Reflecting on 4 Years of Content Marketing: #RepCapBday

RepCapBday 2015This week, Rep Cap, the content marketing agency that was just a dream for me in 2011, turns four. Our team is completely decentralized — we all work from home around the country — so to celebrate our fourth birthday, we got together in Rep Cap’s “hometown,” Baton Rouge, for three days of content marketing talk over coffee and cava.

Rep Cap at 4

Turning four has been an interesting milestone. We’re still growing rapidly, but I no longer think of us as a startup. We have defined, well-tested processes that help us write client blog posts, design new ad campaigns and turn white papers into lead-generating machines. After four years, we’re really good at getting things done. When we got together this month, we didn’t need to spend time fine-tuning processes. Instead, we spent our time thinking about more creative plans.

Have you read Jay Acunzo’s recent article, Content Marketers: Are You a Cook or a Chef? Our team has been inspired by his analogy. Anyone can follow a recipe — and sometimes it’s very helpful to follow a tested set of instructions. But content marketing needs chefs, too — innovators who write the recipes and test new things to find out what works. We’re making a resolution to think like chefs, and push each other to innovate and test.

How Content Marketing Has Grown Up

The Rep Cap team celebrating #RepCapBday in Baton Rouge

Over the past four years, as Rep Cap has grown up, content marketing has grown up, too. It’s now the norm for most companies to have a blog, social media profiles, an email marketing strategy and some kind of lead-gen process. We’ve been working with several of our B2B clients for four years now. If they’re publishing blog posts twice a week, that’s 400 blog posts they’ve shared with the world.

It’s one thing to create a content strategy for a company that’s just starting to blog. But once you’re 400 posts deep, your plan should look a little different. You’ve already created, essentially, a canon of work. How do you keep coming up with new topics that will be interesting and fresh for your audience? And how do you repurpose the content you’ve already created to make sure it’s still working for you and helping you meet your goals?

Those are the questions we asked this week, and we’re excited to test some of our new ideas over the next few weeks and into 2016.

Trends We’ll See in 2016

Based on our work supporting marketers at B2B technology, financial services and professional services companies, here’s what I predict we’ll see in 2016:

Quality Over Quantity

“SEO” as a practice has changed a lot over the past four years. Most marketers now

understand that publishing low-quality, “filler” blog posts just for the sake of clicking “publish” doesn’t do much to improve SEO — not to mention provide value for the reader. As content marketing grows up, and companies rethink how content plays into their bigger marketing and business strategies, I think we’ll see companies investing in high-value, high-impact content.

Visual Appeal

People respond to visuals. Images and videos continue to be an extremely important (but in my experience under-resourced) element of any successful content marketing campaign. We’ve had big success experimenting with affordable, interesting new image sources (including our favorite stock image site, Stocksy — which one Rep Cap team member has started calling “hipster stock.”)

Smarter Marketing Automation

This one is more of a hope than a prediction. Marketers, can we all make an agreement to stop sending spammy drip email campaigns? If someone downloads your ebook, congrats! You have a lead — a chance to help someone. That person merits a personal, helpful email from you. Maybe two emails. You have the chance to offer that person your ideas and expertise. Give them something they’ll appreciate: a link to a relevant blog post, a case study about their industry, a recent infographic you found useful. But please, don’t send them an automated series of 40 emails nagging them for a meeting. Let’s get smarter about when, how and why we email our newfound leads.
Thanks to all of our clients, partners and friends for helping Rep Cap get to 4. Here’s to a great 2016!

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