What matters in content marketing strategy in 2021?

Content operations and customer data are going to be critical for content marketing strategy in 2021 for tech marketers, says Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor, CMI.

Marketers the worldover have spent much time in 2020 struggling for an answer to “what now,” after a year of a crippling pandemic and try to predict the new normal future. “Stop waiting for the new normal—we’re already in it,” said Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor, CMI, in a report recently released by the Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and IDG, titled “Technology Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends”.

“No one really knows what will happen. What we do know is that developing direct relationships with consumers will increasingly depend on great digital experiences. So, we can start planning with a self- assessment of our content marketing plan,” he said.

His two main points of advice for content marketers are:

  1. Content Marketing Is Cool—But Content Operations Make It Work. Rose said that in early 2021 we’re already seeing a trend wherein many technology businesses begin to “in-source” many elements of content creation, production, and management, particularly within large companies. This is fueling a broader evolution in building a more creative and media-fluent service to the overall business. “As content marketers, it’s not enough to just understand how to create blogs, infographics, or other media assets,” he said. “We need to understand how content operations work at scale. That means understanding technology, governance, and how to structure content so that it can be reused, repackaged, and leveraged across silos. It won’t be long before your business starts looking hard at how to make content more efficient—and measurable at scale. Content marketers who have skill sets and knowledge beyond just creating powerful content will be ready to evolve and lead that charge.”
  2. Get Your Audience Data Plan Together: Since “building credibility and trust” is a huge goal for content marketing now, marketers will customer data in order to know where and how to be trustworthy. But the catch is that as marketers, you’ll need to be trustworthy in order to get the data. “If that sounds like a Catch-22, it is,” he says. “But delivering value to audiences before they become customers is the way out of it. If you’re looking for measurability, there will be no other foundational element as important as connecting your content marketing experiences and being able to have a 360-degree view into the audience you are engaging. This includes, of course, the data that customers willingly, trustingly, and emotionally give to you as part of that program. This is what Forrester calls “Zero Party Data.” We just call it building an audience.”