BLOG POST WRITTEN FOR CRONYCLE, A MARKET INTELLIGENCE AND CONTENT CURATION SOFTWARE COMPANY.
How insights driven content marketing can help your team keep up with trends
Content marketing in the information age requires unprecedented levels of imagination, innovation, and up-to-the-minute knowledge. There’s a lot of noise out there and the competition for attention is fierce! Your ability to see around corners, notice and predict patterns, and capitalize on emerging trends is what will set you apart from your competitors.
The goals of your content marketing program likely include the aim of positioning your organization as a thought leader, authority, and trusted go-to source for information. You’re striving for greater reach, more engagement, and expanded influence. Your team is creative and hardworking, but you’re still limited by the number of hours in each day.
Create more and better content with insights gleaned from research and data curation
Your team is under a lot of pressure to produce what feels like a never-ending stream of content and push it out to what seems like countless channels. No matter how bright and creative your content marketers are, there’s a limit to how much original content they can create. But skimping on output isn’t an option: an astounding 95% of B2B consumers say content is one important way they evaluate the trustworthiness of a business.
A recent study of content marketers showed some notable similarities among those classified as “top performers”:
- 73% use technology to glean greater insight into audience behavior and preferences
- 90% prioritize their audience’s informational needs above sales/promotional messaging
- 96% have an audience that views them as a trusted and credible resource
If you’re going to be a top performer, you’ll need a strategy for producing more quality content in less time and with fewer resources, but how? Most important is to abandon the notion that you can create enough original content to get the job done. You can’t. And that’s actually okay–more than okay–because in reality your audience will be far more appreciative and responsive if they see you as a provider of education and information. In fact, 96% of B2B consumers want content with more input from industry thought leaders.
It’s advisable that you have a documented content marketing plan (65% of top performers do), and it’s essential that you arm your team with technology that makes it easy and efficient to harvest, collaborate on, and publish insights.
Influencers, influencers everywhere…
As you search for timely and relevant content that your audience will appreciate and value, you’ll need to be judicious about where and from whom you collect sharable news, information, and insights. Amidst a sea of self-proclaimed experts and flash-in-the-pan influencers, it’s not always easy to discern who’s worth listening to. And if it’s difficult for you to make sense of, just imagine how difficult it is for your customers. They need someone to help them sort the wheat from the chaff, and that someone should be YOU.
Technology is your friend in this effort. There are 2.7 million influencers and experts out there, all clamoring to be heard. There are 500 million blogs in existence, and on WordPress alone, there are 70 million new blog posts published every month. Twitter, where new information posts and spreads like wildfire, 500 million tweets are sent every day!
With so much new content being pumped out and shared at an astounding pace, your only hope at keeping up with it all is with technology. Your content insights platform should use a combination of artificial intelligence and human expertise to help you filter out distractions so you can focus on the most relevant content and stay abreast of emerging trends. Your creation capacity will be dramatically expanded and you’ll be empowered to craft and launch messages and campaigns that are timely, relevant, and have massive impact.
Anticipating and capitalizing on customer trends and behavior
Successful content marketing teams strive to be proactive rather than reactive by keeping a vigilant eye fixed on identifying potential threats and opportunities in the market, and then acting on them quickly. Trends can emerge seemingly from out of nowhere, especially when it comes to customer preferences and behavior. This was illustrated poignantly during the recent pandemic with many industries witnessing dramatic shifts within a very short period of time.
“Between March and August 2020, one in five consumers switched brands, and seven in ten tried new digital shopping channels,” according to McKinsey. “The retail sector experienced ten years of growth in digital penetration in a matter of months.” In other words, things changed fast.
But, to be fair, things are always changing fast. Your content marketing program needs to keep up with dynamic and unpredictable customer behavior, competitor actions, and market developments.
Stay ahead of competitive and market trends with social listening
One valuable way for content marketers to detect critical trends and to collect actionable data is through social listening. This refers to the 2-step process of (1) monitoring what is said on social media platforms about your organization, brand, and products, as well as your competitors, industry, people, and topics you want to know about, and (2) analyzing the data you collect in order to gain insights.
Once upon a time, monitoring social media was easy. Armed with a list of names and keywords, a marketing assistant might have run a weekly Twitter search and provided you with everything you needed to know. But with literally billions of people using Twitter and Facebook (80% of people in the United States are on social media and 4.2 billion people worldwide), you need smart technology to help you keep up. Again, a content insights platform that employs artificial intelligence is crucial for dealing with the sheer volume of information, as well as for surfacing the most important posts. Armed with data, you can feel certain the trends you see aren’t just your opinion or personal impression but are actually measurable patterns with predictable trajectories.
With access to literally every social post about your brands and those of your competitors, you have a far clearer and more complete picture of what people are both grumbling and raving about. You can detect and anticipate patterns and trends and get in front of them. You can reach customers and prospects when they’re hot and hit them with messages timed and crafted for maximum impact. And you won’t have to wonder whether your gut can be trusted because when your gut instincts are backed by the data, it’s pretty magical.
Easy collaboration and sharing is key
When fresh trends or breaking news is identified, you have to strike while the iron is hot–you can’t afford to let your technology hold you up. It’s not fair to your hardworking team, and it’s not good for your bottom line. So make sure you choose the insights platform that not only facilitates efficient content curation but enables rapid distribution of insights as well.
If your team members are located in various geographical locations (and even if they’re not), it’s critical they have a way to share content so collaboration is easy and seamless. It’s equally critical that when they identify content that can and should be shared immediately, they have an efficient way to do just that. Again, the right tech tools are key here. Make sure your content insights platform facilitates sharing and publishing—otherwise all the time your team saves in harvesting and contextualizing information could all be for naught as valuable insights languish internally, and windows of opportunity close.
With the confidence that you’ve got the most current and relevant data, and armed with a powerful toolset, imagine what you can do. You’ll time promotions and announcements when they’ll have the greatest impact. You’ll reach customers when they’re most likely to buy. You’ll create content that rides a wave of trending interest and gets noticed by influencers. You’ll counter the moves of your competitors with lightning-quick reflexes. You’ll impress stakeholders by demonstrating over and over again that you’re the first to know of market shifts and opportunities. You’ll be recognized as an authority, thought leader, and trusted brand.
Yes, your content marketing program can do all of this and more. Don’t be intimidated by all the noise out there. With the right plan and smart technology, you will cut through the information avalanche, locate those precious content gems, and create powerful insights that will position you to lead your market.