In episode 52 of Brand Storytelling, we speak to Jonathan Crossfield – one of Australia’s leading content marketing experts. In the podcast we discussed the CMI’s latest report, and what the results mean for Australian marketers and content creators.
Learn what Jonathan had to say about what CMO’s should consider before spending a dollar on content marketing, how they can finance a content budget, and why content marketing ROI is so commonly misunderstood.
Be sure to look through the full Content Marketing In Australia 2016 report here.
Rakhal Ebeli: Let’s hone in on the Australian market for a while. As we know the CMI published a fantastic report regarding the benchmarks, some budgets and trends in Australia for the year ahead. I saw a piece on your blog actually, Jonathan that continues to look at the stand out implications for from this report the blog pace, I think was called, why content marketing ROY is actually back to front. Can you explain what you mean by this and what were the stats in the report that led you to think about it this way.
Jonathan : There’s been this regular discussion every year that the report has come out about how not enough marketers claim to have a documented content strategy. This has been an on going debate about the importance of having a documented strategy, documented goals and documented work laws and so that you can appropriately measure and optimize what it is you’re doing. What was interesting in this report was while Australia’s marketers claim the right of people who had said they have a documented strategy had gone up quite considerably I think. I think we’re more than the US now.
The other stats on the reports were the biggest challenge they were claiming or I think was the second biggest challenge they were claiming was being able to measure and prove the ROI. Now to me those are not mutually exclusive things. If you have a content strategy, being able to measure the ROI should be a natural extension of that because your content strategy should state what your goals are, it should state what the targets are, you go retrieve and therefore you know how you’re going to measure to get those.
You should know whether you content has failed or succeeded because if the strategy tells you, you see should that’s part of what the strategy is. Just to use a wartime analogy, it’s like you can’t say you’ve got a strategy because you’ve just sent your troops in one direction. You’ve actually got to know which area you’re trying to take and then you know whether your strategy succeeded, whether you took home or not the hill. This is exactly the same. The fact that so many people were saying that they had trouble measuring ROI or proving ROI rather. That’s an important word there, proving ROI and also of and conveying this to management versus the number of people who said “Yes but we actually do have a documented strategy”. Those 2 things really worried me that people don’t understand what the strategy really should be.
Rakhal Ebeli: You mention goals. Just to recap Australian content market is in your view should be measuring what exactly. Goals is very broad, could you narrow that down into some ROI?
Jonathan : Well, probably isn’t going to be the same goals for every strategy for obvious reasons otherwise it will be the same things. But for example if you look inside your business at what could possibly benefit from the use of content marketing. More of this are social, whatever it is you want to implement otherwise why are you doing it to start with. For example you know if we decided that we want to reduce the number of supporter quest that come through our phone call lines because obviously that’s a cost to our business in maintaining cost and so on, we can save times or we can reduce call time or whatever if we have lots of knowledge-based content that people can easily find and solve the answers for themselves that might be you know, that you’ve got a goal there which is you know we want to reduce the cost of telephone or email support.
Content Marketing or the content strategy of using content so people don’t feel a need to call because the answer is there is the way of trying to meet that. If you’ve decided to target about how much you want to achieve the call flow by, then that’s your goal and your target. I think there should always be that what problem are we trying to solve internally. Are we’re trying to reduce costs, are we trying to acquire more customers, are we trying to whatever it may be. It’s not always about sales of course. But in some ways it should be at least related to your bottom line whether in revenue or saving money or greater efficiency et cetera. Otherwise why would you replace what you’re already doing if it’s working. It’s got to be a better way of achieving whatever it is that your business needs to achieve.
Rakhal Ebeli: It’s a new year, or at least well, I couldn’t about 10% of the way through it, so if you haven’t got your budgets and your plans in place, this is a good one for you. What should see most marketers be looking to invest in within their content marketing this year, what do they need to consider before they get started? What would you say the real pillars for focus there?
Jonathan : To have pillars I think. I think the biggest challenge of the moment is standing out. Now that almost every brand you can mention has some form of content marketing. It’s no longer enough just to do content marketing. Your content marketing actually got to be really really good. I think therefore a better allocation of budget is to just spend a little time thinking what are the standout pillar pieces of content that we can produce this year that we know we will produce of a higher quality or of a more exclusive nature than anyone else to produce that no one else could do it in this particular way. With it showcases the expertise of your business in some way or uses a particular channel in a highly focused way. Then develop the budget to that a bit over the whole content, matters of content every day approach because that’s going to work for increasingly few brands.
I think it’s probably in far more effective if you say, “Well I’m having doing all of that which is a lot of work and a lot of resource”. Why don’t we just work out. What would be the 4 great eBooks that we could release at each point of the year that will reach our target audience and persuade them to do whatever we want them to do. Why don’t we just produce 2 or 3 fantastic videos and 5 blog post no one’s going to read every week. I think it’s working out what you guys already do well if there are particular channels that your brand has already worked out what to do that you do really well and doubling down on those, you know taking money away from areas that are less effective. Reallocating it to where it’s more effective and you may produce a lot less content this year but the goal is to actually make it far far more effective.