Breaking point for content marketing is now
He looks at the development of content marketing field, attitude of brands towards content marketing and shares his views on it's future.
Q: How has content marketing changed/evolved since you first started working in this field?
A: It has matured quite a bit. In the early days, the idea of content was to get as much as you could out, so that you could rank higher in search engines, and so that you could feed the new and developing social channels. But, as we've seen - more is definitely not better. Social media channels have evolved to become much more effective as paid media avenues than in trying to develop a community. The evolution has really focused efforts for those that are successful to developing high quality owned media properties.
Q: What was in your opinion the breaking point for content marketing?
A: I think we're going through it right now. With ad blocking becoming much more prevalent, and the social channels truly becoming impossible for brands to master without paying for access, and the increasing focus on data and privacy (especially in Europe with the GDPR) I think the need for brands to produce truly meaningful and valuable content across all channels is becoming an imperative.
Q: What would you say are the mistakes content marketers make that keep them from achieving wanted results?
A: There are two that are most common. The first is mistaking content marketing for a different kind of advertising. The business thinks that developing a brochure, but perhaps telling a customer story instead of describing the product features is content marketing. It's not. We have to create a consistent, an ongoing property that develops an engaged audience. The second is not committing to the longer term investment. Because many businesses still think of content marketing as a campaign - they run a program for two or three months - and when it doesn't drive the intended results, they think it's a failure.
Q: In your experience, do brands believe that content strategy will bring results or do they tend to be sceptical about it? Why?
A: There is a good and healthy dose of scepticism. The truth is most brands haven't really given themselves permission to be true content marketers. And, so without that permission - the brand operates in a "safe" marketing and advertising way - and creates bad content. We absolutely SHOULD ask ourselves the hard questions before we go forward with a plan.
Q: What are the biggest challenges content marketing is facing right now?
A: Measurement. This is a challenge for marketing more broadly - but truly we have to get better at applying good measurement practices to content marketing.
Q: In what way do you see content marketing evolving in the next couple of years and what is standing in the way of marketers reaching that point?
A: I think the evolution of Digital Advertising, Native Advertising, and Social will really help drive the business case for a strong, differentiated owned media strategy for brands. So, I'm very bullish on the future of content marketing as a strategic approach. I think the biggest thing standing in the way of marketers reaching that point - is truly evolving the practice of content marketing into an owned media strategy, rather than just an alternative form of sales and marketing collateral material. We, as marketers, have to get out of our own way and start thinking like storytellers, rather than just acting like them.