It’s that time of year again – the time when everyone is busy working out their 2016 content marketing budgets, raising the inevitable questions of how to do it best. With 64% of marketers increasing their budgets next year according to CMI’s report, content is becoming more relevant than ever. 

Brand advocates

As the influence of social media continues to grow, shaping a brand’s DNA faster than many can Tweet, recruitment processes in those same companies has become more rigorous than ever with multiple interviews and tests now being standard. With both employee and employer showing such high levels of commitment to seal the deal of that dream job, brand passion has already been proven by the new candidate. Why not encourage them to become brand advocates? You are already paying them for the privilege.

Tip: Fully honour the bond with your new recruit and empower them to talk about your brand through their own blog posts and tweets. The fresh meat in your organisation should be trusted to adhere to company guidelines and drive the message of your brand in an honest and innovative way. IBM has successfully achieved this with more than a thousand employees taking part in a program, giving them six pieces of content every day they can choose to share or not share with their followers. Late last year the company launched a business-to-business appeal called #NewWayToWork, which accrued 120 million digital impressions and drove 141,000 clicks to campaign content thanks largely to employee sharing. 

Trust in your agency

In 1984, the average client-agency relationship lasted 7.2 years, according to ISBA. The advertising body says today, that figure has dwindled to less than three years. With less scope for long-term strategic thinking it is more important than ever to build a strong partnership with your agency. In this new era of brands taking content in-house and publishers offering more content solutions direct to brands, it’s easy to dismiss the agency’s role in this equation. But as Anna Watkins of content division Guardian Labs said at NewsCred’s event: “To cut out the agencies would be suicide. We work symbiotically with agencies to produce work with the best reach.”

Tip:  To build a powerful bond, all lines of communication must be open and honest. You are in for a very complex and inter-connected relationship and you need to do everything possible to make your agency see that they are working with you, not for you. Approaching your agency as just another vendor hinders the collaboration and disrupts the synergy. Create an environment of friendship and teamwork to get the best out of them.

Be brave, live in the now, and seize micro-moments

As mobile grows to become an ever influential platform in 2016 the game is no longer about buying reach and volume through creative campaigns. The new world of engagement is measured by the ability to reach people in the moment, with the right content or message. 

With connected UK consumers already looking at their phones on average 1,500 times each week, spending 177 minutes on their phone each day, what brands should really be focusing on is not just how to capture their audience, but when.

Tip: The key to making the most of micro-moments is to be there, be useful and be quick. Your first step should be to understand what micro-moments are happening where you could possibly be present and using data to find out what may drive your audience to these. This could be seizing an opportunity created by a unique moment on social media where your brand has an opportunity to answer questions or provide commentary. 

The recent online buzz created around Back to the Future Day on October 21, the date when Marty McFly arrived in the future in 1989’s “Back to the Future” sequel, offered some great examples of brands jumping on a micro-moment to win customers’ hearts. Paddy Power used the date to push their laddish humour, putting words about the blockbuster into the mouths of football figures, quickly gaining more than 500 retweets. Be brave, reach out and engage in real-time.