‘Content shock’, ‘content overkill’, ‘content overload’ – they’re all terms being thrown around as some brands realise the work they’re doing on their content marketing is showing little results.
Despite the promise of content marketing being a saviour for businesses with any size budget and an appetite for audience, brands are learning the hard way that there’s more to the story than answering questions and creating clickbait if they want to succeed.
An article in the Australian Financial Review titled ‘Brand-produced content facing overkill’ brought my attention to it recently. I clicked on it, not because I thought my industry, business and job might be in the running for extinction, but because I wanted to know if there was any new information or opinions that had been added to the obvious state of the industry.
In the article, CEO of NewsCred (an enterprise content marketing platform), Shafqat Islam, said that the sheer mass of run-of-the-mill content and what he calls “crappy content” has reached its limit.
He’s not wrong.
Brands are feeling the pinch of that one already, and even dedicated publications like Buzzfeed and Vice who have relied on clickbait to fuel pageviews and in turn advertising are seeing a decline in growth as they miss revenue targets and lay off staff to scale down.
Saying that, ‘brand-produced content facing overkill’ is way too broad a statement.
It’s 2019. Every question that’s going to get typed into Google has already been answered (potentially tens of thousands of time) by people, and brands.
And the number of brands and new media companies like Buzzfeed and even The Betoota Advocate (of whom we’re huge fans) who have cashed in on clickbait has almost hit its max.
The time has come where brands need to rethink. Run-of-the-mill simply will not do.
In the article with the AFR, Shafqat goes on to say that despite the phenomenon of ‘content overkill’, he’s ultimately upbeat on the outlook for brand-produced content if the sector resists producing “content for content’s sake”.
What he’s talking about is brands’ belief that content strategy is a cookie cutter solution to a business’s marketing problems.
It’s really not. Just like all other forms of marketing, it takes strategy, it takes creativity, and it takes time and effort to execute.
Brands trying to lure audiences on to their website with SEO content and clickbait have lost touch of what content marketing is all about. Not clicks (although most SEO agencies will tell you otherwise), but the customer.
True content marketing is audience-focused, value-adding gold that delivers all sorts of marketing results throughout the customer journey – from brand awareness to conversion.
The website blog, the email publication, the podcast series, they’re all still extremely effective ways to build and retain an audience in an owned environment – brands just need to consider what it is their audience truly wants.
The race to quality (read different, creative, strategic) is real, and the brands willing to consider what will resonate with their audience will win.