Predictions 2011 part 1: Content is STILL King

Content has always been a key ingredient for me, so it made me smile somewhat to see so many people talk about it as a growth area in Digital Marketing next year, as if it is something new!

Years ago, content was important for websites (portals in particular) purely because the right content brought users, and the more users you could get, the more advertisers you could get.  A lot of the commercial deals I did 10 years ago involved a share in the ad revenue with the content suppliers (based on clicks and page impressions), as we recognised the fact that content needed to be created by specialists and it was worth paying for.  This approach, however, was not adopted by a vast majority of corporate or brand websites, who would usually stick to the basic product and business information.

However, content should now be a key factor in any marketing strategy, as getting it right can not only mean bringing more people to you (Search Engine Optimisation), it can also mean ENGAGEMENT with you and your brand. More importantly, where and how you choose to create this content, can have a real impact on the results. It’s getting far more interesting, as there is so much more you can do to make a difference!

2011 is likely to see more people realising this and adopting a content strategy which is based on a real understanding of who they are ‘targeting’. Speaking about things which they know will be of interest, and making sure this content is available in the right format and in the right places, is of growing importance. It’s not just about words and a few stock photography pictures anymore – video content, apps, podcasts and thought-out relevant imagery is much more valuable if done right.

Seeking out the right people, including online influencers in the shape of master bloggers and established groups, is also key. Go to where they are and join in the existing conversations (but make sure you say the right things and know what you are talking about or you could do more harm than good! ). Spread your content around!

So, how does this work in practice? Here’s a great example:

The Japanese Tourist Board wanted to get more Australians to their Ski resorts, so they decided to create the ‘right’ content – in this case a cool ski game/app – that the people they were aiming at would really love. They then made sure that they promoted this content in all the relevant places online, where Aussie Ski-lovers already hung out. Note: not just a website which talks about how great skiing is in Japan and the merits of visiting there for your next powder-fix, with the hope that some Search Engine Optimisation will help to get people there, and that they will be bothered to read it!  Truly targeted content, pushed out to the right places, shouting their message instead of whispering it behind a wall! Something which really excites people and is much more likely to have a higher ROI in the long run.