Plotting your course in a vast ocean of content

Plotting your course in a vast ocean of content

Are you relying on the "viral-ity" of your content to generate your audiences? Are you relying on the amount of organic distribution you receive to drive the return in the investment you've made in that content? One in a million pieces of content may get 1,000,000 organic impressions or significant free distribution. Relying on a one in a million shot to make your campaign work does not make a particularly sound strategy.

If you're going to be a content marketer (and today, who isn't?) then don't forget to market your content. You need to market the content because the investment in content does not create value on its own. The company or advertiser receives value when people see, read and share that content.

I started thinking about this a couple of years ago and to be honest, I was beginning to get worried. Everywhere I looked the discussions were all about how content marketing was going to replace traditional advertising. Social media and person to person sharing promised free distribution to companies and advertisers. In a world like that, where is the role of the media agency?

For the past 30 years there have always been discussions about the need for, the role of and the future of media agencies. I hope that even the people who question their value, would acknowledge that media agencies contain people who think deeply about how to get a message in front of people in a way that will enable that message to influence people. How does that change, and is it necessary, in a world of organic views?

I think we can safely conclude that the (advertisers') utopia of free distribution and organic views is not upon us. Facebook and Google do not build audiences for people's content for nothing. Why should they? The content produced by advertisers is a single drop in the ocean of content, both professional and non-professional, being produced every day. People who complain about the lack of organic reach of posts on Facebook haven't done the math. Their content is getting its natural share of the attention available; it is merely one piece amongst all of the content produced by other people and other brands. If you want more than that you have to pay.

Without paid support and paid media, there are no views on brand produced content. Dove and their campaign for real beauty may be a poster child for content marketers everywhere but paid promotion of their content is a central part of their strategy to drive views and keep sharing rates high.

We now have an answer for the question of what is one of the roles of the media agency when employing content marketing? Content marketing is a critical tool for advertisers and we need people (agencies) who know how to market the content.

If we compare traditional advertising to the job of marketing content then we see that different tools, suppliers, placements ads and strategies are required. But, the skillsets, approach and mindsets required are the same.

Here are three things to have top of mind when marketing content:

1. The right description, tagging and image to support your content are critical to help drive scale.
2. You've probably heard of Outbrain but are you also looking at Taboola, Gravity and Content.ad?
3. Are you looking at that direct traffic source in your analytics to try and identify "dark social" referrals?

In the content marketing world one of the jobs of a media agency is to build audiences for content at scale by investing money in the right places at the right time. Does that sound familiar to anyone?

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Saturday, 24 August 2019

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