As CEO of SevenC3 – the UK arm of Europe’s biggest content marketing agency, C3 – Sean King is ideally placed to assess the role content is playing in business strategy.
“There is no doubt that B2B content marketing is now firmly on the boardroom agenda,” he says. “Boards are under more pressure than ever before to connect with their audiences. And it needs to be a real connection – something that shows they understand clients’ challenges and can provide a solution. Content marketing is uniquely placed to do that.” He says the ability to identify what’s really important to audiences, and to deliver it ‘when they want it, where they want it’, is making it more appealing than ever.
“Of course, with more investment comes more scrutiny on results and RoI,” adds King. “Lots of businesses are producing lots of content, and there is a lot of data to tell us where audiences are and how they engage with it. So we have to find a way to deliver content that performs – whether that means creating an emotional connection, pushing people through the sales funnel or acquiring new customers.
“To do that, content has to cut through the noise. We believe that’s about creating content that is valuable, useful and delivers something audiences can’t get elsewhere. That’s why we've always put a strong focus on strong journalistic principles and why we have a dedicated B2B content division. It’s also why we are increasingly calling on real-time analytics to test and adapt our content.”
The global challenge
King believes this new landscape is also creating other challenges. He says delivering content at scale – across every channel within the ecosystem and with coordinated implementation around the world – is a pain point for many organisations.
“Content has to become truly global,” he says. “That sounds obvious, but in the past many organisations were working with different agencies in different countries, creating the same content many times for different local audiences. Now, they want to build it once and have a strategy that allows them to optimise it for different markets and roll it out seamlessly. That requires a strategic plan and a strong distribution model.”
As a result of this challenge, C3 has been working to establish a network of agencies around the world that can work together to create and deliver global content marketing strategies.
A partnership with US-based MXM – which King describes as “bringing together the biggest agencies from Europe and the US to create a global powerhouse” – is now in place, as are agreements with Australia’s Edge Custom Media, EME in Latin America and Plot, which operates in Portugal and Spain. King adds: “Real international execution is about creating content that is at one level truly relevant to all regions, while at another level aware of local culture and social fabric – all of which needs to be done in a cost-effective way.
“We feel that a network, set up to transcreate and translate content for different regions, is the key to doing that successfully. As B2B content marketing is going global, we need to be globally connected to deliver it.
“That way, we can ensure clients are getting the results they need within the budgets they have.”