Content: put Strategy before Marketing

Content is a buzz word, no doubt about it. But maybe read this before starting to market it!

Photo of Koen Platteeuw
Wed, 2013-02-13 11:00By koen

According to a recent survey from the Content Marketing Institute, 54% of US B2B companies plan to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months. Further, 87% of companies use social media to promote their content, a 13% point increase compared to 2011. Surprisingly, only 49% of the respondents in the survey believed content marketing through social media was effective. Publishing regular content on their own corporate website, something 83% of the respondends confirmed they were doing, was only considered effective by 53%.

So the majority of B2B and B2C companies have a company website and a corporate blog which they update regularly, but apparently, their own marketing departments doubt the effectiveness of these efforts. Where does it go wrong? Maybe it's time to take a step back. The bespoke survey already contains a clue for me: The Content Marketing Institute asked marketeers what their biggest challenge for 2013 was going to be. 64 percent responded that producing "enough" content was their biggest worry.

As a content and media "animal" myself, this response is disappointing although not surprising. Take a look at this Google Trends chart for searches on Content Strategy versus Content Marketing since January 2007.

 

Clearly, content marketing is a growth area, while content strategy seems to be stabilised since early 2011. With the risk of generalisation, I believe we've seen a shift in the last year towards selling as much content as we can, to as many people as we can, through as many channels as we can (or even more than we can handle) but are forgetting about the fundamentals. Are we producing the right content? Why are we producing this content? Who are we adressing with it?

Luckily, other people in this field are moving in a different direction. CMS Wire summarised its 2013 content strategy recommendation to a simple "Do Less". The Content Marketing Institute followed up on its survey and called the 'more = better'-idea a fallacy. MediaShift defined the number 1 trend in 2013 as Quality Content will be King.

So my recommendation would be: put more thought in your content strategy before focusing on content marketing! If you want to know more about how to do this, maybe you want to check out our Content Strategy Section, and in particular its resource page.