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Der Kessler spricht – Content Marketing Resolutions 2013

Let’s face it: our content marketing guru Doug Kessler (aka Der Kessler) knows his stuff. Not only did the two-week abstinence during the Kessler-break drive me nuts (no, you are not alone), but it also made me learn one significant thing: Life in the content marketing world is not worth living without a regular piece of advice from Doug aka Der Kessler.

So, i decided that 2013 will be the Kessler year (origin: German – Das Kessler Jahr). Every month I’ll ask him a bunch of questions about topics that move (or not) the content marketing world.

In January that can only mean one thing – The Content Marketing Resolutions.

Doug 'Der Kessler'

Doug ‘Der Kessler’, what do your Content Marketing Resolutions look like for 2013? And how is it going so far?

 

As a content marketer
Work harder to make content that’s really useful to fellow B2B marketers.
Provoke without chasing controversy.
Differentiate without descending into stupid-land.
Up the production rate without sacrificing quality.
Keep trying new things. New ways to tell stories. New media. New tactics.
Do more testing and actively capture the learning.

For the Velocity business
Attract the very best people in the content marketing game. Clients will follow.
Help them learn fast and do great things.
Gracefully separate from clients we can’t do great work for.
Grow fast but not so fast that fun, serve or quality go out the window.

Yikes. That’s a hell of a list.

 

If the sky were the limit, what three things would you like to do this year?

In a way, the sky IS the limit.  But if time and money were not an issue at all, I’d love to do these three things:

A B2B content marketing event in London.  Maybe just a few dozen people who are working in content marketing and helping develop the discipline. Could be fun.

A beautiful print piece.  There’s a new gap opening up for great print pieces. Nobody’s doing it any more.

A sexy, scrolly, interactive, responsive web ‘experience’ that tells a story.  Not just a website that holds stuff.

 

We all want to achieve great things but there’s just so much we can do. Based on your experience, what Content Marketing Resolutions are likely bound to fail? Or in other words, what shouldn’t I promise to my boss?

A lot of people start with goals like producing a video a month or an infographic a week.  Unless you can really commit resources, this kind of thing tends to hit the buffers. And you won’t commit the resources without clear goals and a strategy that demands the video or infographic series or whatever.  So why not start with the goals and strategy before arbitrarily deciding that a video a month is the target?

For Velocity’s own content marketing, it’s really important to keep the fun in the process. Without it, the whole thing becomes a chore and a burden.  So I prefer to have a clear set of goals and a sweet spot for our themes and topics — then just leave it to everyone to follow their interests and try new things. That’s led to some fantastic content.

For clients it tends to be more disciplined, but the principle still applies: keep the fun in and you’re more likely to make great content and deliver with consistency too.

 

What are the most useful Content Marketing Resolutions you found this year so far? What are the most useless?

I can buy into any resolution that aims at higher quality rather than just quantity.  As the tidal wave of content marketing rises and rises, then crashes down on all of us, quality will float.  Mediocre stuff will sink.

On the flip side, any resolutions based on ego metrics like followers and likes tend to divert attention from the thing that really matters: conversations that make your stock as an influencer rise and that lead to revenue.

 

Let’s put our fortune teller hat on for a second. For B2B marketers, what will be big in 2013? Why?

It looks like 2013 is the year of the Content Brand.  Last year was about content strategy. This year, we should all be focusing on creating and building great content brands that are as trusted and valued as our core product or service brands.

Marketers that get their content brands right will find it much easier to earn downloads and shares. Those that neglect their content brand will struggle to stand out from the junk.  We’ve got a new slideshare called “Crap” that’s all about this.

Other trends:
Consolidation in marketing automation
More sophisticated Content Analytics
The rise of the Chief Content Officer and in-house content team
The rise of sales & marketing operations as a discipline

 

What do you think is overrated as the “next big thing” for 2013 and why?

Every year for the last decade has been the year mobile hits B2B.  Then it isn’t.  Mobile is definitely growing in importance but I don’t see many B2B brands thinking ‘mobile first’ like many consumer brands must.  For us, mobile means mobile-friendly emails and websites plus the occasional mobile app when it makes sense (like at an event).  But I don’t think mobile will transform B2B this year. Do you?

There will be the usual wave of ‘new’ social platforms.  And maybe one will stick.

 

If you could give B2B Marketers who are planning for this year one piece of advice, what would it be?

Aim to create content that only you could create. And make it the definitive word on the topic.  That’s two things.

 

One last question, what are the things you wouldn’t want to change in 2013?

In the market. I’m glad content marketing has gone mainstream. I wouldn’t want to change that — though I am worried that the discipline may get commoditised as more and more brands turn to it. If the same bell curve of quality is applied to a new wave of content, the mediocre will give the good stuff a bad name.

I also hope the trend towards more fun, creative content in new media with some attitude and energy continues. White papers can be so dull.

In Velocity. I don’t want to sound too saccharine but I think we’ve assembled an A team for B2B content marketing (Luke is Mr T) and I’ want to keep that. Attracting the very best people turns out to be the secret to this agency game. And keeping the bastards happy.

If we’re as successful (and as lucky) in doing this in 2013 as we’ve been in the past, we’ve got a fantastic ride ahead.

 

That’s it for now with Der Kessler. If you have any additional questions, comments or suggestions for future topics, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

PS: My personal resolution for this year: post one ‘Der Kessler spricht’ interview per month. Fingers crossed.

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