Content marketing is all the rage, and brands of all shapes and sizes are focusing more time, effort and budget dollars on creating entertaining, useful and relevant content that audiences will want to share. Some brands, however, still stand at the water’s edge, not so sure an always-on commitment to social media and content creation is right for them.
Even the most successful marketing efforts have their detractors and doubters, who hold tight to the traditional methods: interruption and overexposure of their brands. They cling to the past and continue to invest in telemarketing, direct mail and pricey television spots and billboards. Even the London Olympics, which were praised as the most tech-savvy and social-media-supported games ever, were heavily supplemented (or, rather, dominated) by traditional advertising.
While those methods have their place, it’s about time we set the record straight and started to challenge those who insist that content marketing isn’t yet an established brand communication strategy.
Here are some of the reasons brands are abstaining from content and why they’re on the wrong side of history.
1. We don’t have the budget
A common misconception is that content marketing is something layered, or added, on top of the marketing efforts that are already happening, so bigger budgets are required. Instead, content marketing will actually save you money by moving dollars away from big-ticket paid media toward far more cost-effective content efforts as part of a paid-, owned- and earned-media strategy. Content marketing fuels the earned portion of that strategy: helping bridge the gap between paid media (ads you pay for, like TV spots) and earned media (people actually talking about your brand). Achieving earned-media success can create new customers at little or no cost to you.
2. There are too many channels for us to manage
You’re right. There are a lot of channels (we outline a bunch of them in our intro to social media e-book), and every day a handful of new ones pop up. There’s no rule, however, that says your brand has to be active on every social and content channel. Instead, focus simply on creating custom content and being active on the channels that are relevant to your audience. There are content-marketing agencies (notably Story) that can help your brand act like a publisher.
3. You can’t measure content marketing
I could take a card out of Gary Vaynerchuk’s deck and ask naysayers to measure the ROI of their mothers (which I do appreciate as a metaphor), but we’re at a point now in the evolution of technology where content marketing can be measured effectively and held accountable for meeting certain goals. Not only are there countless social-media and content-publishing tools that optimize and track where, when and how your content spreads, but there are also easy-to-learn manual methods for tracking your content efforts with the use of free tools, like Google Analytics and Bit.ly.
4. That’s for B2C brands; we’re B2B
So as a B2B company, when you call to talk to a prospect or customer, you’re talking to a human being, right? Those are the same people who make up the C in B2C. Of course, there are fundamental differences between B2C and B2B marketing, but ultimately all marketing boils down to connecting to people—and people don’t want a generic sales pitch. Nobody wants to be interrupted or held hostage by advertising. They want to be engaged. They want useful content that addresses their needs. They want to hear a compelling story at the time they choose on the device they choose.
Regardless of the reasons brands come up with not to do it, there’s no disputing the impact of branded content marketing. According to Forrester, branded content is a key driver of brand differentiation and influence for 43 percent of U.S. consumers. Brands that refuse to listen to the needs of consumers (less interruption, more value) are going to see their marketing effectiveness continue to deteriorate.
If your brand isn’t producing any content, why not? If you’re a content-marketing agency, what other reasons have you heard for not doing so? Let us know in the comments.