Let's Make Integration the Theme for 2015
There is a thin line between predicting what you think will happen in the coming year and what you hope will happen.
Year-end predictions are much more likely to fall into the second category than the first. Because, really, who wants to read predictions like, “80 percent of the content brands produce in 2015 will be unreadable, unwatchable or completely invisible,” or that “marketing automation platforms will remain like early-generation PDAs: so cumbersome that while everyone is getting one, no one is really using them the way they were intended.”
You won’t hear that stuff from me.
I want to be optimistic like all the other year-end prognosticators. And there is reason for optimism: we’re all getting more experience with content marketing and that experience should allow us to get better each year.
Last year was about strategy. Going into the year, too many content marketers rushed to produce content without spending enough time considering why they were doing what they were doing. The result was a glut of content that, too often, generated disappointing results.
But we’ve learned from that and are now taking a more strategic approach to content. The next step is integration.
Let’s make 2015 the year of integration for content marketing. We can start by making sure that our content strategies are integrated with other marketing plans so we realize the full value of content in earned media, social marketing, lead generation and prospect nurturing.
Here are three example of how integration can increase the return on investment in content in 2015:
#1 Integrate content with media planning.
Native advertising (or sponsored content) was one of the biggest content marketing topics of 2014 and it would be easy (and probably accurate) to predict that native advertising will grow in 2015. Publishers need it and smart brands have demonstrated how to use it effectively. Now, we have to make it part of the planning process and that means content marketers and media planners working more closely with each other to develop programs that deliver high-value content through targeted channels.
#2 Integrate video into lead generation and nurturing.
Video is a great vehicle for storytelling but what do we with a video once we produce it? Well, it can play an important role in conversion. Consider these stats:
- Sixty-four percent of people are more likely to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video. (Online Publishers Association)
- Including video in an introductory email reduced the number of subscriber opt-outs by 75 percent. (Eloqua)
- Adding video to email campaigns can increase click rates by 300 percent (Brainshark)
#3 Integrate content marketing and marketing automation.
Ultimately, marketing automation is only going to be as effective as the content it delivers. Content marketing and marketing automation should be inseparable. Yet, sometimes organizational barriers limit collaboration between technology specialists and content marketers. Those are barriers we have to break down to ease what Aberdeen called the number one pressure facing B2B marketers in 2014: marketers not getting the most out of their investment in marketing automation.
Content marketing is growing up, but will only move from the kids’ table to the grown-up table when it becomes fully integrated into marketing and communications planning at all levels. Here’s to hoping that happens in 2015.