Content marketing was high on the agenda in this week’s Changing Advertising Summit hosted by the Guardian.

We know that it’s nothing new and that brands, companies and charities have been doing it for years.

But this week the great and good of marketing, advertising and digital (from both sides of the Atlantic) agreed that content marketing has become a discipline in its own right.

In fact the number of search queries for the term ‘content marketing’ has more than doubled in the past two years according to an Econsultancy survey

Here we pick out tips from the experts and give you 10 ideas on how create your own strategy for 2013:

1. Create a mission statement: 

Work out what your brand stands for. Prioritise and keep it simple. Create joined up thinking across your marketing/PR/advertising disciplines by pulling down the barriers. Pool your creative resources and minds.

For inspiration watch Content 2020 by Coca Cola. Here its award winning marketing team spell out how they are moving from creative excellence to content excellence.

2. Have a dedicated content marketer in your team:

Your brand needs real people, writers and editors dedicated to fulfilling your mission statement and telling your story. You need to be human and have a human face behind your brand.

Corporate speak is the death of companies and turns consumers off. Do not regurgitate press releases. At the Guardian’s summit this week Marian Salzman, CEO Havas PR North America, said:

Getting an agency to write tweets on your behalf is ridiculous. If you are not comfortable using Twitter you need someone from your own organisation to front and own it.

3. Tell or create your brand story:

OK, not all budgets stretch to match those like Bulmers cider’s recent “In the beginning was Bulmers” multichannel ads that tell the brand’s story of its creators and heritage.

Nor can many compete with the power of Nike’s budget when it shot the “Write the Future” video. But you get the idea. Find a human angle in your brand’s history and tell it. 

4. Become the leading expert in writing about your field: 

Ask yourself this question: what can my brand do for this customer that his or her friends can’t?

Your consumer engagement will soar by giving them information that enables them to make smart decisions, improves their lives and gives them value for money. You need to find your niche.  

As the creative director of Philips said this week at the Guardian’s summit, “your brand is what everyone else thinks it is”.

5. Collaborate, Co-create and Curate

The future is competitive collaboration. Take the Guardian site – 70% of its content is created by its users. Partnerships can make content even greater.

Collaborate with like minded businesses to pool creative resources. Curate and comment on existing content out there – helps you to build brand awareness and a voice. Crowd-source creative minds – use people from outside your organisation to help.

6. Be social by design

Create compelling content that is easy to share via social networks. Great content is only good when it is remembered and shared. Provoke a conversation.  

Create stories that are spreadable through Twitter/Facebook/Google+. You can reuse existing content by producing a video that people able to share socially. Video is the most social and compelling to watch.

7. React 24/7

Watch, listen and learn. Humanise the data you have collected. React to the conversations created about your brand on social media sites.  

Take O2’s CEO Ronan Dunne. Every evening he uses Twitter to walk the floor, to find out what’s being said and responds. He too allows his customer service team to tweet in their own voices – take the recent humorous exchange between a disgruntled customer and O2 team member.

It resulted in 810 retweets and was applauded as excellent customer service in the press.


8. Think mobile

More than 50% of UK population have a smart phone and feel it is an extension of themselves. In the iPhone5 promo video Apple’s Jony Ive, Senior VP, Design says the phone is something you have with you all the time, calling it a “unique relationship”.

This new generation of phones feels like having the world in our pocket. You need to reach people there. 

9. Be visual

The best performing content on Twitter is photos. Mashable says its visual graphics generate the highest level of engagement.  

The Guardian video has more than 6m users per month. There are many ways you can do this such as Google+ hangouts and YouTube video streams.

10. Measure: 

You are what you measure. And these days you don’t need an expensive agency to do it for you. There are companies that allow your marketing team/agency to do it themselves from as little as £99 per month and without technical knowledge.