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Content Marketing. Content Strategy. Content Management. Who would have thought these terms would be so utilized in marketing meetings. Content is nothing new – companies have always labored over creating appropriate, memorable and effective marketing collateral. The paradigm shift today; however, is that content marketing is paramount to the successful deployment of all elements of marketing and branding – on diverse platforms, including websites, social media, blogs and more.

Content marketing today is about brand storytelling. According to the Content Management Institute, consumers have shut down to the traditional world of marketing. Prospective clients want to see consistently creative, relevant and valuable content conveyed on diverse platforms with the intention of explaining, changing or enhancing ongoing processes, beliefs or practices. Content marketing is the art of communicating on multiple levels with clients and prospective clients while, at the same time, solidifying a company’s position as a true thought leader in their industry.

In short, if content was always king…it is now a conqueror, expanding its domination into new territories and schools of thought. Content marketing is being utilized today by some of the most well-known marketing organizations in the world – Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Red Bull, McDonalds, Kraft Foods Group, XEROX, General Electric and many more. These leaders of industry are also content powerhouses - creating inspiring, notable content that leverages social media with precision as it brands each as undeniable experts in their fields. These marketing and branding greats use print, digital and social to share research, education, trends, methodologies, expertise and even entertaining stories. It is a painstaking exercise – content marketing. It is also not just for the big boys (and girls) of industry.

How can your company become a content marketing superstar in 2014?

  • Hire A Brand Journalist. A brand journalist understands the most effective ways to communicate with a targeted audience, crafting original content that is entertaining, informative, educational and timely. The focus of the brand journalist is to put journalism into branding, giving personality, voice and flavor to a company’s marketing campaigns by producing compelling, entertaining and authoritative content that appeals to diverse audiences across multiple platforms.
  • Leverage Your Expertise. Create unique content to tell your company’s expertise in customer testimonials, case studies, original articles, press releases, social media posts, robust blogging outlets and more. Get recognized as a ‘thought leader’ in your industry by sharing your content across multiple platforms – frequently.
  • Guest Blog. Contributing original content of substance to targeted, well-defined online media and educational resources will solidify your business as a true expert in its field. Guest blogging gives a boost to a company’s reputation and outreach – supporting all branding efforts as it drives attention your business, its services and its ability to forecast critical trends.

Recently, the Custom Content Council and ContentWise released its 14th survey on the content marketing industry. In this year’s study, 37 percent of the total marketing budget went to content marketing – for a total average of $1.8 million per brand. One key finding was that outsourcing dropped from 56 percent in 2012 to 40 percent in 2013, meaning that more brands are bringing their content marketing production inside the organization. While not every business can hire a brand journalist and allocate resources to becoming a publishing powerhouse, there are creative consulting firms and marketing agencies that support this drive heroically.

According to the B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends survey published by the Content Management Institute, 93 percent of B2B marketers are using content marketing. To be effective in marketing today, businesses must be content creators with a content marketing strategy solidly in place to drive and enhance traditional marketing and lead generation campaigns. The moral of the content marketing story: In 2014, publish or perish.