What formats and platforms should I explore in my content strategy?
  • How do I convert our standard content model into one that tells a story that our customers want to hear?

But times have changed as one of the most important statistics shared from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 research during Joe Pulizzi’s opening keynote showed that only 38% of those surveyed claim effectiveness with their content marketing. Metrics, measurement and success are moving to the forefront of the content marketing discussion.

Metrics are more important than ever, across all aspects of marketing, and the traditional measures of content “success” are simply not as interesting to the C-suite as they used to be. Increased traffic to the website? Who cares, if those visitors don’t convert. Retweets and likes? Not important if they can’t be tied to pipeline. An increase in leads captured? Who cares, if they can’t be directly attributed to the content, or if they don’t turn into leads that sales is interested in or that can be tied to revenue.

The ironic thing is that all this content could be extraordinarily successful, but content marketers just don’t know how to prove it. Content marketers know this, and as a result the ROI track catered to some of the most crowded sessions – from a keynote speech called The ROI on Content to a packed session called Content Creation Strategies that Deliver a Real Return.

So how do content marketers do a better job of measuring the ROI of their efforts in a manner that the C-suite will understand and agree with? Well, for starters, they need to understand they can’t do it alone. Let’s be real … the skills required to effectively create and analyze the data associated with a marketing campaign (across multiple, disparate systems that are not always integrated) are not the same as the skills required to create interesting, relevant blog posts and white papers that tell a good story. As a matter of fact, finding personnel in which both of these skillsets reside is practically impossible – just ask any CMO.

The content strategist needs to meet with the web analytics team, the Demand Generation team, the marketing automation power-users and the CRM administrator in order to incorporate metrics and measurement into the plan in a way that is interesting to the CEO.

By proving the value of your content (I’ll give you a hint … it has to do with contribution to pipeline and revenue), finding the answers to some of the toughest content creation questions mentioned earlier (where to get the budget, how to find the resources) will begin to become much easier.

Author: Jason Stewart @jstewart_1 is Vice President, Demand Generation, ANNUITAS

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