Content marketing gains traction

Sarah Mitchell is Head of Content Strategy at Lush Digital Media. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Content Marketing World held this week in Sydney delivered some of the best thinking and current insight into a discipline finally gaining traction in Australia. International experts, Australian content marketers and brand journalists gathered for three days of workshops and presentations.

As Australian brands make the shift to content marketing, the conference is becoming more relevant and less aspirational. Case studies and commentary from Bupa, Tourism Australia, Flight Centre, ANZ Bank, Domain, and AMP clearly show the big end of town is catching up with their American and European counterparts.

The advice demonstrated an increasing maturity in the content marketing discipline. Geraint Holliman, director of strategy at DIRECTIONGROUP in the UK, spoke eloquently on why marketers need to quit focusing on volume and frequency, his definition of a modern-day marketing sweatshop. Instead, he urged marketers to do less by creating relevant, compelling, and timely content.

Brandscapting author Andrew Davis took that idea even further by saying marketers should narrow their focus to a niche category. He chastised the scatter approach to marketing by challenging marketers to, “Stop being everything to everyone and start being something to someone.”

He also tackled the problem of ‘always on’ marketing when observing most audiences don’t want to hear from a brand throughout the day but could get excited about knowing you’ll be around at a specific time.
“What if you made an appointment with your audience? What if we owned two minutes of their time every week?”

He also asked marketers to quit focusing on meaningless metrics. His advice was to forget about popular analytics like website traffic and click-through rates. He suggested a focus on how many people were opting out of our newsletters and other content lists was far more relevant to the bottom line of your business.

Another mindbender for marketers came from Robert Rose, chief strategy officer at the Content Marketing Institute. He reminded everyone the success of a content program should be based on business objectives.

"Don't mistake success of the platform to contribution for the business," said Rose.

His observation is too often a popular Instagram feed or a big Twitter following is perceived as a content marketing success.

Rose believes that’s only true if the channel somehow moves a customer along the path to purchase. He wasn’t the only presenter to infer the only way you can quantify success with content is if it can be tracked back to revenue.

Sarah Mitchell is Head of Content Strategy at Lush Digital Media and the Australian Editor of the Content Marketing Institute.