Not that long ago having a content strategy at school meant finding a peaceful place to chill out on campus. Nowadays the term generally refers to planning, developing and managing words, images and media on the web.
We see online colleges emerge and traditional universities update their standard curriculum to include courses on content marketing but it helps to get your hands dirty. Real world experience is still the best education for any content marketer. According to a recent survey of 20 content marketing positions on LinkedIn, most hiring managers value the ability to produce good content more than the variety of degrees that support a content marketing skill. Here are the five things your college courses won’t teach you about great content marketing.
1) Change is good
By its very nature, digital content is an immediate and flexible medium. Unlike print advertising campaigns of the past, it’s no longer enough to simply gain the attention of a target audience with a clever slogan. Today’s marketers must hold their demographic’s attention with a sound content marketing strategy. Said strategists must create a convincing message that first generates awareness, then inspires interaction from users. For example, as consumers search online for confirmation of a brand’s claims, they will engage with them through websites and social media. This gives companies the chance to better serve their customers by offering immersive experiences backed by convincing data and compelling stories. In other words, content must be strong and sound as well as organic enough to react to customer feedback, grow with consumer needs, and shift with technological trends.
2) Social studies
What once was a tool to harvest new and old friends, social media is now a place where companies communicate with customers and each other. As the network with the largest user base and reach, Facebook perfectly mixes business with pleasure by arming savvy digital content strategists with brand pages and targeted ads at affordable rates, with prices starting at $5. With 140 characters, Twitter’s pithy platform lets brands quickly interact with consumers-on-the-go while LinkedIn’s company pages appeal to seasoned B2B professionals looking for substantial content. .
3) The power of backup
Today, backing up a brand’s content doesn’t simply pertain to preserving data on the cloud—it has to do with backing up the facts presented via its content marketing. According to Content Marketing 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America produced by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs and sponsored by Brightcove, marketers who take the time to support the claims made via their content become more credible—and consequently more effective—than brands that don’t. Millennials can spot an Internet fake a mile away and buyers emphasize the importance of credibility as they head into the purchasing phase. Including contact information like a working phone number or including customer testimonials can help boost your authenticity in the eyes of the consumer.
4) A picture’s worth a thousand words
Infographics can help drive traffic, increase conversion rates and spark social media engagement—so long as the right images are being used. The best pictures translate extensive, and often complicated data, into an easy-to-understand chart or diagram while the least effective infographics are irrelevant to the content being presented. Before creating or selecting an accompanying image, examine how it fits into the overall digital content strategy and marketing plan at hand. Producing content without reason is a weak strategy. Your infographic shouldn’t be just about the brand—it should be relevant to the brand as it relates to the industry and its audience’s interests. Consider using smaller infographics that are easy to share on mobile devices and visually compelling even on the smallest screens.
5) Know your stuff
There’s a fine line between content marketing and content strategy. As addressed in How Content Strategy and Content Marketing Are Separate But Connected , content marketing refers to producing relevant content as a means of reaching a brand’s target audience to drive customer action. On the other hand, content strategy examines and manages the content in a more precise way to serve not just the brand but the company as a whole with regards to the organization’s strategy. Those who can articulate—and understand–this difference will set themselves apart as thought leaders who know their stuff.