Content Marketing: the emperor’s new clothes?
Let us start by making a confession. We have a love-hate relationship to content marketing. The term bugs us because it is so all encompassing, vague and devoid of strategic emphasis. At the same time, we love the possibilities that exciting new digital tools and platforms are opening for the world’s storytellers. In a way, we are hooked too.
Ever since marketing guru Seth Godin proclaimed that: “content marketing is the only marketing left”, we have witnessed brands everywhere jumping on the content marketing bandwagon. Like it or not, it has become the buzzword of the year, with 56% of marketers allocating budgets to this area, according to recent studies.
Hello – I’m a content creator
But brands aren’t the only ones jumping on the bandwagon. Ad agencies, corporate magazine publishers and PR firms have all re-named themselves “content agencies.” Many are fighting over who should be in control of social and digital channels, now that the lines between PR and marketing are blurring. A former copywriter we know now calls himself a “content creator.” A filmmaker has now been reincarnated as a “videoblogger”. Indeed, anyone with a laptop and an iPhone or camera can be a publisher these days. So what the heck is going on here?
Industry transformation in full speed
What we are witnessing, of course, is the transformation of the communications industry, fueled by exciting and innovative new digital platforms. The barriers on storytelling are coming down. This is mainly good news. It means that anyone with a good story to tell can connect with a global audience – build their influence and grow their business. The old gatekeepers are less powerful. Good!
Avoiding content shock
The drawback in today’s digital, social, mobile world is that we are drowning in content. I call it “content shock.” Consider, for example, that Nestle publishes 1,500 pieces of content a day on its Facebook pages. Other brands are hiring unemployed journalists, photographers and others, turning them loose with a brief: “produce some cool stuff.” In this chaos, we can’t help asking ourselves: Where is the brand strategy? Where is the storytelling with a purpose? We miss the “why?”