Content conversation with Virginia Sharma - Director - Marketing Solutions LinkedIn, India

Q How do you see brands using Content Marketing in the next 1 year? 
A Content Marketing is now becoming a core element of the marketing mix as marketers, especially in B2B, see content marketing as a much more efficient way to generate leads. I see two big shifts this year.
While a year ago, marketers would focus on reach and cost per click, we now meet more marketers who are looking at business relevant metrics such as lead conversion and cost per lead. This is because, while digital metrics are able to help marketers optimise their campaigns, these metrics don't help them have a meaningful discussion about marketing’s impact on the business with their internal stakeholders
Marketers are looking for alternatives to search engine marketing, as over 50% of their budgets now go there. Relevant keywords are becoming unaffordable. They are now looking at native advertising and branded sponsored content as a viable alternative to park budgets, in order to reach relevant audiences with multiple pieces of content along the buying journey. This will put increasing pressure on the agency ecosystem to reskill their SEO/SEM teams and add content marketing skills to effectively respond to their clients

Q One advice you would like to give to anyone starting content marketing?
A As is so often the case, budget is always an issue. More specifically, content production is always a big challenge – how do you feed the content beast that demands ever-increasing volumes of content that is fast and cheap and high production value? Not easy! My advice for brands facing this challenge is to consider all the content sources available to them – they may have more than they realise if they do a thorough content audit, and they can leverage UGC and other existing content (e.g. licensed content). You don’t have to create everything from scratch and indeed you may not want to, even if you could.

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