Last month I had the pleasure of speaking at Networx Brisbane’s first event for 2019 – Content Marketing Hacks.

Of course when it comes to content marketing “hacks” isn’t really the right mentality to go about your execution, but the event set the scene for the panelists to share fast facts and tips to help the audience get more out of their content marketing strategies.

First cab off the rank – Is content marketing still relevant and why?

Fellow panelist Alicia Marr jumped in here to explain how content marketing is helping companies add value to their customers at various stages of the customer journey. She suggested that people actually have relationships with brands now – be they passive or active – and content marketing gives brands the opportunity to facilitate this.

Brain Crisp of Suddenly added that content marketing is a powerful vehicle for storytelling in business. He gave a great example of an Indian car company who have promoted their purpose of helping women excel.

My personal opinion, which I shared with the audience, is that content marketing gets more and more relevant every day. People are consuming more content year on year, so brand’s have the opportunity to own this content and build their own audiences around niches.

Traditional content by news platforms versus brand-owned and managed content platforms – which is better?

This is a great question because the answer is that they’re both good in different ways. While news houses are the best at what they do (news that’s factual and well-researched), they’ve never had the incentive to fill the niches.

That’s where brand-owned content comes in. They can answer questions or create content on specific subjects that aren’t necessarily captured in the media. I shared a case study of Grey Matters and also my own sustainable fashion publication Britt’s List. Both are examples of content platforms that serve an audience that’s not necessarily news or mainstream but definitely relevant to sizeable audiences.

On the other hand (answering the question of “which is better”) – brands aren’t held to the same standards as journalists and news platforms, so integrity is extremely important to maintain reader’s (or customer’s) trust. Brands who abuse their power will quickly lose this.

Networx Content Marketing Panel

What content format are you steering brands towards and why?

When it comes to content marketing format, people automatically think blogs and articles, but it’s so hard to be different in written content now unless you’re inserting your opinion or a really interesting tilt.

I explained that at The Content Division we don’t steer brands towards anything until we know who their audience is. A great example is real estate agents. I shared a case study about a digital marketing company for real estate that writes blogs for SEO but hosts a podcast to build an engaged and relevant audience. The insight here was that real estate agents are in their car all day so it made sense to make something easily consumable for them.

Any tips for managing content calendars?

I’d love to pretend that there was a uniform approach to our content calendars for us but there really isn’t. For some clients we have the topics planned out months in advance, and for others we stay really timely and relevant – it depends on the content product.

To actually manage it all we use an epic Trello Board and schedule through Sprout Social.

How do you measure if your content marketing efforts are working?

I love any chance to talk about Google Analytics so obviously I led with that. Using Google Analytics you can see how many people are reading your content, for how long, and how far they scroll (or click through). You can also use tools such as Search Console to tweak and improve and performance or your content.

On top of that there’s engagement metrics from social and your emails, plus any conversion metrics – subscribes, emails, and actual sales. Ka-ching!

One final tip for the audience?

Be different. There’s no point trying to outrank the biggest player in the industry for the same search term with the same content. Make an entertaining podcast, do an awesome event, make short videos, or make your blog different and amazing.

But always start with strategy – and align your efforts with objectives.