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Content marketing is the preeminent topic floating around the C-suite these days. The brand voice and sharing of relevant content has taken a giant leap forward in marketing strategy meetings, and the hard sell has been relegated to the back seat. In our review of the best and worst marketing predictions for 2015, we said the need for organizations to create quality content to help drive innovation and website traffic is a leading trend this forecasting season.

“In this world of omnipresent omnimedia, the most successful companies will be those whose superior content draws consumers routinely and repeatedly,” writes Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, in Adweek.  “Put another way, whom would you rather be as the digital future unfolds: The guy or gal who makes the transistors inside your video access device … or Judd Apatow?”

As the discussion about the world’s Judd Apatows grows, the conversation about big data and its role in digital marketing strategy has diminished. “It has also become clear,” Rothenberg continues, “that companies need to let go of their decade-long obsession with SEO and gaming the rankings, which has content implications. Google, for one, has made it clear that its new algorithms will reward those who produce authentic, engaging content that is also valued by others.”

Rothenberg has a point. Keyword stuffing is about as effective anymore as snail mail sends to 20-year-old subscriber lists. But an effective content marketing strategy shouldn’t exist without the aid of device tracking, viewability metrics and SEO efforts. Creating and sharing a piece of content is just one point on the content marketing continuum and happens somewhere in the middle of the process. Before sharing comes keyword research, sourcing, writing, editing and deciding where to post. After content creation comes distribution, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s one thing to share a piece of content; it’s another thing to actually get eyes on it.

Sharing on social media and through email marketing is part of the process, but this is where big data and emerging technologies help. Knowing what organic keywords tend to drive traffic to site content is important, and engaging in a targeted search engine marketing campaign to drive additional eyes to content can be widely beneficial. Also, being able to track user habits, acquisitions and referrals delivers demographic and user information you can’t get simply by looking at basic site traffic. Finally, the technologies that continue to pop up that help share, track, analyze and implement paid marketing tactics on social media isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

While content is certainly the hot topic today, it can’t be created and shared in a bubble. Content and technology have to work together in order to produce the most effective digital marketing outcomes.