Content Marketing World 2012 featured a wide variety of exciting and thought-provoking sessions, including a content discovery panel that featured our very own SVP of Strategy, Gilad de Vries. The panel, Content Discovery: Strategies and Tactics to Make Sure Your Content is Found, incited an intriguing debate on whether or not marketers should focus more on distribution strategy than creating remarkable content.
Gilad and Naaz Yarkhan, Director of Content Strategy at IFANCA, a non-profit, educational, Islamic organization providing information on Halal and Halal Certification services, argued that marketers should be incredibly mindful of distribution.
“If you overthink remarkable content then you spend too much time thinking,” Gilad said. “If you put a bunch of ideas out there, the data will tell you if people think it’s remarkable. People are looking for different types of information and you just don’t know exactly what they want. Get the content out there and the audience will let you know [if it’s remarkable].”
Naaz agreed. Regardless of how good your content is, she argued, you’ve got to get it into the hands of readers. “If no one is reading it, it’s just sitting there,” she said.
“I think it’s about the idea and the content itself,” Rob said. “It will find its way no matter what. Many marketers have fantastic delivery systems but content is king.”
“You need to have great content,” Amanda concurred. “If you’re not proud of your content then it’s just pointless.”
Joe jumped in and broke the tie and sided with Rob and Amanda. “If you create something remarkable it will always find people,” he said.
Joe then switched gears and asked the panel to pick one attribute of discover-worthy content.
Amanda responded by saying all content must provoke consumer engagement. “You need to know what you want to come from that piece of content. Something early on in the buyer’s journey? Something later on? Inherently, engagement is the end result. Think it through while developing content. Knowing what you want your audience to do in the end comes back to creating engaging content.”
Joe chimed in and asked the panel to define engagement for the audience.
“Engagement is not just time spent and bounce rates, you need to look beyond,” Gilad said. “You muts build out your CRM system and see how many people register for email. See how many people signed up for your RSS feed. Remarkable content is content people like to share. People are too consumed by the idea of SEO. We have to retire that conversation completely. As long as we focus on good content made for people, then people will share it.”
When asked what provokes people to share content, Amanda said content “needs to do something for the audience…Typically [good content] will set off a light bulb in your head, or it’s funny.”
“Good content provides informational or entertainment value. As long as you put that on your wall in big letters, you’ll always be creating great content.”
Rob offered the following definition: “When you’re reinforcing something the audience sees in themselves, something that resonates on a personal level.”
The conversation then shifted to how marketers can continue getting their content discovered once it has broken through the initial awareness phase.
“By combining search and social you’re getting end returns from search and social research,” Rob said. “Some content is of the moment and you have to accept that. What I like to do is have content that’s forward thinking, something that’s long-term. I was writing a book as I was going along creating content. I’m constantly resurfacing old content in the context of new content.”
Gilad countered with the following: “You should try to do what you can in terms of SEO, but there are times when search is out of the way and you have to think about what you can do outside of it. Outbrain recommends content within content. For example, PR agencies use our platform to recommend posts that they’ve tried to get people at the Wall Street Journal to write for five months. The piece gets written and then a few days later it’s gone [off the WSJ site]. But in the digital age it’s not gone, it’s still there. Any time there’s PR picked up by a publication, they put it into our system and the piece is linked to on the CNNs and LA Times of the world.”