I’m hoarse and exhausted from a week of Content Marketing World energy. In addition to leading a workshop, delivering a keynote, and conducting a session for a speaker who couldn’t make it, I talked with people affiliated with two dozen or so brands. Over and over, the conversations I had came around to audiences.

Our research this year shows that one of the key differentiators of those who are succeeding with content as a strategic function of their marketing is the focus on building audiences. Some 90% of those who considered themselves “successful” cited their main focus as building an audience. This is a notable jump from last year’s 60%.

At the conference, I launched an audience valuation framework for measuring success with strategic content initiatives at any point in the customer’s journey. I see this is the next frontier for content strategy practitioners who have spent years focusing on the structure, flow, adaptability, and usability of content. While this skill is more needed than ever, the most valuable asset that marketers manage lies beyond the content.

It’s the subscribed audience itself.

Managing the asset called audience has a lot in common with managing the asset called content. Just look through our intelligent content lens, and imagine the parallels:

  • A strategic approach to developing the audience as a business asset.
  • An efficient use of people, processes, and technology to make use of the audience asset.
  • Efforts that help scale the use of the audience asset throughout the business.
  • Designing for automation, personalization. and including components that can be mixed and matched in assembly-line style.
  • A data-enriched asset that is appropriately structured for retrieval and reuse.

In other words, the opportunity for tomorrow’s content strategist lies in the role of audience strategist. People who take on this role will have strategies to pursue, technologies to implement, and standards to create and enforce – not with content but with subscribers. This leadership role will manage the data-enriched art and architecture of the subscriber audience. Perhaps we’ve always known, deep down, that this audience is our most valuable asset.





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