What Works in Content Marketing?

I had the opportunity to attend an excellent presentation on content marketing by Michael Brenner, vice president of marketing and content strategy at SAP. Content marketing is experiencing astronomical growth the last two to three years, with no slow down in sight. Some of the frenzy over content, however, seems to have the feel of chasing the latest shiny object for brand marketers.

Is there a decent ROI when it comes to content marketing? I believe there can be, but it’s going to take some growth and practice to really hone in on everything that well done content marketing can offer.

For instance, in order to be most effective, Brenner correctly pointed out that content needs the following:

  • Simple answers to relevant questions
  • Consumer-centric focus
  • To be more visual consumable and “snackable”
  • Emotional messages (these are twice as effective as promotional messages)
  • Focus on helping on the customer
  • Entertainment value as well as information

Mark Schaefer’s recent post about Content Shock had some truth to it. Content production is increasing so dramatically that it will reach a tipping point, if it hasn’t already. The vast supply of content means is will be tougher to break through the noise for most marketers and reach their audience. Those that succeed will have one of two things 1.) Really deep pockets to promote their content, or 2.) Excellence in producing the best content that breaks through the clutter.

Succeeding in content marketing is a tall order for sure, but it can be done. Points like the ones above are just the start, so much more goes into creating really great content that gets noticed and drives action. What would you add to the list?

The State of Trust (in Under Three Minutes)

The 13th annual Edelman Trust Barometer contains some very interesting developments on the state of consumer trust.

Some points that caught my attention included:

Technology is the most trusted industry, while banks and financial institutions are the least trusted.

Only 18 percent of those surveyed trusted business leaders, and only 13 percent trusted government leaders.

Influence and authority has shifted from the few top leaders to the many (with the help of social media).

Messages in the new media age must contain humility, transparency and a willingness to explain mutual benefit.

Great insights…

Google+: The Resurrection

Somewhat surprising news emerged recently in the social media world. According to Global Web Index, Google+ has surpassed Twitter to become the second largest social network in the world.

Here’s how the numbers break out: Facebook still holds the top spot with 693 million active users, Google+ has 343 million actives and Twitter comes in at 288 million.

Google+ has had quite a journey over its short history. It started with a bang and millions joined in droves. Then, it went through a period of diminished use and got labeled a “ghost town.” But the site has been steadily gaining interest and traction to get to where it is today.

I’ve always liked Google+. Some have unfairly overly compared it to Facebook, and although it does have someĀ  similarities, it’s a very different site with differing strengths and appeal. G+ users aren’t subjected to advertising. It also offers a cleaner and simpler user experience, not to mention that it’s a great site to connect and engage on a deeper level with others that have similar interests.

A couple recent innovations that I think have helped G+ dramatically include the introduction of Communities and allowing brand pages to more easily connect with consumers. Both moves allow finding and connecting with others to be a much easier and enjoyable exercise.

It’s great to see where G+ has landed. Of course, with the competitiveness of social networks, things can change in a matter of months.