Blog | 20 July 2013

Content marketing: the answer isn’t always more

More is good? We do, it is fair to say, have a bit of an obsession with growth. It is arguably one of the key tenets of capitalist society that ‘more is good’.

Image by Pol Winandy – CG Artist

Whether that be GDP and company profits at the business end of the spectrum, personal wealth somewhere in the middle, or a collection of books right at the other. Now, this writer doesn’t wish to debate the semantics of finite resources or the morality of wealth at this juncture, but suffice to say it does shine a number of uncomfortable lights upon the world of marketing.

The one area I wanted to challenge is the notion that more is good. ‘More’, is becoming a problem, and no less than in reference to a current trend, content marketing. Content is something that has been around since before the pharaohs but appears to be the new panacea for marketing success. Creating more and more of it seems to be the order of the day.

The reasoning for this is broadly: more products, more choice, more channels, more opportunities to see, hear and touch, but finite time to do so. The consumer wants it when, how and where they wish. So as the canvas for the message and consumers themselves become an ever moving feast the only thing that remains constant is the message. So the message, the engagement factor, its manifestations and how they are distributed become all important.

I get the reasoning. Aside from the fact I am the scribe, it makes a lot of sense. To be honest, it probably always did, but in today’s climate even more so.  Indeed a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute found that 55% of B2C marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2013. What I do want to do though is issue a word of warning.

The deluge of crap content

If everyone produces more content, for more channels, for more scenarios, it means two things:

  1. Everyone will become a ‘content’ expert. How many suppliers have become suddenly adept at the art of ‘story-telling’?
  2. There will be a downpour of rubbish content as a result.

The first is as predictable as the second is inevitable.

So, what to do? Content is here to stay. It’s always been around, we just haven’t given it due attention. Time to do so. Place a value on it. Your content is a manifestation of your brand.

It’s your voice, your values, your feelings, your imagery, your words. It is business critical. So in an environment where the half-life of content value is decreasing exponentially due to the aforementioned deluge, it needs focus and it needs the right skills.

It is way too important to give to people without this.

Alex Marks
Alex Marks
Strategy Consultant

Alex supports the strategic development of River's business and acts as an experienced marketing partner for our client teams. He is a regular commentator, writer and conference speaker on a wide variety of digital,  marketing,  and content strategy issues.