Content marketing is all the rage, and brands of all shapes and sizes are focusing more time, effort and dollars to create entertaining, useful and relevant content that audiences want to share.
Some brands, however, still stand at the water’s edge, not sure an always-on commitment to social media and content creation is right for them.
Even the most successful marketing efforts have detractors and doubters who hold tight to traditional methods. They cling to the past and continue to invest in telemarketing, direct mail, and pricey television spots and billboards.
Even the London Olympics, which people 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 content marketing isn’t an established brand communication strategy.
Here are some reasons brands abstain 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 current marketing efforts, so bigger budgets are required.
Content marketing will actually save you money by moving dollars away from big-ticket paid media toward more cost-effective content efforts that are part of a paid, owned and earned media strategy. Content marketing fuels the earned portion of that strategy. It helps 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, and every day a handful of new ones pop up. (We outline a bunch of them in our introduction to social media ebook.) There’s no rule, however, that says your brand has to be active on every social media and content channel.
Instead, simply focus on creating custom content and being active on the channels relevant to your audience. There are content marketing agencies 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 return on investment of their mothers (which I do appreciate as a metaphor), but we’re at a point in the evolution of technology where we can effectively measure content marketing and hold it accountable to meet certain goals.
Not only are there countless social media and content publishing tools that optimize and track when, where and how your content spreads, but there are easy-to-learn manual methods that track your efforts with free tools, like Google Analytics and Bit.ly.
4. “Content is for B2C brands. We’re B2B.”
When you call to talk to a prospect or customer as a B2B company, you talk to a human being, right? These are the same people who make up the “C” in B2C.
There are fundamental differences between B2C and B2B marketing, but all marketing ultimately boils down to connecting to people-and people don’t want a generic sales pitch.
Nobody wants you to interrupt them or hold them hostage with advertising. They want you to engage with them. They want useful content that addresses their needs. They want to hear a compelling story on a device and at a time they choose.
Regardless of the reasons brands come up with to avoid branded content marketing, there’s no disputing its impact. 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 will see their marketing effectiveness continue to deteriorate.
Why doesn’t your brand produce any content? If you’re a content marketing agency, what other reasons have brands given you for not creating content?
Jon Thomas is communications director for Story Worldwide. This article first appeared on Post-Advertising.