How Should You Go About Making a Dent in the Content Marketing Universe?
Content marketing is evolving by the minute. A new platform or strategy emerges almost every day. According to reports, the industry is expected to grow by over 400 billion dollars in the next three years. And if content marketers don’t adapt to these changes, the future of their personal growth is weak. However, one sure-shot way to cause an impact in the industry is by choosing niches and building up to them. It also means understanding content marketing in different industries and applying audience-focused methods.
Cletus McKeown, Head of Content & Brand Marketing, Plobal Apps, talks to Rishabh Shekhar, COO & Co-founder at Pepper Content, about how content marketers need a unique viewpoint if they want to make a dent in the industry.
Here are some excerpts.
1. Let's get a quick introduction of yours.
I'm the head of brand and content marketing at Plobal Apps, a mobile app builder in the Shopify ecosystem. We work with e-commerce brands to help them create mobile apps and develop their push notification strategy. We also boost their general marketing campaigns to help them increase conversions and increase repeat purchases.
I started my career in the entertainment business. I was at Comedy Central, producing for them for a long time, and then found my way into some ad agencies. So worked with a lot of big brands, including Shopify, to help them launch their own media houses and develop their own original content.
Back in the day, when everyone wanted to have their own media houses, like Red Bull, Samsung, and Shopify, I helped develop content strategies and produced pieces for them on various platforms, from SEO blogs to social media.
I then started in a big company like Audible, owned by Amazon, and kickstarted their strategy. We started some new programs and interesting partnerships to get the younger generation interested in the audiobook platform, and you can see the results.
Then I found my way to Flowcode, the first US-based QR code maker. Here we focused a lot on TV, general QR marketing, and the data that could come from it. After which, I joined Plobal Apps.
2. Is content marketing very different across industries like B2B and B2C or services and software? How do you approach it, irrespective of the industry?
Today, everything needs an inbound strategy as outbound doesn’t work since it is not measurable. If you're a marketer, it's tough to throw large amounts of dollars at things without being able to quantify them and make sure it's working.
So you need an inbound strategy for both B2B and B2C, but I think they're very different when it comes to the actual tactics and creative pieces. B2B is account-based marketing where you know your narrow niches and the people you're generally going after. And B2C is more spray and pray where there is a large audience, and you're discovering, testing, and figuring out new categories you can open up.
Your messaging in both is very different because when you're talking to specific brands in B2B, you're speaking to them in a language they understand and on a one-to-one basis. Whereas in B2C, it's more of traditional storytelling. You say how the customer’s life is improved when they have your product. So B2B and B2C marketing is more different than the same.
3. Content marketing changed from being just an item ticked off a checklist and has become more of a strategic investment point for many companies. You must have witnessed that change in your vast experience of work. Tell us more about it.
Seven or eight years ago, you hired an SEO consultant because no one knew what that meant. And now, anyone can spend two hours online and get a certificate in SEO, and every marketer should know how to do it.
People are taking content marketing more seriously. There's a new divide: the marketing team, the content team, and the ad buying team. So where content used to be blogs, now it's about overall messaging and strategy of communicating problems and fixing them. Content marketers now need to be a jack of all trades; you need to know how to build a website and simultaneously shoot and edit a customer testimonial.
4. With so much content overload and customized content needed everywhere, it boils down to how the teams are structured. Like with Pepper Content, we understood that content can be remote and can also do all the great stuff it needs to. What's your story when you are leading and building content teams? How do you look at it?
I'm a big fan of Pepper Content. I haven't worked directly with you, but it's been on my checklist because everything is getting automated, and technology is changing.
Now, you want fewer in-house people and more specific experts in different fields. Content has changed, and it's not just about SEO or blogs but more about customer retention, making sure you have help materials and new ways to use the product.
You need to structure your team in a way that has the flexibility to work with external partners who are very good at what they do. The landscape is evolving to agencies and companies that can support marketing teams and content teams.
But internally, the way I structure things is to have an expert. If you inherit a team, you find the things that people are interested in and good at, and you let them lead those teams and guide them along the way. But if I am structuring a new team, I always like to think about where the pain points are in the company. Someone interested in the product or who's got a tight connection with that could be good for retention marketing.
Audible, one of the companies I worked for, is great at this because they use social media for retention marketing. Their comms were like here's a new release coming out, did you know that you could use this tool, you could set a timer so that in case you fall asleep it won't just keep running your book all night? So they figured out how to find a group of people that are super interested in the product and turned them into retention marketers across all the videos.
But if you're a one-person army, like most tech startups, you just hire good companies that know what they're doing and can work across all the different marketing funnel stages. So, for example, Pepper Content could help you with discovery content and how-to articles.
5. What's your tech stack right now? What tools do you play along with?
We're in the process of transitioning over to Google Analytics 4, and I think their data is great for content marketing because you can properly attribute engagement on your own channels other than social and see how far people are scrolling and how long they're spending on areas and where people are clicking.
It's heat tracking combined with Google Analytics. So that's fantastic, and I encourage every single content marketer to use it and build it up to be a very strategic data platform.
We also mess around with jasper.ai, an AI content writing tool that lets you quickly churn test content and social copy. We test different social planning calendars. Web Flow for websites is great because it has a super easy drag and drop. Semrush is great, too, and more digestible for teams.
We also use Notion; it's one platform that everyone can have everything on. So it's all synced together, whether it's help docs, content calendars, meeting notes, etc. It's a very good tool because everyone in the company can access anything.
6. What advice will you give someone just starting in this industry?
If you're getting started, you need a specialty. You need to have a point of view, and you need to be an expert in something eventually.
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