Content marketing is the most direct way to relay your value proposition to your audiences, as content supports engagement with your brand. It does this by employing a storytelling-based approach that people can relate to as a brand narrative.

The goal is to leverage the engagement to breed loyalty and, ultimately, repeat purchasing.

As such, content is vital to supporting meaningful engagements across all channels with your audiences. To work, though, content should support the needs, challenges, and triumphs of current and prospective customers.

And it should also enable the organisation to streamline marketing activities by building solid brand- and thought-leadership stories that evolve into mutually beneficial relationships — for the customer and for the brand’s bottom line.

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These issues are explored in detail in “Modern Marketing Essentials: Content Marketing”, which was released by Oracle Marketing Cloud earlier this year.

The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ annual Content Marketing Benchmarks Report revealed that more than three quarters of the most effective B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago, compared with 57 per cent of their least-effective peers.

Additionally, content marketing usage among B2C marketers has risen from 86 per cent last year to 90 per cent this year, according to the same study.

However, not even half of those marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. And according to Forrester, 85 per cent of B2B marketers can’t connect content activity directly to business value. Clearly it’s time to connect those dots.

While these numbers validate the growth in content marketing as a science, for many, getting started is half the battle.

Here are three simple approaches from the guide to help you frame your approach:

Check yourself before you wreck yourself (and your content)

Your customers should always be the centerpieces of your content ideas. Counting the number of times your company and/or product names appear in your collateral is a soft, but helpful, exercise to test your commitment. Subscribing to a customer-first philosophy is an imperative.

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Remember that the very premise of content is to support your audience’s needs by answering their key questions and supporting their research and discovery.

Talk to your customer communities — via social media or even better in your dedicated customer community forum if possible — to get them involved in the discussion. While not every organisation is afforded the opportunity to host such discussions, these conversations are happening in various places such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook — or even blog comment threads. These are helpful places to garner valuable information about how you can be a better information concierge — a source that guides people in a supportive and helpful (but not intrusive) way.

Aim to be the #1 source for news for your target audience/p>

Ask yourself, as a consumer of content, how many times per day do you feel as if you’re immersed in news you can really use. With the incessant stream of information from across all sources — online, in store, via social media — it can be nearly impossible to sift through and find rich resources that offer real value.

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When you do get that valuable information, you’re grateful to the source — and therefore more inclined to give credence to that source. Hey, that sounds like a relationship forming!

Always remember to mine the gold buried deep in your own backyard

Content — such as sales sheets, benchmark reports, and other assets — that may be classified as later-stage information is actually incredibly helpful in concept development for earlier-stage engagement content. Remember that each product or service being sold solves a core need or challenge for the customer buying it — the question for your organisation to be constantly asking is: ‘What is it?’

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Every organisation, perhaps without even realising it, likely already possesses its own unique resource center of assets that can be helpful in crafting stage-specific content based on proven effective formats across the research and discovery journey. Regardless of your team’s size or makeup, make sure to meet regularly to discuss how you can maximise the value of your individual efforts and turn initiatives into content marketing themes and assets.

For more helpful insights into content marketing download Modern Marketing Essentials: Content Marketing.

About the authors

Andrea Dixon is the marketing manager, Japan and Asia Pacific for Oracle Marketing Cloud, Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit

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Oracle Marketing Cloud is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their expertise and insights to Which-50 for the benefit of our senior executive audience. Membership fees apply.

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