This Week in Content: December 18, 2015

Each Friday, we share a ‘This Week in Content’ column, bringing you the most popular news, advice and how-to content marketing columns from around the web. This week…

Why Content Strategy Isn’t Enough

By Mackenzie Fogelson on Moz

What does your brand stand for? Does it have a larger purpose or embrace principles beyond wild growth and crazy profits? Many companies (especially in the tech industry) have adopted the largely unrealistic Silicon Valley business model of exponential growth like that realized by Google, Snapchat, et al., and in their singular pursuit of growth at all costs, they are actually sabotaging their long-term viability and fostering a disconnect with their customers.

This disconnect is reflected by content that fails to address the needs and desires of their audience or communicate a transcendent brand message, as well as by the pervasive “more is better” marketing mentality of flooding digital channels with content rather than forging meaningful relationships with customers. And while companies have started to get the message that content quality trumps quantity, many still view content strategy as a means to achieve higher search rankings rather than as a way to authentically build consumer trust and brand loyalty. Creating a seamless, cross-channel customer experience backed by quality goods and genuine engagement at all touchpoints will prevail over quick-wins driven mediocrity. Read how several brands are doing it right at Moz.

How Content Marketers Can Tell Better Stories with Data

By Alexandra Samuel on Harvard Business Review

As more content marketers have begun to use data in their storytelling, best practices are quickly taking shape for both discovering and sharing brand stories.

To find your data-driven story, start with an overarching idea as expressed by an ideal headline or tweet: those discoveries that you hope the data you collect will yield. While this rarely works out so neatly, it does help in figuring out what data would prove most relevant to your audience and in providing a focal point for your research. Intrinsic to the data collection process is recognizing your bias, which is a good thing in as much as it gives shape to your story — as long as it doesn’t amount to cherry-picking. When deciding upon the content, look for patterns (or lack thereof) and surprises that will make your story more compelling. For the actual telling of your story, you’ll want to structure it so that it is as clear and captivating as possible. Keys to accomplishing this are six factors, from choosing the right format to making recommendations. Learn more at Havard Business Review.

Five Social Trends Marketers Won’t Be Able to Ignore in 2016

By Victor Pineiro on Advertising Age

For social and digital marketers, 2016 will be an adapt-or-die year as seismic shifts in the way people use social networks and consume the media on them – coupled with changes to the major social networks themselves — will force marketers to make equally dramatic changes if they are to survive.

Going into 2016, five deciding social trends that marketers cannot afford to ignore are: messaging platforms upstaging broadcast social networks; Snapchat’s continued decline as a cost-effective organic social channel and rise as “the new TV”; ad blocking effectively eclipsing display ads altogether, squeezing digital marketers onto social networks; in turn, social networks’ intensified policing of their respective borders, essentially becoming self-contained, closed marketing ecosystems; and finally, the social video marketing space becoming more congested and complicated, requiring brands to tailor each video produced to each platform’s specs. Find out more about 2016’s five critical social trends at Advertising Age.

How to Decide If You Should Go Wide or Deep with Your Content

By Jon Nastor on Copyblogger

Whatever type of content you produce, you need to know the business goals attached to it if you are to maximize the return on the time and resources you’ve invested in marketing it. Each piece of content can be categorized as wide or deep, and in turn, each category can be assigned one specific goal: wide content to attract new audience members, and deep content to strengthen your relationship with existing ones.

As its name implies, wide content is broad in scope, casting a wide net to fill the top of your funnel. Wide content lends itself well to repurposing as podcasts and infographics. Deep content builds upon wide content, moving visitors further along the tunnel. Prime formats and tools for this type of content include email and perhaps counter-intuitively, social media – especially Twitter-owned Periscope. Blab is another recommended tool.

While an effective content marketing strategy uses both types of content, a single piece of content shouldn’t be slated to achieve both goals – although there can be, and often is, some overlap as deep content may well attract new audience members. Discover more about how and when to leverage wide versus deep content at Copyblogger.

An Introduction to eCommerce Integrations for Social Media [Infographic]

By Matthew Zajechowski on Social Media Today

The dominant social media platforms haven’t been altogether successful in capturing ecommerce shopping spend…that is, until this year. Now it appears that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube have all started to turn the corner (finally!) with their respective integrations of new advertising and native shopping features.

Check out the details of the year’s social eCommerce initiatives in this comprehensive infographic by Slant Marketing:

Social Media Commerce Features Introduced in 2015

Image Credit: Slant Marketing

Did you spot or create an awesome content marketing resource this week? Share yours in the comments!