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According to one study, 93% of B2B marketers and 90% of B2C marketers used content marketing in 2013. With more marketers now producing content, how do you stand out from the crowd?

For your content to effectively attract new customers, it has to be of high quality. But, perhaps more importantly, content has to be useful. That's why the key to content-marketing success is listening: When you have a deep understanding of your customers, you're more likely to produce blog posts, ebooks, videos and other content that resonate with both potential and current customers. Engaging your customers frequently in a community setting builds this relationship while also providing rich learning about their behaviors, attitudes, perceptions and motivations, which can in turn help inform your content-marketing strategies.

Here are three articles that reveal what it takes to win in content marketing today.

  1. Consider your audience.

[At Content Marketing World, Kevin] Spacey said marketers must recognize just how much audiences have changed. The sheer variety of devices, platforms, and channels is transforming consumer expectations, which, in turn, impacts marketing and media landscapes.

"The audience doesn't care about the platform--they care about the content, he said. "The audience wants control, the freedom to binge. I believe we should give [them] what [they] want." - Mark Jones,

Tweet this!"The audience doesn't care about the platform - they care about the content" - @KevinSpacey on content marketing. (CLICK TO TWEET)

  1. Speak the language of your customers.

The next step is to clean up your language. That means getting back in touch with normal-speak -- the kind you used before you were a marketer, when people came up with ideas instead of ideating. Listen to yourself. Read your writing out loud. Read it to a friend, your kid, your favorite aunt. If they don't get it, change it.

Then do the same for your clients.

Warren Buffett gets it. In his preface to the Security and Exchange Commission's "A Plain English Handbook," he gives this "unoriginal but useful" (his words, not mine) advice:

"Write with a specific person in mind. When writing Berkshire Hathaway's annual report, I pretend that I'm talking to my sisters. I have no trouble picturing them: Though highly intelligent, they are not experts in accounting or finance." - Anelia Varela, Ad Age

Tweet this!When producing content, marketers need to get back to "normal speak." (CLICK TO TWEET)

  1. Hire an editor.

To deliver the kind of content that can truly advance a brand, marketing teams need to hire editors who have the time to really dig into each piece of content they produce, and the mandate to create content that serves the reader as well as the business. That means hiring people with the experience to edit contributions from anywhere in your organization (or outside of it) - even if that means going toe-to-toe with a CEO whose sentences don't hang together. That means your editors need the authority to make significant changes or even kill selected contributions, but shouldn't be swamped with managerial duties that crowd out the detailed and intensive revision process - editors need the bandwidth to actually work through each and every piece of branded content you produce so that it is as good as the best unbranded content.

The companies that make this kind of investment in editorial capacity will be most successful in translating their content marketing aspirations into a daily reality of producing excellent content. Content marketing is now a central part of marketing strategy. But it won't work for readers or for brands unless our content achieves a high and consistent level of quality. It's time for corporate marketers to recognize what media outlets have long known: if you want quality content, you need quality editors. - Alexandra Samuel, Harvard Business Review

Tweet this!Every content marketer needs an editor. (CLICK TO TWEET)

How do you approach content marketing in your company? Let us know in the comments.

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