OK, maybe you won’t really need tissues, but this headline was definitely inspired by Andy Hollandbeck’s poignant post on Upworthy, “that site that publishes those headlines.” Thanks for the idea Andy…you’ve created a monster. Now, let’s get back to the post.
According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 58 percent of B2B marketers and 68 percent of B2C marketers feel their content is not effective. That’s with 86 percent of B2C and 93 percent of B2B marketers reporting they use content marketing. That’s a lot of dying content marketing campaigns.
Another report from Econsultancy suggests that only 38 percent of companies even have a content marketing strategy. CMI also reports that 28 percent of B2C and 30 percent of B2B marketing budgets are spent on content marketing. There’s a lot of money being spent on something that, admittedly, isn’t effective for most of these brands.
That’s what motivated the sensational headline you see above. There’s a lot of failure happening in content marketing and seemingly not a lot of solutions to address the problem.
What she didn’t do…that most do
So, what is the problem? If you poke around the blogosphere you’ll likely see content marketing problems debated with quantity and/or quality at the core. In other words, if your content marketing sucks, you’re probably not producing enough of it and/or its quality stinks.
It’s this way of thinking that’s driving companies to spend more and more on content marketing. CMI’s own studies show that most companies are increasing their budgets for content – a likely pursuit of higher quality and an increase in publication frequency.
The reason most marketers believe their content isn’t effective has little to do with quality and/or quantity. Great content goes unread everyday on the Internet. Most believe their ineffectiveness is a content problem. In actuality, however, it’s an audience problem.
What she did…and you should, too
The rate of online content creation and publishing is growing at enormous rates. The number of eyeballs available to read and consume this content is increasing, too. But content publishing is far outpacing the rate at which Internet connectivity is growing. This means that it’s getting harder and harder for brands to be heard in the deluge of content being published every second.
As mentioned above, this is an audience problem, not a content problem. Producing more or better content will just add to the noise. Consumers visit trusted websites on a regular basis to digest the content that’s relevant to them – and you probably do the same in your own lives. Those websites likely have robust and developed audiences already. Most of the brands that believe their content isn’t effective do not.
Once content marketers realize this, more of them will likely try to figure out ways to get their content featured, covered and cited by those trusted websites with large audiences. Paid and earned media in the form of media and influencer outreach, native advertising and advertorials are the routes by which content marketers can get their content in front of the large audiences they seek.
Ryan Skinner of Forrester says, “Brands can actually step down content production and step up distribution to get better results.” He continues, “Better distribution improves content’s quality, as the feedback cycle accelerates.”
So rather than spending all of a content marketing budget on content creation and measurement, a large chunk of it should be invested in paid and earned media channels. This is how brands can break through the noise and make their content much more effective. It’s these tactics, coupled with the owned media production already happening, that come together to form a converged content marketing strategy.
If after reading this you need a tissue, it’s OK. I won’t tell anyone.
For help getting your content distribution efforts off the ground start with this cheat sheet.