By Steve Olenski
Originally published in Forbes.
Positioning an agency as a genuine thought leader in any competitive industry (and nowadays they are ALL competitive) carries the inherent challenge of building an enduring content strategy. The ability to remain in touch with the progression of marketing technology, and to capture it effectively through blogging initiatives, requires that agencies adapt their traditional content production methods to produce social engagement and social capital.
Automating social media and PR is one way of doing this. But it’s not the only way.
Here are some other keys to a sustainable content marketing strategy:
1. Data visualization
Writes Dorie Clark, a noted marketing strategy consultant, “Two recent factors have conspired to make this the moment for data visualization. First is the rise of Big Data and the growing public awareness of its power. Today more than ever, professionals are being asked to argue their cases and make their decisions based on data. But that push outside IT circles means that many non-technical professionals must now produce and comprehend insights from Big Data.
The more data marketers have on what their audience is doing, the better sustainable content marketing they can strategize.
You grab the attention of Facebook junkies with animation. E-cards are all animated. Reaching out to thank loyal customers is done through animated e-mails and other platforms. YouTube alone gets a billion unique visitors each month. If it moves, and it’s on the Internet, somebody is watching it.
The Internet is animated, and it’s only going to get more animated. Free animation software is readily available. You can only say the same thing about your brand in different ways so many times—but you can illustrate your brand in a never-ending variety of ways.
3. Engaging and interactive digital experiences
Yoav Vilner is a trending tech blogger and growth hacker. He’s all about the immediacy of SMS. “Right now, only 7 percent of consumers use SMS as a viable means to communicate with brands. But this is about to change. The same behavior that drives Self-Service is driving SMS customer service. Your customers don’t want to use call channels unless absolutely necessary. SMS is non-intrusive, low impact and an easily manageable solution.”
SMS is not a cure-all for content marketing strategy; when reaching customers via SMS just make sure to only send offers with real value.
4. Building communities
Michael Del Gigante, president and creative director of MDG Advertising, says, “Everything we do as an agency is focused on building brand loyalty and advocacy for our clients. Customers are a community—one that changes and grows. We treat them as individuals, but we continually extend an invitation to each one of them through all touch points to join in a larger dialogue.”
Del Gigante continues, “Even though technology has enabled us to build and facilitate conversations with online communities, it still takes a skilled team that can speak on behalf of the brand and provide timely response to comments and questions. It’s important to remember that providing valuable information to a community that can share and comment on it is the goal. Consumers are savvy and will disengage if you use these communities as another platform to deliver marketing messages.”
Micah Solomon, a writer on corporate culture, says of customers, especially the large segment known as Millennials: “Millennials enjoy the possibility of collaborating with businesses and brands, as long as they believe their say matters to the company in question. They don’t necessarily see a clear boundary between the customer and the brand, the customer and marketer, and the customer and service provider.”
A continuing dialogue with customers makes the marketer’s content marketing strategy that much more easy—and sustainable.