‘Content is king’. The phrase has been so overused it’s taken on cheesy cliché status in marketing circles. But if it is so obvious and ‘old hat’, why is it still not being put into practice by so many brands and businesses? If content is royalty, marketing gold, the cream of the crop, then why is it so often invited to the party as an after-thought?
Why do so few organisations have a content strategy? Why are new websites built and new printed materials commissioned without any input from a content expert or, in most cases, with no thought as to what the content will be at all until it is too late? Why are so many blogs, news sections and social media channels left redundant when the one person in the organisation whose job it was to manage them leaves? Why isn’t high quality, unique, ‘owned’ content a must for any brand looking for a competitive edge? Why isn’t content on the agenda at board meetings? Why isn’t content planning as important as any other type of business planning? Why isn’t content creation seen as a highly skilled art that needs specialist expertise? Why is there still such a big emphasis on ‘old school’ marketing and sales techniques that aren’t cost effective or future fit? And why is content marketing still misunderstood, under-utilised and under-valued when it comes to allocating budgets?
If all this questioning makes me sound exasperated, it’s because I am!
Content marketing – “The art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling… the belief that if we deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they reward us with their business and loyalty” (Content Marketing Institute) – is by no means new, but itis arguably more important than ever. With Google’s latest developments spurring everyone on to make their website mobile responsive, so many are yet again falling into the trap of putting design and build before content. Now is the perfect time to change that.
Want to stay ‘front of mind’ with your audiences online and off to build a loyal base of repeat customers? Before you think about what channels you are going to reach them through and what you want those channels to look like, take a step back. Who is responsible for the ongoing creation of high quality, useful and engaging content? Who is going to make sure that your brand/business is on the agenda for all the right reasons? Who is going to oversee and proactively manage all of your communications channels so that they are consistent and work to build credibility and trust? Who has the skills to showcase your expertise in a non-salesy but inspiring way that will make target customers not only want to engage with and buy from you, but also recommend you to others? Who is going to make sure that your content stands out above all the ‘noise’ as something that is so valuable it can’t be ignored? If the answer is: “Well, errrm, John was going to write some stuff in his ‘spare time’” then you might as well give up now.