Thought Leadership
  • Content marketing

7 reasons why brands are still hesitant to invest in content marketing

Gary McCarthy
30th June 2017

Throughout my day I speak with many existing and potential clients about the potential of great content marketing. Time and time again I encounter the same reasons why marketers and brands are still not convinced.

Here are seven of the reasons brands are still hesitant about content marketing and why great strategy and content can ease their concerns.

1. Content clutter

‘There is too much content in our space - we won’t get breakthrough.’

I 100% agree—there is an enormous amount of content deployed online every day. However, so much of it is so badly created that there is still the opportunity to achieve ‘breakthrough’.

In order to achieve breakthrough, though, you or your brand need the right strategy for content creation. Too many brands think the key objective is to get value for money by creating as many posts as possible, as cheaply as possible—compromising on quality. This doesn’t work! Quality is much more important than quantity.

Defining your brand values and having a clear understanding of your audience's needs and passions will allow you to produce great content that will achieve cut-through. It allows you to produce content that is useful, valuable and builds conversations with your target audience.

2. Too many brands are still campaign-focused

Traditional media such as TV or print is not the awareness-generating powerhouse it once was. Broadcast is very much playing second, or even third, fiddle to on-demand viewing today.

Content marketing has a major impact on consumer decision-making, with buyers consuming content everywhere from social media to comparison shopping websites, to video and social posts. And they do it when THEY want—not when it is put in front of them.

There is undoubtedly still a place for traditional media. Incorporating content marketing into your full marketing mix will help drive engagement with consumers. Your strategy and objectives will define whether it should lead or support campaign executions.

3. Giving up control

Many brands have big legal departments, who are extremely restrictive in terms of what the brands can and cannot say. I appreciate this: no marketer wants to risk signing off on something which will harm the brand (and potentially their jobs), or cause a PR disaster.

Co-creation of content is key, and in order to co-create you need to delegate a certain level of responsibility and control to those creating the content. Take, for example, a strategy that works with influencers. The best way forward is to first select the right influencer for your brand. A common mistake brands make is to then provide the influencer with too strong a guidance on what to write.  Instead, brands should trust their chosen influencers on their expertise, and their knowledge of their audience and followers. Give them a little creative freedom in how to write about the product.

4. Who’s paying?

One thing I find on a day-to-day basis is confusion over who pays for content marketing. Is it the marketing budget or the digital budget? Maybe even the media budget? Content marketing needs to be considered in a brand’s full marketing mix and allocated a separate budget from marketing, media, digital and in-store. This allows you to control and plan activity to help achieve objectives and produce effective content in line with your strategy.

5. ROI

The question on everyone’s lips, and probably the biggest blocker for any brand signing up to content marketing is: ‘What will the ROI be?’. While it’s impossible to guarantee a direct improvement in sales (and I am not sure anyone can 100% say that about any marketing), I can say this:

Publishing content in various relevant locations to your target audience will expose more people to your brand—and in a more cost-efficient way than traditional media approaches.

Providing valuable and quality content will establish you as a credible resource in consumers’ purchasing decision-making processes, putting you front of mind when it’s time to make a purchasing decision.

People who consume your content and see its value are likely to stay on your site longer and visit more frequently, and this can increase conversion rates.

6. Identifying KPIs

When brands write a brief, they seem to focus on measuring what I like to call the ‘vanity metrics’: likes, comments, shares, retweets. These metrics look great on paper, but in all honesty don’t tell you much.

The KPIs should be defined by what the business objective is. For example, if you have a great conversion rate on your site but traffic to the site is low, create content to boost traffic levels. And be sure to identify the relevant KPI to measure the effectiveness of your content.

As an agency we are always happy to work with brands on defining a brief and identifying the measurable KPIs for their content.

7. Organisational structure

Many big brands are creating content in-house that often falls short of their expectations. This is usually due to teams not focusing on the bigger picture, or lacking the expertise required.

Creating the right content requires  the right  team and the right attitude. Teams should live and breathe the brand’s content strategy, and understand the tone of voice and overall goals.

The team is responsible for ensuring every piece published will achieve brand objectives. When putting a team together, look for creative minds in possession of a solid understanding of editorial best practices in order to be efficient with budgets.

Many big brands are creating content in-house that often falls short of their expectations. This is usually due to not focusing on the bigger picture - but focusing on individual goals - or not having the expertise at hand. In order to have a meaningful business impact and overcome the issues of points 1 to 6, the right team needs to be established.

To sum it up...

Implement the correct content strategy and you’re likely to see an uplift in consumer engagement and ultimately conversion.

Content has a role to play in every part of the consumer buying experience. It’s part of a long-term strategy to get audiences to buy into your values and what you’re offering. It nurtures leads and, once converted, can retain consumers and lead to future opportunities.

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