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The Smarts

Content marketing evolves… again

In comparison to five years ago, the Australian content marketing industry has become more competitive than ever. There’s been a surge of larger advertising agencies creating content teams; increasingly, brands are forming in-house content divisions and the number of content agencies has grown rapidly.

While the market opportunities are limited in contrast to Europe and the US, and competition is red hot, the fact that there are more players than ever before is a positive sign this style of marketing is clearly in demand.

Digital marketing has evolved markedly over this period – no longer is it just about the creation and distribution of content assets on paid, owned and earned channels.

It’s increasingly about creating and retaining an engaged audience, and as digital platforms continue to vary their offer, such as Facebook’s recent algorithm update, audience is more of a commodity to brands than ever before.

Another seismic shift that has occurred in the marketing landscape is that brands must compete for attention with their audience’s friends and family, which means they need to deliver the kind of content that is going to interest someone as much as an update from a close friend.

In fact, one of the most significant findings in the Content Marketing in Australia: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends 2018 report, was the increased percentage of Australian content marketers who have become more focused on building an audience (85%) compared to the previous year at 69%.

Of course, building these audiences can only be done through creating credible, quality content that they will be intrigued to click on and learn more. Interestingly, in the same survey, 55% of marketers said they outsource content creation including writing, design and video production.

Having worked client-side previously, I know the challenges of trying to build an engaged audience, especially one that is your target group who will be interested in your products and services.

While creating your subscriber base is often the goal, understanding their mindset – their issues, attitudes and challenges – can be a labyrinth to unravel. Gone are the days when demographic groups such as Millennials were an accurate target group.

In our B2B space, the audience can traverse all age groups and demographic characteristics, but it’s understanding their defining feature as business owners, startups and members of  Australia’s entrepreneurial community that makes the difference.

For those brands trying to reach this disparate audience, it can be testing at best.

Whether it’s B2B or B2C, the importance of knowing your audience is critical. Appreciating what motivates them and what challenges they face, means you’ll create content with the right messages, on their preferred channels at a time they’ll be more likely to see or hear it.

For brands to flourish and not be seen as annoying in this digital age, audience preferences need to be treated with utmost respect. Creating content in the hope that we can simply ‘buy’ their attention rather than responding to their needs just won’t cut it.

This article was originally published on SmartCompany