Digital footprints are everywhere, from our Facebook profiles and Twitter comments to the online reputations and customer communities that brands and businesses are now developing.
The transition to online of course has had a huge impact on all things marketing. Traditional practices such as print and TV advertising now compete with all the online messages from brands and businesses that assault us 24/7.
What's fascinating for those of us who work in marketing is not only the changes in the different activities themselves but also in the terminology that describes them. From mysterious sounding acronyms to the importance of the word 'community', the new marketing landscape now looks vastly different compared to five years ago, when TV advertising still ruled the airwaves.
It is also interesting to note how "all things digital" has gone up the marketing communications agenda for most businesses. Whereas before 'social media' was positioned next to the "AOB" part of the discussion, and seen rather suspiciously as "going into the unknown" by many businesses, now an online presence, from the website itself to updates on all the relevant social media platforms, is seen as crucial to any meaningful business success.
The importance of an online presence has been completely embraced by the business community. This has meant that now hundreds of thousands of businesses and organisations have shifted focus and started dedicating resources to generating content.
But the mistake that too many are making is that they are not considering the nature of this content sufficiently. It is not enough just to post anything. The content that will enhance a reputation and attract wide interest must be unique, well written and full of fresh new insights, along with, if possible, new industry research. Content should not consist of a series repurposed articles that have already appeared on multiple sites already and which have nothing to do with the vision and values of the organisation in question.
The digital footprint that most businesses generate is not only important in today's market but for the future too. The content plan of 2017 will inevitably still form part of the brand foot print in 10, 20, even 50 years time.
This is the compelling reason why most businesses should be putting their content strategy at the heart of their marketing planning process. Whether you define content as website copy, a blog or a video, everything within a marketing plan that represents a business or organisation online must consistently adhere to the company's agreed brand guidelines.
Perhaps us marketers will now be increasingly talking to our clients about marketing content strategies, as opposed to just marketing strategy? I hate to be accused of introducing yet another new bit of marketing jargon but, with the arrival of content at the epicentre of all marketing activity in 2017, there is an inevitability to this.
So...marketing content strategy, take a bow!