Content Marketing Institute's Robert Rose: Marketers Get Strategic With Content, Planning Live

By Leah Betancourt

Businesses are creating more content than ever before, but they’re still struggling with content marketing both from a workflow and revenue standpoint. 

ScribbleLive has launched a multi-part series into content engagement and spoke to some top thought leaders in content marketing to get their perspective. Over the next two weeks, we’ll be featuring stories that cover several topics around content marketing. Be sure to check Engage Magazine for the latest in this series.

Eighty-six percent of B2B marketers have been creating more content over the last 12 months without any notable increase in time and budget, according to the Content Marketing Benchmarking Report from B2B Marketing and Circle Research. Now companies are realizing that more is not necessarily better. 

"Businesses are just now starting to realize that just spewing out content willy-nilly is not the answer. They’re getting much more strategic about the way they create, publish and measure content. [It] needs to be a much more strategic function in the business. I’m hopeful that that trend will continue,” said Robert Rose, Chief Strategist at the Content Marketing Institute and author of "Managing Content Marketing". 

Companies that are successful with content marketing are doing two things. First, they’re treating the content itself differently. Second, companies are breaking down silos between other departments within the organization to work together on content marketing specifically. Hurdles still exist, however.

"[The quote] 'culture eats strategy for breakfast' is alive and well, and the biggest hurdle right now is changing the culture of the purpose of marketing in the organization.”

Changing Culture of Marketing Departments

"[The quote] 'culture eats strategy for breakfast' is alive and well, and the biggest hurdle right now is changing the culture of the purpose of marketing in the organization,” Rose said.
"For the longest time -- forever really -- marketing’s job has been to, in clever ways, describe the value of the product or service being offered. When content becomes a strategic effort in the company, marketing’s purpose changes, and it is to create value in the organization that is separate and distinct from the product or service being sold. And that is a huge cultural hurdle to get over.” 

Content is being taken to a new level, which itself needs marketing and promotion much like a product or service. Rose said that is a huge cultural shift -- marketing almost becomes a product development organization in which it’s developing content-oriented products. 

"When content becomes a strategic effort in the company, marketing’s purpose changes, and it is to create value in the organization that is separate and distinct from the product or service being sold. And that is a huge cultural hurdle to get over.

'Companies Need to Become Media Companies'

"You introduce the whole basis of companies acting like media companies. It’s not enough for a company to act like media companies, they actually have to become media companies. They have to produce valuable pieces of content in order to make this work and that culture shift is the biggest challenge that we’re seeing right now -- especially larger organizations where marketing has really been siloed off into whatever kind of internal agency that it has become,” Rose said.

"It’s not enough for a company to act like media companies, they actually have to become media companies."

Erasing the silos between departments so they can work together is one part of the cultural change. Another is getting rid of the one-off approach. Rose stressed that content marketing is not a campaign, but a broad effort that is infused into everything else that the marketer does, so it’s not separate and distinct from advertising, email or SEO. 


"So the first part of scaling [content marketing] is to stop looking at it like a campaign. The second part of scaling it is to actually recognize it as an actual function. The biggest challenge for most businesses right now is that content kind of everybody’s job and nobody’s job,” Rose said. That means building content marketing duties into the job description.
"Assign people, make them responsible, [and] make it part of their job description.
 They’re actually going to work on content as an asset," he said.

Not surprisingly, content marketers are still tackling the issues of measurement and engagement. The Content Marketing Benchmarking Report found that the two biggest challenges were engaging the target audience (37 percent) followed by measuring ROI (34 percent). Both of those are tied together.

"If you’re looking for measurability, it depends on what part of the funnel you’re really trying to create that engagement in,” Rose said. "I’m increasingly convinced that there’s no such thing as guiding a customer down a buyer’s journey. [What] we as marketers should be striving for, is to create the optimal conditions across every part of the engagement opportunity or funnel. Basically, everywhere a customer is going to have an engaging experience with us or create the optimal environment for that to happen, which usually means creating something unexpected and delightful and helpful in that moment for that customer experience event."

"I think, rather, and I’m not the first one to say this, real-time becomes the business’s ability to move quickly to have a conversation when it needs to.”

Real-Time Marketing Takes Planning

Creating engagement opportunities is not just about where it lands on the funnel. It’s also a matter of timing. Rose said the term real-time marketing is a misnomer because it implies that the marketing is done improvisationally and in real-time. In fact, the best real-time campaigns are actually months and years in the making. 

The distinction with real-time marketing is the company’s approach and tactics. "I think, rather, and I’m not the first one to say this, real-time becomes the business’s ability to move quickly to have a conversation when it needs to,” he added. 

Furthermore, real-time coverage doesn’t have to be done all at once. It can involve publishing over a period of time and use both real-time and on-demand content. Rose said a focus should be on how to take advantage of content that is happening in real-time. “It’s also taking advantage of real-time events that may not be used for content in real-time,” he said. 

As content marketers get more savvy with planning upfront, working across departments and promoting content like a new product or service, they are seeing value in their content marketing initiatives.  

Follow Robert Rose on Twitter @Robert_Rose. For more content marketing planning tips, follow Engage on Twitter. Contact ScribbleLive to find out how content engagement can help your company can reach its business goals.

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