Talking Content Marketing – With Rebecca Allen
Talking Content Marketing gives a very warm welcome to Contently’s General Manager, UK and Europe, Rebecca Allen.
Contently is a content marketing company that provides brands and businesses with the technology, editorial talent, strategy and services to succeed at content marketing.
Rebecca stands for content that genuinely adds value, rather than the thinly veiled advertising or commoditised ‘content’ that crowds the space, and combining great storytelling with smart technology.
Six questions focused on what businesses need to look at when taking on board a strategic approach.
Lets do it…
The Contently ‘Content Methodology’ report noted the high amount of companies creating without a strategy, is this where the walls fall down for many businesses?
Yes, I’d say having a documented strategy for content marketing is crucial. This should cover the core areas of creation, distribution and measurement.
You need to be clear on what you are trying to achieve so that you can monitor progress and gauge success.
Creating content for the sake of creating content is not going to be helpful long term when you need to justify the investment and demonstrate ROI.
It will always be a moveable feast as you test and learn, but you need to start with a basic strategy in place to give you that direction.
The report highlights collaboration as a key action. Do businesses need to open up more and realise that we can’t do everything, but work with those with shared mindsets?
Absolutely. The vast majority of our clients have a mixture of in-house and external talent (through our network) creating content, and the management of the process is often a collaboration across internal and external personnel and across different teams and departments.
The collaboration process is ideal for testing and learning so that you can continually refine your process and output.
Do you believe that the only way for a content marketing approach to be adopted throughout a business is for board level to wholeheartedly buy in?
Yes. There needs to be complete buy-in at a senior management level for content marketing to form a key part of overall strategy, and in order to scale.
The most successful clients we see are those who make content central to the culture of the organisation, using it effectively at every level.
From the UK, which brands are getting it right?
Despite the common assumption that the US is years ahead of the UK when it comes to content marketing, I actually think the UK has some of the most sophisticated content marketers who are leaders in their field.
One example is JLL, the commercial real estate firm, who have created a site ‘Real Views’, which explores the wider issues affecting the real estate industry on a global basis. (Full disclosure, they are a client).
They very much have a newsroom approach, producing a regular stream of content that includes articles, videos and infographics, and compete with media in terms of industry insight.
Another great example is Barclaycard, who largely take both an educative and entertaining approach to content with initiatives from how-to guides to digital technology for both children and adults, to videos featuring comedian Jason Manford with tips on shopping abroad. There is some really innovative content marketing happening in the B2B space – Eventbrite and Moo.com (Full disclosure, Moo.com is a client) are both great examples.
If a company reads this and says, ‘we are in, Rebecca talks sense’ where should they start on their own content marketing journey?
As above, it’s really important to set out with a documented strategy that is clear about what business objectives you are trying to achieve.
As part of that strategy you need to put together a content plan that outlines what content you will produce and how often, including what formats and estimated lengths. I would start small at first, making sure you have the bandwidth to create content on a regular basis.
I’d also make sure you have someone who is responsible for executing on the strategy, who can manage the process and oversee the output. This person could be internal, particularly if they have an editorial background, or could be a freelance Managing Editor.
In a short period of time what have been your successes for the UK/European arm for Contently?
We have been making great progress in the same sector that is our largest in the US which is financial services.
It makes sense as it’s an industry that has a large requirement for ongoing engaging content in order to inform and build trust, and also the need for reliable technology to manage process including compliance. Aberdeen Asset Management was an early adopter out here before we even had the London office.
We are also seeing success with travel brands who have an appetite to create interesting content at scale that gives them standout, such as Expedia. Then some great brands in other sectors and across different markets – from the language company Babbel in Germany, ENI the Italian energy giant, and HP across Europe. With all of the talent now in place across the main markets, we can now service clients across the UK and Europe which is extremely exciting.
Huge thanks to Rebecca for adding her views to the Talking Content Marketing project. For more from Rebecca’s side of the tracks:
Rebecca on Twitter: click here
Contently: click here