Not another Content Marketing prediction for 2018

Whilst at this time of the year, the industry likes to bombard us with their endless lists of New Year predictions for 2018, we believe it is more appropriate to remain focused on the basic principles of Content Marketing. It is easy to get lost and distracted among the jargon that surrounds the industry and seemingly pushes marketers well beyond their understanding and capabilities.

While Content Marketers might get wowed by the unlimited opportunities that artificial intelligence (AI) may bring to CM, the sharing of ‘valuable’ information with your target audience – which forms the basic principle of Content Marketing – should remain your core focus throughout 2018.

We stumble across many (potential) clients here in Asia that still struggle with the concept of product versus content marketing and are only now starting to adjust their marketing activities. The industry standards and expectation for the year ahead in Asia should not be driven by the global hotshots of Content Marketing such as RedBull and AMEX.

In Asia, with Content Marketing a little less mature, expectations should be more should be more in-line with some of the regional players such as Singtel and/or DBS. This in combination with the vast complexities and diversities of the Asian markets requires regional marketers to address their Content Marketing expectations and realign their efforts in order to obtain measurable results that are in line with a predefined and well documented strategy.

However to dampen one’s expectations does not mean to forgo them. On the contrary, all marketers should define clear goals and objectives for 2018, but let’s keep in mind the seven main principles of setting out your expectations:

  1. Make them clear for yourself and your team
  2. Know where you need to meet your expectations
  3. Understand why
  4. Meet and discuss how you get there
  5. Make them mutual
  6. Write them down
  7. Obtain agreement and commitment for a strategy and plan

A lack of clearly understood expectation is the main source of much strife in relationships, the cause of most conflicts, and the beginning of poor organizational performance. In order to set achievable expectations, make sure to know where you are (this could vary by market and/or segment) and what capacity you, your team and your organization have to reach these.

In many Asian organisations there is also a disconnect between the expectations set by the Marketing teams and their superiors. Although the marketing teams understand the principles of Content Marketing and the infrastructure required to implement effectively, they need to ensure top management buy-in and understanding before embarking on a full-scale execution. Finding the right balance of what the marketing team is able to deliver and what management will buy-into remains the largest obstacle to effective implementation of both Strategy and Execution.

So what should be your Content Marketing expectation for 2018?

IDEATION – in a world where everyone can create content, the main differentiator revolves around the theme(s) of your content. Is the content you create original, does it provide a direction, does it speak to your identified audience, does it have a point of view and does it offer a valuable outcome/solution?

The majority of content developed does not address any of these issues and simply provides a hearsay amplifier of ‘old news’. If you want to stand-out, reach an audience and ensure engagement – make sure your content is unique and sets or challenges the benchmark of your industry.

In 2018 – be bold, be daring, be relevant and set the lead.