When you see or hear the terms "content marketing" or "branded content," does a fixed idea spring to mind? And if so, are you certain that fixed idea is the same as a colleague's or a competitor's?
What are we really talking about when we talk about content marketing?
You can debate these questions for days. Better to think in the binary terms of Google's algorithm—there's relevant, useful content that shows up high in Google searches, and there's content that doesn't show up at the top of searches. Creating useful, relevant content that shows up in Google searches is the day-to-day goal for Buddy Scalera, SVP of content strategy & media for Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide. Scalera, who'll be speaking at PR News' June 18 Content Marketing Boot Camp in New York City, discusses content strategy and audience reception of content in the following Q&A.
PR News: What’s your first response to a PR professional who says, “Content marketing? I don’t have the resources. Where’s the content supposed to come from?”
Buddy Scalera: A smart content strategy can actually save you time and money. When you have a plan for amortizing content across channels, you create less content, but you make it more accessible across different channels. You need to learn how to maximize your efforts so you get a higher ROI on your content. You have to create the right content, not necessarily a greater volume of content.
PR News: What changes have you seen in the degree to which audiences are receptive to branded content in the last year or so?
Scalera: People are receptive to companies providing branded content, as long as it’s appropriate and transparent. Companies should explain the how's and why's of their brand, so people can determine if it’s the product or service they want and need. If it’s an important purchase, then yes, people want more information. Honest, factual information.
That hasn’t changed much, but what has changed is the way people discover this information. Google’s evolving algorithms are designed to drive searchers to the right information, so good, relevant content is rising to the top of search results. If people don’t like the content Google delivers, then Google is putting different results on top.
PR News: What’s the best way to ensure that your content programs connect with business objectives?
Scalera: I wouldn’t say there’s any single best way. It’s a holistic shift that requires a series of strategic and tactical alignments at all levels of the organization. Brands of all sizes need to stop talking “at” customers and start providing them with information. Not all brands can have a “conversation” either. Some brands just have to share their brand value using content tactics.
But in a business sense, you have to learn how to use data to determine the impact of your content. We have enough data to determine which specific tactics are driving business results. You just have to figure out how to analyze the data to get to the right insights.
PR News: What’s one tip you want to share with attendees at PR News’ June 18 Content Marketing Boot Camp?
Scalera: I’d suggest that attendees temporarily put their external lives on hold and really immerse themselves in the day. Sometimes you go to conferences and you see people trying to multitask with the office. The ideas and insights that you bring back from this event can dramatically change the way you serve your clients. Be part of the day. The rest of the world will be there when you get back to the office.
Buddy Scalera of Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide and Ben Shields, director of social media and marketing for ESPN, will speak on the panel "Show & Tell: Examples of Content Marketing That Works" at PR News' Content Marketing Boot Camp, which will be held June 18 at the Yale Club in New York City.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI