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Content Marketing: the Mad Men Approach of the Digital Age

Content strategy, for startups and corporations alike, is no longer the rebel child of digital marketing; it is, for all intents and purposes, a mainstay…

Content strategy, for startups and corporations alike, is no longer the rebel child of digital marketing; it is, for all intents and purposes, a mainstay and a requirement. When executed properly across all sites and platforms - company blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, just to begin - content raises profiles by generating traffic and fan bases, enlarging small brands while humanizing larger ones.

Contently, a former subject of Fueled, is one of a number of startups monetizing the trade by connecting brands to content generators and vice versa. By providing a platform that connects those who need content and those who create it, Contently makes it quick and almost-painless to launch a product from obscurity, ignoring increasingly-popular automated approaches and, instead, generating real content that partners can use to attract clients and customers.

Fortunately, Contently is aware that approaching content strategy still takes some convincing - despite an enormous number of case studies highlighting the particularly unique efforts of big names like Pepsi and Starbucks, some marketing departments still need to be shown possible outcomes before they attempt to execute them. So, fittingly, Contently runs its own blog as a testament to its approach, providing insider tips on the emerging trade. Here, for starters, is an introduction to their content marketing commandments:

1. Understand Your Subject Matter

Don’t create content just because you’re (becoming) aware of its value - hire experts, be they editors, writers, or photographers, who can stay ahead of the industry curve, not wallow, wait, and echo the competition.

2. Disclose Your Involvement

Readers will know you’re a brand sponsoring content, regardless of how well you think you’re hiding it. A defining quality of digital life is transparency; choose to ignore that fact, and your readers, looking for premium but trustworthy content, will ignore you.

3. Empower Creativity

Maintain distant and reasonable control of your creative teams, regardless of their medium of choice. Allow those producing your content to do so largely free of company pressure, which will add a layer of validity and reality to their product and, in turn, build a trusting following.

4. Use Sources to Maintain Integrity

When blogs were first on the rise, somewhere in the distant past, journalists and publishers alike cried foul at the lack of sources and citing, and rightfully so. In the years that followed, it seems, their protests were heard, and the content and creators who survived were those who proved their content could be trusted. The easiest way to do that? Name your source.

5. Plan Accordingly

Your brand blog and your personal blog are two different things, requiring different strategies that achieve different end results. Don’t expect growth - neither in traffic nor in content diversity - by planning mere minutes ahead. Operate, instead, like a classic publication, with dates and deadlines, and expect to establish similar real-world presence.

These tips, of course, should form the mere foundation of your approach. Each brand, in dealing with different customers and competition, must uniquely leverage their position to further establish it. First, take the time to first understand your brand message - you might be surprised by the difficulty of this - then, once that's accomplished, experiment with how content might best articulate it.

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