During the course of 2012, we have witnessed a visible uplift in the adoption of content marketing as more and more companies move to incorporate it into their core marketing strategies and tactics. However, the findings of a recent survey conducted by Outbrain and Econsultancy indicates that despite the growing interest in content marketing, only 38% of in-house marketers and a mere 13% of agencies have a defined content marketing strategy. In comparison, a whopping 90% of marketers across the board believe that content marketing will become more important in the next 12 months. So, what is holding them back from taking the next bold step?
Our survey says… we need the right people
A lack of dedicated human resources was the most popular reason given by brands to explain this glaring incongruity, as less than half of companies (46%) claim to have individuals dedicated to content marketing. Another popular stance coming from agencies is that there is a lack of both understanding and available content creation skills. Hence, for those brands wishing to get their approach right, there is a desire to not only focus on content creation and tactics, but also put in place individuals who understand content in the digital age, are trained in executing and measuring content marketing plans, and have a flair for storytelling.
Money, money, money…
“Lack of investment is a major barrier to content marketing,” says James Carson, Head of Digital Marketing at Bauer Media. “Things like picture and production budgets can be missed, and the road ends with text heavy blog posts and social media updates.”
Our results show that only 34% of brands have a dedicated budget for content marketing, which all too often is lumped in with other aspects of digital marketing such as SEO or PR and not given the dedicated resource or focus it deserves.
Visit our YouTube channel to view the full presentation of the Outbrain and Econsultancy survey results.
Transcending the barriers
Everyday your audience, you, me, we are bombarded with messages from some 10 million brands that exist worldwide. Add to this the power of social media and the speed at which today’s news becomes ‘old news’ is phenomenal. For example, Twitter hosts about 200 million tweets per day. Therefore you must question whether the few tweets about your brand, posted in isolation, are likely to have caught the eye of your audience at a time when they are in a position to absorb them?
Engagement requires consistency and patience and you must understand what content is going to capture the imaginations of your target audience and keep it fresh and relevant to your brand.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson Mandela
If we assume that your content is relevant, authentic and interesting you also have to make sure that the value of engaging with it for your reader is greater than what is sacrificed – their time. In other words, your content must be there ready to be consumed when your audience happens to be in content consumption mode.
There is no question that content marketing is increasingly adding value to brands and agencies. It is therefore important to invest in resources, find people who can speak the same ‘language’ as your target audience and understand the art of storytelling and finally take time to measure the ROI of this emerging discipline.
When approached with intelligence, content marketing allows marketers to advertise in a way that’s native to the site and with people who are ready to actively engage with their brand and content, resulting in a far greater ROI than many widely employed routes to market.
The infographic below shows a visualisation of state of content marketing, the barriers companies are facing and tips on how to create an effective content marketing strategy.