This morning I enjoyed reading a stream of tweets by the inimitable Joe Pulizzi, Mr. Content Marketing himself, offering his views on a subject he has championed for years. Joe knows content marketing inside and out - and it's always a pleasure to catch up on his latest thinking. Today he addressed questions on the future of content marketing, part of the regularly scheduled #CMWorld Twitter chats (which you can follow every Tuesday, from 12-1PM EST).
Three tweets in particular struck me as noteworthy. They are, each in their own way, windows into what the future might hold for this ever-changing digital marketing landscape:
1. What's Old Remains New
In response to the question: "[I]f you could have one content marketing superpower, what would it be?" Joe responded: "100% email deliverability and open rate."
The takeaway: as more and more platforms, tools, and digital solutions arrive to help us deliver good content to target audiences, email remains a killer app - and, specifically, remains a hugely important way to directly market valuable messages to the people who matter to your business. I think Joe knows this, as do LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Medium, YouTube, Yahoo! and all the other platforms for whom audience engagement is everything. (I would argue that Twitter grew as it did in no small part because of email.) As the content marketing landscape evolves, don't overlook email. It may not be sexy, but - done right - it sure is effective.
2. Content Optimized For the Platform of Choice
In response to the question: "What social channels do you think you'll be focusing on the most?" Joe tweeted a number of nuanced answers, including this one: "I’m most interested in content that can be easily shared on the audience's platform of choice."
The takeaway: by shared I don't think Joe means the ubiquitous icons that allow readers to push your content onto the major networks. Rather, I think this is, among other things, a nod toward a growing trend (one we've been taking very seriously) that enables content to travel well. Whether that's a podcast via Apple's CarPlay (as Joe mentioned today) or simply a piece of well-syndicated text, I think in the future we will see more and more content that fits seamlessly into the various platforms our audiences use the most. YouTube became a powerhouse the day it enabled anyone to embed a video elsewhere (and thereby enabled people to watch videos without actually going to YouTube to do it). That's a mere taste of what's to come, regarding content distribution in the future.
3. Actionable Intelligence
In response to the question: "What skills do content marketers need to learn to prepare for the future of content marketing?" Joe said: "Analytics and data will be key. A keen understanding of how our audiences engage in content is critical."
The takeaway: turn your content visibility into actionable intelligence. It's no longer enough simply to produce content and broadcast it without follow-up. Analytics (and more importantly, action) matter. Who engaged with your content and how? What's working, what's not? How to follow up (via sales, business development, or additional marketing)? Content marketers are already asking these questions - the tools to support them will only make actionable intelligence easier to decipher in days ahead.
I have a bonus tweet, also from earlier today. Here's Lydia Polgreen, New York Times Deputy International Editor, in an exchange with The Neiman Lab's Joshua Benton about the Times' disappearing blogs:
"[B]loggy content does not need a blog container. Better to put it where the readers are." That's pretty much all that needs to be said.
We stopped posting to our blog(s) some time ago when we found that our content did much better - gained much more visibility and engagement - when we simply put it where the readers are already gathering: JD Supra proper. I've written and talked about this previously: a blog is a means to publish. It is not a guaranteed audience.
Now, and in the days ahead, the key to your success will remain: taking your work to where the readers gather.
What say you? Comment below:
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