Branded Content vs Content Brand
In general, no, I think that the majority of companies will be better served by a content strategy that exists primarily to serve their brand?s overall digital marketing objectives, rather than try to turn their content into its own business.
Certainly, there are some great examples of brands who do content marketing so well that their content machine has evolved far beyond the original objective into its own significant stream of revenue (Red Bull and Coca Cola come to mind), but this is far from the norm and takes a level of resources and commitment that most businesses simply don?t have or don?t wish to commit. Typically, monetization of content is one of the last phases of the content marketing roadmap and not one that most businesses can (or should) reach, and that?s ok.
Your favourite content generation/marketing tools
Great question. Call it efficiency or laziness (hopefully the former), but I?m obsessed with finding tools to help make my marketing life more efficient and effective.
However, given that we all have different needs, budgets and levels of knowledge, I strongly believe that there is no such thing as a perfect, one-size-fits-all tool (believe me, I?ve looked). I recommend focusing on the problem you?re looking to solve, researching applicable tools, then putting together a shortlist to test before committing.
Also, during your research process, always remember that reviews, case studies, testimonials and endorsements are great for helping to narrow the list, but are never a substitute for hands-on use.
#1 Social media channel for content marketing
As with tools, I don?t believe in one-size-fits-all channels. It all depends on where your audience likes to spend their time.
I have noticed some broad trends, such as that B2B companies tend to do well on business-focused networks like LinkedIn and SlideShare and B2C tends to see value from more casual networks like Facebook and Pinterest, but I?ve also seen enough exceptions to these trends that I recommend all businesses test and see what works.
Also, it should be noted that social media is just one piece of a successful content marketing strategy. Prospects who turn into customers aren?t spending all of their time in one place online, and neither should you (or your content).
Long detailed vs short snackable content
Both have a place, and work better for different audiences at different times in the sales cycle. I think a healthy content marketing strategy includes a mix of both short and long form content.
For businesses who have been creating content for a reasonable length of time, I highly recommend performing an audit to see in empirical terms how the length of your content correlates with key objectives (traffic, bounce rate, social shares, links, goal conversions, etc.). Having done that for clients in a broad range of industries, I have found that there is no consistent formula for success. Your company and target audience are unique, so the only way to find what works best is to test, analyze and optimize.
The future of the Content-SEO pair
Tighter integration. We have a saying around the office: ?If digital marketing is a sandwich, SEO is the mayonnaise. It enhances everything it touches, but is pretty disgusting on its own.?