It’s Time to Get Smarter about Content Strategy
By now I’m sure most of you have heard Bill Gates’s famous phrase “Content is King” scattered around everywhere. It’s a trend that has hit marketing hard and caused businesses to pour more and more resources into content production and distribution.
But why exactly has the importance of content marketing grown and continues to do so?
There are three key drivers for this:
- Online advertising has become more expensive
- Consumers have an insatiable need for fresh content
- Companies need to produce higher quality content to compete with each other
Let’s unpack those a bit.
Content is the defense for online advertising and advertising in general. The prices for advertising online have soared and it’s become a more competitive space. It’s impossible for marketers to simply pay for their customers’ attention now, or at least not for an outrageous price.
Meanwhile the number of channels for customers to engage with your business have multiplied. And with that the number of opportunities a customer has to interact with your brand has exploded.
But in order for that customer to take that opportunity to engage with your company, the content needs to be fresh and valuable to them.
And as if that wasn’t enough to convince you to support content resources, your competition is desperately trying to compete for the same attention. Apparently in order to win at the content game, you need to be producing 5.7 blog articles a week on average, ideally translate your content for a range of languages, and simultaneously focus on audio and video-based content.
So How Have Companies Responded?
As you can see, from all angles, the pressure is mounting as companies make the shift to producing not only more content, but also content of a higher quality, and make the most of their ad spending.
Which is why some businesses have decided to invest heavily in their in-house marketing teams – both for content production and advertising. Red Bull Media was one of the first to do so, with followers like Pepsico, Mondelez, Walmart, Unilever, Booking.com and more.
Is In-House the Future?
The benefits of growing in-house teams seems to have paid off for most. Unilever reports this strategy is around 30% cheaper than external agencies. Marketing Week claims that for Booking.com running a lot of marketing using in-house teams makes sense because of the volume of online ads it needs to create.
Aside from the added pressure for more, the lurking distrust for agencies may be another contributing factor for this trend. According to a report from the Association of National Advertisers, there are certain “non-transparent practices”, including “cash rebates”, carried out by agencies.
The Brand is Key
Given the greater efficiency, reduced costs, and the issue of non-transparent agency spending, moving the majority of your marketing in-house makes sense logistically.
But even from a brand point of view it can have its benefits. Afterall, brand is all about that consistent storyline between you and your audience, and who can be closer to your audience than the team working to attract them every single day?
Your audience needs to choose your content over other forms of entertainment. It’s an incredibly difficult challenge, but it roots from an understanding of what your niche is and how to engage those interested best.
So How Do You Actually Do That?
There are two ways to go about it. Obviously the resources a large company has differ hugely from those of a small company or startup.
For Larger Companies:
To maximize your chance of grabbing your audience’s attention, pursue all channels. Use an in-house team to drive the artistic and creative side of content. Meanwhile carefully monitor which channels perform well and adjust your budget accordingly
For Smaller Companies:
Find your niche. Get started with one channel or tactic and make it the best it can be. Concentrate your resources on a webinar series, a blog or a podcast. Start small and once you see results and growth, you can begin to experiment with other channels. There is no room for low quality content any more.