Your 2020 Mission: A Unified Strategy for Content in Your Marketing

Your 2020 Mission: A Unified Strategy for Content in Your Marketing

And then, more recently, as approaches such as branded content, brand journalism, native advertising, and brand experience (yeah it’s a thing) grew in popularity, we wrote an article and created an accompanying video that tried to separate signal from noise on the different approaches of content in the business. But it’s time to acknowledge that it’s the same people that make all manner of content a success. But today, content teams are not only deploying owned media platforms that build audiences – they simultaneously are tasked with being the experts at native content, branded content, and technological, process-driven content strategies that enable these strategies to be governed, managed, and optimized effectively. Content teams are measured simply by how many content assets they can create and serve as digital targets for promoted marketing campaigns. These days it is extraordinarily common for the team handling the creation of content for owned media and audience-building purposes to also create content for a native advertising campaign or to be part of a branded content effort. Put simply: Red Hat takes content seriously, and it is a strategic function for the company in the area of content for marketing, communications, and sales. The content marketing practitioner of 2020: Is a leader in the organization’s communication strategy. Understands the differences and intricacies of all operational approaches of content in the business, from content marketing and content strategy, to branded content, to native advertising, or anything else that inherently drives media creation as a business strategy. At Content Marketing Institute, you will see more coverage on topics such as native advertising, branded content, and content strategy as well as our continued focus on the approach of content marketing. CMI is here to support you – the content marketing team leaders, the practitioners, and every single subject-matter expert.

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In case you haven’t noticed – over the years here at CMI we’ve spent quite a few brain cells and digital ink defining and defending the approach of content marketing as a separate and distinct methodology to influence customer behavior.

More than a decade ago, my good friend and CMI founder Joe Pulizzi wrote his seminal post and put a stake in the ground for our beloved practice. He said it very plainly. Marketers have the opportunity to provide “truly relevant and useful content to prospects and customers to help them solve their issues.

That post still reflects on CMI’s definitions page – which still serves to this day as the No. 1 Google result to the question “what is content marketing.” But, of course, our practice evolved. As we looked a few years later, I wrote an article that attempted to stratify the approaches of content strategy and content marketing. And then, more recently, as approaches such as branded content, brand journalism, native advertising, and brand experience (yeah it’s a thing) grew in popularity, we wrote an article and created an accompanying video that tried to separate signal from noise on the different approaches of content in the business.

In short – we’ve ranted (both rightly and probably at times too stridently) about what content marketing is and isn’t. Mostly (I hope) our aim has not been to take shots at other approaches, but rather to defend content marketing when people came along to invalidate or co-opt the practice. One thing I know for sure is that over the last 10 years we’ve always tried to have clear eyes and a full heart about why we think the separations are important.

Well – we’re in 2019 and we’re about to run up on more than a decade’s worth of experience. Let’s take a breath and see where we really are. Because, as usual, we have watched you – the practitioners in the businesses – accomplish the true innovation. We’ve been watching as you content leaders, strategists, managers, writers, SEO specialists, and technologists have found the optimal ways to make content in marketing and communications a scalable, measured, and exciting approach.

Quite honestly, we’re humbled at the level of innovation we’ve witnessed. And it’s time for us to evolve too.

Unifying content as an approach to marketing and communications

It’s high time to unify and examine #AllTheThings. Yes, to be clear, the differences in the approaches still matter – probably more than ever (and we will continue to highlight them). But it’s time to acknowledge that it’s the same people that make all manner of content a success.

Yes, we still believe that companies should operate like media companies. But today, content teams are not only deploying owned media platforms that build audiences – they simultaneously are tasked with being the experts at native content, branded content, and technological, process-driven content strategies that enable these strategies to be governed, managed, and optimized effectively.

Set the stage – what we’ve learned

If I can brag for a moment, I would say that we have a good, 50-yard-line view of where content sits in business these days. As I noted in my last post, in 2018 my team – the consulting and education group – worked directly with more than 30 of the Fortune 500. CMI’s amazing research team conducted our annual Content Marketing research, which generated responses from 1,947 marketers across the world. Content Marketing World 2018 saw more than 3,700 marketers from more than 50 countries gather to talk about the strategic approach of content.

When we pull together the insights from all those inputs, we can see some conclusive trends.

1. Focused, centralized content teams are being assembled.

Successful businesses are taking the function of enterprise content seriously. They are moving beyond the one or two ad hoc practitioners supporting the whole business – to specialized teams focused on strategic content in marketing and communications.

Sixty-seven percent of B2B organizations are fully committed to the practice of content marketing, and half these organizations expect budgets to increase over the next year….

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