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Four Content Strategy Tips from a Company that Just Hired 200 Content Marketers

Would you be surprised to hear that a major Fortune 100 company let go of 120 marketing folks just to hire 200 content marketers?

Last November, Cisco did just that.

In a post by content marketing technology and services company, Contently, Katrina Neal, Cisco’s head of content for its service provider segment in the UK, explained the move. She notes that Cisco’s new CMO, Karen Walker, has a “vision is to be a leader in real-time personal marketing communications.” Since, Neal continues, “As buyers’ journeys become more digital, marketing is becoming more integral.”

To make this happen, Cisco had to completely reinvent its marketing organization and put the focus on content.

In this same post Katrina shares some pretty interesting insights on how to strategize your content marketing team and develop your content marketing strategy. Here are some highlights:

The content marketer’s profile: content marketing is not just about writing. Nor is it just about counting clicks. It’s about both and so much more. Ultimately, the right person, according to Cisco is someone who embodies both “editorial skills and marketing fluency.”

When looking to work with a great content marketer – that individual should be, a wordsmith as well as have a deep understanding of marketing principles, CRO best practices, and a solid understanding of the business dynamics in your industry.

Establishing a voice in the market rests on two main pillars for Cisco – (a) leveraging subject matter experts within the company, and (b) finding writers and editors with distinct voices. A content marketing strategy should always aim to bring value through domain expertise, as well as be memorable and converting through differentiated content and style.

Owned vs. paid: Cisco’s aim is owned media, at an 80/20 pareto for its owned vs. paid strategy. While they do indeed have in their plan reaching new audiences through native advertising and programmatic distribution, Neal notes that “editorial integrity is key,” something which is enabled by the owned channels.

Measure content by engagement vs. bookings. In the past Cisco’s content was judged against booking goals (not even MQLs or SQLs!). Now, targets are also tied to engagement, considering metrics such as social media impressions and video views.

What do you think? What is your ideal profile for content marketers? What’s your owned/paid pareto? Let’s discuss and find the best approach for you and your marketing goals.

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