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Forget Content Marketing. Adopt Content Strategy.

Monica Bussolati, content design director at Bussolati & Associates, a publication design studio, has been writing frequently about the role content marketing plays in building visibility and value in the association publishing space. One of her consistent themes will sound familiar to for-profit publishers, as well: content marketing is getting harder.

She took that a step further in a recent post, “2014: The year that content marketing will die.” The practice won’t really die, though; just the term ‘content marketing’ is on its last legs. Bussolati sees this year as the one in which Seth Godin’s claim that “content marketing is the only marketing we have left’” finally becomes true.

Bussolati strongly suggests that all content marketers should rigorously follow a five-step routine:

  1. Create clear, actionable target-audience personas
  2. Develop a content strategy
  3. Creatively repurpose more of your existing content
  4. Use collaboration, marketing-automation, curation and search-analysis technology
  5. Identify the right performance measures

It’s a small change, but I might have made “performance measures” the third point, following “content strategy”. Personas, strategy and assessment are all components of a planning effort that ideally should take place before writing or repurposing content.

Bussolati offers a good overview of the kinds of questions any publisher should answer in creating personas for target audiences. Her recommendation to “develop a content strategy” comes only at a high level in this post, but you can consult another of her posts, “Content strategy vs. content marketing: A conversation” for a bit more background in this area.

Almost any publisher can tell stories that demonstrate how the old marketing paradigms have been challenged for a while now. In “Context first“, I made the assertion that:

In a limited market, our editors became skilled in making decisions about what would be published. Now, in an era of abundance, editors have inherited a new and fundamentally different role: figuring out how “what is published” will be discovered.

The growing conversation around the right ways to talk about, plan for and capitalize on “content marketing” show that this new and fundamentally different role is no longer something we can wait to address.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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