August 14, 2014

Expert Panelists Dive Deep to the Core of Content Marketing

What is content marketing? How does it work? How can a business implement an effective content marketing strategy?

These were just a few of the questions the panel at the “Be All in With Content Marketing” keynote tackled Thursday morning at ITEXPO.

Moderator Allison Boccamazzo, managing content producer for Content Boost, TMC’s custom publishing division, kicked off the session by defining content marketing as “an integrated marketing strategy that involves crafting and sharing relevant, customized copy to drive profitability and brand awareness." She then shared some of the core benefits of creating custom content with a captivated audience, including that the strategy:

  • Drives profitability
  • Improves customer acquisition/retention
  • Augments brand awareness
  • Bolsters thought leadership
  • Improves SEO

Once the panel session began, the insights came fast and furious. Lauralie Lee Ezra, founder and CEO of Crowd Siren, explained that publishing custom content allows a business to control its brand image in a way that traditional marketing does not.

“Content marketing is really the solution for controlling your message and making sure that what your customers find is what you want them to find,” she said. “And the way to do that is to flood the Web with all the content that you can.”

Several of the panelists touched on one of the most common mistakes companies make with their content strategies: focusing too much on their own companies and not on industry news. The experts encouraged the professionals in the audience to imagine themselves as consumers visiting a company blog and seeing pages of posts with the organization’s name in the title.

“It can’t just be about you,” said Carrie Majewski, director of content marketing for Content Boost. “People don’t want to be talked at anymore; they want to be talked to.”

What customized content allows companies to do, Lance Fried, senior vice president of social & mobile applications at Five9 explained, is create a real interactive conversation with consumers.

“It is very much about engaging and not just pushing out one way information,” he said.

One of the other key themes of the panel discussion was the wide array of vehicles available to businesses today for getting their message out to the public. Garry Foisy, senior director of marketing for Atrion, provided the example of a white paper that stands alone as a piece of intellectual property but can also be broken up and distributed as part of an email marketing campaign or in blog posts.

“Today we like to consume information in smaller chunks,” he explained. "Our attention span is pretty narrow.”

All four panelists agreed that brand consistency is a requirement for successful content marketing; a business that strays from its brand message risks confusing and alienating both existing customers and prospects. Foisy suggested stakeholders hold regular meetings to ensure any employee involved in marketing understands the company’s messaging and goals.

“So if you have 15 people contributing to your blog, you make sure everyone is kind of touching on those same core threads,” he said.

Towards the close of the panel, the speakers drove home that authenticity is imperative for effective content marketing. Executives and marketers should think of their businesses as people, the panelists explained, and should seek a personal connection with the their target audience.

“Don’t be afraid to write about breaking news. Don’t be afraid to talk about what you overheard in line at CVS,” Majewski said. “That’s organic. That’s real, and content marketing is really about honesty.”

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