We all have our content darlings. Those iconic brands that you put on pedestal and say “Those guys get content”. “Wow, they know how to tell a story.”
We reference them with our clients, we use them to inspire our thinking and pour praise on them with our imitations. Think Red Bull, think American Express, Lego, GE, Johnson & Johnson etc. In property we talk about Arup. Closer to home we might talk about Air New Zealand.
These brands have jumped on the content bandwagon early, they have carved out a territory that they can own, they have runs on the board as far as ROI, and they have managed to scale, get more sophisticated with their data and tech and drive better and better results. They are now at the point where their stories, publishing efforts, their content-driven customer experience and the value of their owned assets have become a true differentiator, putting millions on their valuation.
I have spent time looking at those mature and successful content marketing companies, plotting out what makes them a success and written a whitepaper for fellow content marketers to consider.
Let’s face it, today’s organisations, especially in Australia, are at vastly different levels of maturity when it comes to content marketing.
If you look at the research conducted earlier this year by ADMA and the Content Marketing Institute, only 30% of Australian marketers would describe their content marketing efforts as sophisticated or mature. But what exactly does mature or sophisticated look like?
For me, this means they have a stand-out, compelling brand story that we can see loud and clear. They have created and shared and got whole-of-business buy in for a vision, strategy and made a financial case for content. Plus, they’ve invested in the implementation of the appropriate systems and process to deliver it at scale.
They know how to combine the content, data and technology to deliver one-to-one content and then continually optimise the content experience to drive results.
A sophisticated content business values the art and understands the science of storytelling.
As brands already on the content journey are aware, the process of developing and implementing an organisation-wide content marketing strategy is much more complex than simply creating content.
In my mind there are five key areas that companies need to master:
- A storytelling brand platform
- Clear customer segmentation and consistent journey mapping
- Tech and data enablement
- A content production and distribution engine room
- A content-driven organisational culture and structure
The complexity of the challenge makes it difficult to categorise where organisations sit on a scale from basic, to advanced, to expert.
One business could be strides ahead with their content-production capabilities but may be challenged by segmentation and the technology underpinning the delivery and optimisation of that content. Conversely, an organisation may have the infrastructure in place yet struggle to master creating impactful content.
We are unaware of an organisation in this market that has a grasp of all five of these key areas but, as an industry, we as marketers are all are heading towards this goal. Still, for many organisations, there remains some way to go.
Developing a strong content strategy with a clear roadmap that drives the organisation to plan and execute across these areas is a critical step, but it’s only the first step.
Ensuring the strategy is well-documented and distributed and then executed across all departments, teams, products and services is an altogether bigger challenge.
Behind the amazing stories at our favourite content brands, behind their success and ROI is a company that has been on a long and deliberate journey.
Edge has put together a whitepaper to pull together and detail the five steps to creating a mature content-centric organisation. Please download a copy here.