Employer Branding Ideas
London, UK
Employer Branding Ideas
London, UK
The State of UK Content Marketing in 2016
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What is the state of content marketing in the UK? Are we faring better than the Americans and Aussies? What should content marketers be focusing on in 2016? And what does the future hold for content marketing?

To get some answers, I’ve had the chance to speak to none other than Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of “Content Inc.“.

You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or keep reading for a transcript of our conversation. Questions by me, answers by Joe.

Tell us about yourself and your work?

Absolutely. So, I’m the founder of the Content Marketing Institute. We’ve been around since 2007. We focus on training and education for enterprise marketers. We do things like the big event, Content Marketing World every September, in Cleveland, Ohio in the States. It’s the largest content marketing event in world. Myself, I’ve written four books, most recently, Content Inc. which is focused mostly small businesses and my job is basically to travel around world, evangelise the practice of content marketing, and help people that are struggling with the concept to get a better handle on it. I just love talking anything content marketing. I think it’s purpose driven marketing. I think not enough marketers use it.

What’s the state of UK content marketing in 2016?

Just some upfront findings of what we see is that basically 9 out of 10 UK marketers are doing something in content marketing whatever they define as content marketing or we define it as “valuable compelling relevant content on a consistent basis to a targeted audience in order to meet some profitable goal for the organisation”. Hopefully, that’s where they’re keeping in mind when they fill out these surveys.

This is our third or fourth year doing the UK research and we’ve done six years overall in the States. And so, usage is up from 85% to 89%, and it looks like even spending is up, 29% is the overall spending on content marketing, creation, and distribution. That’s up from 26%. From just a usage standpoint, it looks like UK marketers are gung-ho about the practice of content marketing so that’s a good start.

And what about effectiveness? Do we see results coming in?

Well, that’s the other story. That’s a whole different story. And what’s interesting is we’re saying this across the board. So, if you look at what we’re seeing with the Australia research, the UK research or the North American research. We’re seeing the same things basically, a lot of immaturity. If we look at where people place themselves; are they mature, are they sophisticated, basically, only one out of three think that they’re at the upper level from an effectiveness standpoint. Overall, effectiveness is just 34% and honestly that’s not good. One in three marketers are seeing success with this. That’s actually down from 42% last year. Only half of the marketers even know what success looks like.

So, it’s interesting even though the practice of content marketing has been around for a long, long time in the UK, and the UK has always been one of the leaders in this area – still, it is a new muscle that a lot of organisations are trying to put their arms around and they just don’t have, I think, a good handle for a consistent delivery of content instead of the short bursts that we’re seeing right now.

Has effectiveness has gone down because there’s too much content going out?

People ask me that all the time. There’s always so much competition from a content standpoint, how can we break through? Look, there’s always been too much content, there’s been too much content since the printing press was created. There’s more and more content every day. I think that we got into the habit years ago of thinking that more content was better and we’re not really thinking like media companies think when they’re focusing on a very specific audience. They see that a lot and even in the UK as well where they’re trying to target multiple audiences at the same time which if you target more than one audience, I can tell you right off the bat you’re not going to be successful.

I think the other big thing that we’re seeing is the short-term campaigns, and here’s what’s the interesting thing and I’ve spent some time in London and I spent some time in Europe, I hear the word ‘campaign’ in Europe more than anywhere else in the world when they’re talking about content and that’s a red flag for me because if you say content campaign, you are automatically setting an end date. You’re automatically saying this is a short-term program and what content marketing is, a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build a loyal relationship with audiences and if we’re just thinking, “We’re going to do this really flashy program, targeting these people, we’re going to tell this amazing story”, you’re really talking more about a glorified advertising program than a content marketing program than a focus on building relationships.

I think that is the reason for the most part, why we’re seeing success and effectiveness not being where it should be. I would say the other thing is consistency. It’s not these short programs but it’s also, if you’ve got a blog program, if you have a video program, if you have a podcast program, you’ve got to do it consistently. If you say you’re going to blog twice a week, you’ve got to blog. It’s Tuesday at 9:30 and Thursday at 9:30, it’s not two blog posts a week. It’s just not whenever we get to it. The email newsletter has to be something exceptional that goes on a regular basis. I think for some reason, we forgot that along the way that setting an appointment with your audience is really, really important in and I don’t think for the most part we do a good job of it.

Is the focus on campaigns driven by agencies?

I think that has a lot to do with it. I think that agencies live in the world of campaigns and that’s how they price it out and this is what we’re going to do and the creative team gets really big idea and that’s fine. By the way, campaigns aren’t going away. It’s not a content marketing approach versus a campaign approach but when you say content marketing, I think a lot of people, a lot of marketers in the UK automatically think of, “Oh, what are these stories that we’re going to tell and how do we really get this target audience emotionally involved and engaged in our content?” I don’t think they’re thinking, how do we build an audience and then how do we compare that audiences behaviour with somebody that’s not subscribed to our content.

I don’t think that’s a natural thing yet. So I think we’ve got a long way to go to bust out of this traditional feel of a campaign approach versus something that takes more patience. It takes longer term. And the other thing is marketers, they’re not patient. They want results right away. Hey, we got leads, we got more sales. If you just look at the goals they told us in the research program, sales is the number one thing and I get it, right? But the fact is, is that you have to deliver value before you extract value. We’re not delivering enough value before we can extract all these leads and these sales, and it’s really like short-term advertising programs and content marketing is just a totally different approach.

What’s the best strategy and organisation set-up for content marketing?

Well, I think the first thing when you just talk about strategy in organisation is the fact that, and this is the thing that kills me every year when I look at these and this is the same case again this year; 37% of marketers say they have some kind of a documented content marketing strategy which means it’s written down. So that means 63% of marketers are doing content creation and distribution, and don’t have a formalised plan around it. So, if you want to point to why aren’t we seeing more effectiveness, I’ll put it right there, what are we doing?

And this is what we are, we’re just experimenting. This is a new thing. We’re going to do some blogs or do some content. We’re going fill some content holes out there. We’re going to send it on social media and get some engagement and see what happens. There’s no real strategy around this thing which tells me that where is the content marketing industry as an approach right now? We’re very, very immature.

I think it’s so funny it’s almost counter-intuitive when you think about the art of content marketing or building an audience from what brands had been doing. This is hundreds and hundreds of years old. As you know as you listen to the podcasts, This Old Marketing, we talk about an old content marketing example, we’d do it for a hundred episodes. We’ve been talking about it for a long time but if we don’t even have strategies out there item, I’m not a really, really sure what we’re doing.

Now, from a setup standpoint, it really depends on how the organisation is set up. A lot of organisations are setting up a content creation specialist team within their product group. That’s not working very because it’s all focused on short-term campaign so other organisations are creating what we would call more of a rebel framework where it sort of sits outside the organisation and you’re trying to do something experimental almost like a pilot program just to get initial buy in and then once you get that initial buy in and then you can sort of integrate that into the overall organisation.

It’s such a cultural shock to do something like this and you need a CMO, a Chief Marketing Officer in that organisation that’s going to say, “Look, this is a longer term approach.” And as we know, especially with a lot of public companies that have shareholders, they’re looking for quarterly return. If somebody asked me, let’s say you said, what if somebody wants results in six months. They want to do content marketing approach and they want results in less than six months, I would say go buy advertising, don’t do content marketing. It’s a complete waste, in my opinion. Could you see you little wins? Sure you could. You can see more leads and you can see some downloads, and you can see some web traffic. But what we really want to do is to build an audience that knows, likes, and trusts us. That’s our goal and you’re going to say you’re going to do that in less than six months? A media company wouldn’t do that.

I used to work in media and we used to do three-year plans Why three-year plans? because it takes time to build a loyal relationship with an audience in order to build a business model around it, so I think a lot of the short term thing, and the problem is I don’t know if the short-term thinking is going to go away anytime soon. I think it’s just for the ones that actually want to create a long-term asset and then really, really grow their revenues once they build that audience. Content marketing is a great approach for that but from short-term thinking, it’s not going to work.

How do you measure ROI and what metrics should you focus on?

There’s lots of different ways to measure depending on what your goal is. So what is your goal? Is your goal is to get new customers? Is it to keep current customers happy or loyal customers? Is it maybe a data play that you’re using for research and development? And so there’s there’s lots of different ways to look at what the overall goals are. From a measurement standpoint, if you’re just going to say, Joe, what’s the Holy Grail metric for content marketing?

I would say it’s the subscriber. It’s absolutely, where’s the value? Is the value in the content? No. The value not in the content, the value is in the audience. Content gets you the audience. If you look at what the value of a media company is, any media company in the world: Financial Times, New York Times, doesn’t matter. They don’t say, “Oh, New York Times is valuable, or Financial Times is valuable because they do a hundred articles a day.” No. They do it because they’re able to nurture an audience that they can monetise. That’s what the value is. If you’re saying, it’s the same thing that we want to do on the brand side. It’s just that instead of selling advertising against it or paid content against it, we’re trying to sell more products and services.

So, I’m looking at what’s the subscriber. As we get a, let’s say, an email subscriber and we’re actually building our audience overtime whatever subscriptions are using even if you look at social media subscriptions like YouTube or iTunes or whatever the case is, what I want to start to be able to tell with the data we get is how do they behave differently than people that aren’t subscribed or engaging in my content. That’s what I really want to tell.

Now you mention that, and I threw up at three-year number, if you go to a CMO and say, “It’s going to take three years.” You’re going to be fired. Nobody’s going to put up with that and be super patient. Here’s what we know and this actually, this comes from my latest book, Content Inc., where we looked at a ton, a number of small businesses and how long it took them to really get to significant monetisation and on average it takes between 12 and 18 months to really get to monetisation, to really be able to build subscribers up to a point where you can monetise it in some way whether I’m trying to grow more customers, sell new products, keep our current customers buying more, positive word of mouth, whatever the goal is with that, it takes some time to do that. Then, you can get short-term wins all along the way along the way, more social shares, website traffic, all that kind of stuff but the ultimate Holy Grail metric is that subscriber.

Looking at the research, we’re not seeing that. We’re not seeing a heck of a lot of focus on subscriber growth. Subscriber growth if I look at the overall goals like what’s the most important goal when you ask? It’s all sales, more leads, those types of things. Subscriber growth is way down on the list. It’s just a different way of thinking. I get it, but if you’re asking me what it’s going take to really be at like a best-in-class content marketer in the UK, you’re going to have to focus on building audience.

What’s the most valuable type of subscriber?

For right now if we look at the subscription, if we look at a subscription hierarchy, email subscription would be at the top followed closely by print subscribers, believe it or not. And print is super important because of the amount of data that we can get from somebody that wants to subscribe to a print program. Facebook would be up on the absolute bottom of the list. YouTube would be right above that. Well, why is that? Because if you have an audience on Facebook, let’s say, well, we know this, this is the data that’s already come up for a number of the of different areas where if you have 10,000 people that have fanned your page on Facebook and you do an organic post, an original organic post, less than 1% of those people will actually see that post.

So you’ve put all this time and energy to get 10,000 or 100,000, if you’re like any major company, maybe have millions of people that like you on your Facebook page, you’re going to get less than 1% are going to see your update. You have no control over that and by the way, that’s fine. It didn’t use to be that way. Facebook did a bait and switch on us and they decided they wanted money and they couldn’t make money by showing all our content to all the people that follow us and that’s fine but if you look at all these different platforms whether you’re looking at YouTube or LinkedIn or iTunes or Twitter, they’re all the same thing. Our connections on those platforms are controlled by somebody else. What do we want to do with those? Those are all good. I want to have those but what I want to do is I want to convert those over to things that I have more control over like email or I actually have the data and I can actually start to track the behaviour of that person and I can actually communicate with them.

Now, you might be asking, well Joe, I thought email was dead? Are you kidding me? How do we break through all the clutter of email? That’s why when we look at the quality of our email newsletters, most of them are pitiful. You’d probably do the same thing that I do, you might get up in the morning you go through email inbox and you click delete on 95% of the emails you got the night before because they’re all spam.

You unsubscribe, they’re not valuable to you. But maybe if you’re like me, there’s one or two every day that you keep that’s really valuable that you want to read. That’s what we need to do, that’s what UK marketers need to do. They have to have best-of-breed content specifically in that email form or none of this is going to work. Whenever we do our master classes or workshops with these large brands and go in and we say, evaluate your own email newsletters, what do you think? To a tee, they all say ours are terrible. Well, what are you setting them up for then? Don’t do terrible in your newsletters. Let’s focus on quality communication with our customers.

Yes, I like all of them. I think we should definitely leverage social media. Obviously, you guys know better than most but the thing is, is that Twitter and Facebook, and LinkedIn, and everyone else continue to change the rules and as a media producer, I’m scared about that because if I build connections and I build audiences on platforms I cannot control or have any say over, that’s a tedious way to build a business model. Don’t build your content house on rented land and if you do then make sure that you’re working very hard to get your calls to action to go to places where you can actually get customer data.

What are the challenges and priorities for UK content marketers in 2016?

I would say the trend for 2016 based on what we saw in the research and based on what we’re saying first hand, I think we’re definitely going into the less is more for 2016. The challenge is always how do I produce enough content, how do I produce more engaging content. I think most organisations when we go into an organisation, most are producing way too much content sporadically in silos, not strategic at all, and most of it is actually not even used which is, why are we doing that? I just saw stats the other day, this is something like 60% of B2B content isn’t even used and I’m like that’s scary. They were creating all this content but we’re not doing anything with it.

So I would say, instead of us feeling overwhelmed about being in every channel and communicating everywhere our customer is at, I would focus on a couple channels that we can actually be an expert, we can actually master, we can actually build audiences and create amazingly relevant and consistent content in those channels, and maybe use the other social media channels as listening posts. Where you have a presence, you’re responding but you’re not necessarily pushing out content specifically as part of that channel strategy. I would love to see that happen in talking to the marketers that we’re talking to, already seeing that that less is more.

I think the other priority that I would like to see is absolute consistency beyond the campaign. Content campaigns within an overall content marketing approach like you have a people campaign, white paper campaign, video campaign, all that within a content marketing approach is fine but I would like the content marketing approach to be consistently driven instead of us putting all our resources behind an idea and then stopping. Let’s create a promise. Let’s keep that promise to our customer that we’re going to deliver amazing content on an ongoing basis like a media company would instead of getting their hopes up delivering something of value and then moving on to something else.

How do content marketing practices differ in the UK vs. USA vs. Australia?

I would say overall, when you look at United States, UK, and Australia, the United States in usage and the different social platforms and whatnot is a little bit ahead but it’s negligible. It’s small, it’s not as large as you would think. What really is almost, I don’t have to say it, it’s frustrating, disappointing maybe is across the board, effectiveness is low. All the effectiveness in every country is in the 30%. It’s fairly consistently bad, you want to say that.

So, there’s a lot of room for improvement and I think that we’ve gotten to this point as marketers where I think we say, “Oh, great, we can publish now.” Just because we can publish, doesn’t mean we should be publishing, and I think everybody just said, let’s go get some content, well, let’s go, where are we going to get the content from? Let’s go grab, we should be doing this content thing instead of a really thinking first, how is it going to really help our business and our business goals. And second maybe most importantly, what is the impact that we’re going to make on the audience? How are we going to help them get better jobs and live better lives, and focus on their outcomes like a media company would, and not do the bait and switch where we have to put a little in a product feature benefit in every piece of content that we have because still the majority content is about us.

So there’s really just not and I looked at it right before we were going to talk. I just wanted to double check but the differences are not anything where I would just say, wow, this is a huge difference. We just all have a long way to go and we’re all at a very immature state.

What are some content marketing examples that inspire you?

The one that I’ve always liked and actually in my first book “Get Contact Get Customers,” this is back in 2008, Pinsent Masons, the UK law firm, they’ve done a great program for years called Out-law where they focused on creating this content marketing approach where they put out this amazing content on a continuous basis all about the practice of law, answering all of these very difficult questions, engaging with their with the people that are interested in that with their target audience, growing their subscriber base leaps and bounds, year after year after year, and I love that.

They started out as a magazine and a web destination and now it’s just a web destination. They stopped with the magazine but I love that case study and simply because it’s just a great example of consistency overtime. They produce content every day, consistently. They have a consistent weekly e-newsletter they been doing that for the last 10 years and they’ve been building an amazing audience, and it’s the number one resource in the UK on legal issues and it’s that way because they’ve been doing this for so many years in a row. Again, a testament to consistency.

The other example that I love is Jyske Bank from Denmark. I love this example. If you go back to 2008, 2009, they were spending a lot on traditional sponsorship and they said, “Look, what if built our own audience?” So, they decided to create JyskeBank.TV. They’ve created their own television station around financial issues targeted, specifically at millennials and they’ve been super successful, built a 24/7 News environment. They actually have a tag line that says, we are the only media company with its own bank which I love that tag line and I just love the idea that they’ve gone all in even talking about things that, because we talked with a lot of the journalists that work at Jyske Bank and after they do a show, they’ll get a call from the CEO and sometimes the CEO doesn’t like they talked about but they kind of let them go and really talk about issues that are super important to the target audience even when it may conflict a little bit with the overall products and services that Jyske Bank offers.

I think that’s an interesting approach. They’re really trying take a stance, a journalistic stance around media coverage in financial issues and it’s one of the leading media companies in Denmark anyways.

Then there’s of course Red Bull, everybody talks about Red Bull. Although, most people don’t know they started just with a very simple magazine in 2003. Red Bull Magazine and now, they’re Red Bull Media House and people don’t realise that they just started with doing one thing really well like most media companies do and now, they’re the Red Bull Media House that’s doing, funding music groups, syndicating content all over the world and they’ve got people jumping from space and all that other stuff but it really just started as a monthly magazine.

As a thought leader yourself, what content marketing strategies work best for you?

It’s been an interesting ride. We’ve grown quite a bit of Content Marketing Institute. I think right now, we’ve got almost 170,000 subscribers. And we’ve done that over the last five almost six years now, and what’s really interesting, I think that’s worked well for us and for me personally is focusing on one channel and one content-type first and then diversifying. I think what you see a lot in all countries where somebody would have a story to tell and then they go and they put that story on every conceivable channel and platform, and repurpose it. There’s wrong with that but where I think really helped us is all we did was focus on creating one really amazing piece of content per day and we did that for two years. That was it.

Every day, delivered at the same time, we sent it out the 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time and we did that for 24 months. And we built a pretty significant audience. Then once we were able to do that, then we diversified. Then we launched the Content Marketing World event, then we launched new content office or print magazine. Then we launched this whole marketing podcast and I think that maybe it’s easier for a lot of people listening to this to say and you don’t have to be everywhere at one time, do one thing really well to start with, build your content brand whether it’s maybe an iTunes podcast, a YouTube series, a blog on your website, whatever the case is, focus on that first. I think that’s worked really well for us and of course, for me personally because it was just me.

At first, it was just me starting the blog and then, of course, now we’ve got a wonderful team of people doing all that. When people think they don’t have enough resources, I think it’s because we just feel like we have to do everything and you don’t. I think you have strategies about making decisions about what not to do. I think as content marketers you have to make some decisions to not do a number of things so you can do a few things really well.

You are a LinkedIn Influencer, do you use your content there to drive traffic to your website?

Absolutely. And by the way, I love LinkedIn. I’m a big proponent. I have been able to, I have been blessed enough to get a lot of followers on that platform in and because of LinkedIn has promoted my profile more than most which is been great, so I produce content specifically for LinkedIn and then the calls to action on the end of every post goes to something that we own. It goes to either our books, my book site, our website, because what we want to do is, ultimately, I’ll just, I won’t beat around the bush. I want to steal audience. I want to take that audience from LinkedIn and I want them to be our audience. I want to nurture that person in that way.

So, LinkedIn is great, especially, for B2B and the research shows this. LinkedIn is a great, great vehicle for that and especially, I don’t know if you’ve downloaded their new app but their new app. I love, i think their new app, is thousand times better than their old app but what you see they’re doing exactly what Facebook is doing where in the past if you used to connect with somebody, if somebody connected to you, they would see all your content. Now, LinkedIn have their own algorithm. They’re going to show you what they want you to see. So it’s tougher to cut through from that standpoint because LinkedIn is making decisions based on whatever they think is going to help them with their business model so when we do get the attention on those platforms, we want to make sure that we grab it and we engage with them but then if we have opportunities to move them to some other subscription offer, we definitely want to do that.

Is the book, as a format, still an effective piece of content marketing?

Well, I’ve produced more books so I obviously think it’s worthwhile doing. I actually have a personal goal to produce a book every two years. I’m already thinking about what I’m going to produce in 2017. But if your goal as an organisation, let’s say, if your individual goal is to be an expert in your industry or your goal as an organisation is to be a thought leader, a book is one of the best things you could possibly do. It leads to so many different things. Obviously, there’s a number of huge conferences, huge marketing conferences around the world right now and a lot of those prolific marketing conferences, if you are not on the brand side so if your consultant, agency, whatever and you don’t have a book, you’re probably not going to get invited. It’s like table stakes, you have to have a book. And I think that it’s a great way to position your organisation around what your content marketing mission is. What you stand for, what’s your purpose and go out and put something out there.

If you look at a company like HubSpot right? HubSpot, now a global company, multi-billion dollar company, started in a garage in 2006. What were one of the ways that they really got the word out about what they were trying to communicate around MR marketing? They created a book called Inbound. So, it can be pinnacle pieces, capillary pieces of content of content that you would take as part of your content marketing approach that can really help extenuate everything you’re trying to do as you diversify your programs.

If you’re individual and you want to be a thought leader and you want to get on to more speaking gigs and you want to be followed on social media, there is probably nothing better than you can do than write a book.

How do you get someone to sit down and read a book in the age of distractions?

I think it probably is harder to break through initially that’s why this whole content marketing approach, you need to look at a way to build your audience so that when you do release the book, they would actually see it, pay attention to it. But no, if you look at overall book sales year over year, they continue to go up. There’s a lot more books out there but overall book sales are up. When you look at e-books, audio books, and print books. So, obviously, there’s appetite there. People do want long-form content.

I think it’s so funny when people say, “Oh no, we have to have really short snackable content.” Well, yeah, maybe but I don’t know if you have friends like I do but I’ve got friends that will spend a whole weekend binging on something on Netflix and just watching 10 hours in a row of something. People can absolutely spend attention on something for a long period of time if it’s good, if it’s really valuable.

And so, like audio books, this is the first year, by the way, I give you our data from just selling Content Inc., this is the first year that I’ve ever seen a significantly outperform audio books over print and e-books. That hasn’t happened before. Audio, it’s not e-books that’s taken the lead, it’s actually audio books that are taking the lead and I probably sell right now, every two audio books for every one print book and I don’t care, it doesn’t matter if they want to engage in audio because out of everything, and I mentioned podcasts before, the one reason I like that format is it’s the only thing that you can do and multitask. People can commute to work, listen to an audiobook. They can drive in the car, they can run, exercise, whatever the case is.

Tell us about Content Inc., what’s the message?

The quick pitch on Content Inc. is, I wanted to write about how we were successful in Content Marketing Institute. Barely, spent any money on traditional advertising and built the fastest-growing business media company in North America. I thought that was something but then I’m like well nobody cares about me. Nobody cares about what we’ve done. How do we make this into a real story? And then we went out and we started to interview all these multimillion-dollar, fast-growing companies all over the world on how they built an audience first and then launch products or services. So this is basically going out there and they did some content initiative to build an audience whether that’s on iTunes, on YouTube, their blog or website that they built a significant audience and then they monetised that audience and we reverse engineered the model and we said, “Okay, they’re super successful, super fast growing, what did they do?”

When we found out across the board all of the examples that we found, follow the same six steps which we call of the Content Inc. model. And so, what we really found as we think we found a formula that you can take and you can scale on it where you can say, look we want to build an audience here’s six steps to do it on your way to monetisation and I’m super excited about it. It’s a model that any company of any size can use but specifically for a company that doesn’t have a lot of resources and that was that was the whole idea.

So the big idea is, is it possible to actually build an audience first that those knows, likes, and trusts as we’re talking about before and then, sell more products and services or have our customers be more loyal? And obviously the answer is yes. We talked about break down all those examples over the six steps and it’s probably the book I’m most passionate about. I’m just glad it’s selling and people are seeing the value in it.

What are your favourite examples as featured in the book?

There’s a lot. Obviously, I have mentioned HubSpot. We talked about CopyBlogger Media basically, Brian Clark blogged for 19 months in a row, went and built an audience of over 200,000 subscribers and now he’s one of the fastest-growing software-as-a-service companies on the planet. Moz, SEOMoz did the same thing. Rand Fishkin, started as a consulting company, blogged every day, grew an audience to over a 100,000, new it’s an over $30 million organisation and he changed this whole business model from consulting to software-as-a-service. John Deere, I talk about actually, in the book is one of the oldest Content Inc. examples on the planet based. They started The Furrow Magazine in 1895 and 120 years later, they’re still producing the Furrow magazine. Now, the largest media company in the agricultural industry, 1.5 million subscribers, 40 countries, 14 different languages. Anne Reardon, the baking queen of Sydney, Australia. She differentiated her story with impossible food creations. Went from zero subscribers to 2 million in a couple years and traded this amazing platform.

That’s what I think I love most about the book is you come away feeling that anybody can do this, and anybody can, it takes patience, don’t get me wrong, but if you follow the process, I really think you can be successful and probably step two of step six is the most critical that we talked about and then we call the content tilt and that’s where you really do have to tell a different story where most organisation, we see this in the UK as well, I’m sure you seen a ton of examples where they’ll start creating content that’s just like anything else out there.

If you’re creating content just like anything else out there, you’re not going to break through, you’re not going to build an audience, there’s no value there. So you really got to spend some time and figure out what our story is, how it’s different, and how we have it our specific point of view around that content.

Where is content marketing heading in the UK and globally?

This going to sound crazy coming from me because I’m the content marketing evangelist but I think we’re heading for a rough patch. I think that a lot of people that have experimented with content marketing over the past couple years and haven’t done it right have become disenchanted with it, and they think it doesn’t work and they’re going back to paid advertising and paid media, and doing whatever they were doing before. That’s honestly because they had no strategy. They weren’t consistent. They were focused on campaigns, and their idea of content marketing didn’t work not what content marketing really is. I think there’s a lot of people out there saying, I’m sure you seen it is well, content marketing is dead, it doesn’t work, it’s not real.

It’s kind of funny to hear those things since I’ve been in the industry for 20 years, but if there’s a lot of people that say that. So, I think you’re going to have right now, in the UK and around the world in the next, let’s say, 18 months, we are going to see some of the greatest success stories of all time that we’ll ever see come out right now and we will also see some of the greatest, most disappointing failures of our time because people are still not getting the idea that building an audience is the key. It’s sort of the ultimate in content marketing and most people just don’t get that yet so I’d love to be positive about it.

I think we will see some amazing examples but I do think that there’s going to be some people that are frustrated and that’s why we’ve got a set a strategy up front that we feel works. They got to focus on less of a really quality content instead of more of that average content that we’ve been doing. We don’t have to be everywhere. We have to be somewhere where we can make an impact on our customers and our audience. If we can do those things, it’ll be successful and if not I don’t think it’s going to work.

pearl of content marketing wisdom

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