"Content Is King," is the phrase we've heard everywhere for the last five to seven years. (Though the dictum is 18 years old, first coined by Bill Gates back in 1996.)
But if content is king, why is content marketing not working for so many businesses? Wouldn't the methodical, practiced dissemination of "content" - one definition you might give to "content marketing" - be an obvious homerun with marketing departments of all shape and size? You would think.
A Whole Lot of Talk. Not A Lot of Action.
While many marketers talk a big game in content marketing... many are failing miserably. I'd like to share with you with a brand new infographic from Axonn Media about the current and future state of content marketing in 2015. I found the reports in this infographic very disheartening, as I've briefly summarized below. (I'd be very interested to hear your reaction to the data in the comments section below.)
Content Marketing Is Not Working for Most Marketers
- 58% of marketers believe the effectiveness of their use of content marketing is neutral, not very effective, or not at all effective.
- 51% of marketers have a content strategy and admit to not documenting it.
- 60% of marketers rate their ROI as neutral or unsuccessful.
- 51% of marketers say they are challenged by the task of producing engaging content.
You get the idea. See the infographic below for more insights.
The truly surprising part is that despite these failures, uncertainties, and "neutral" to "bad" results, content marketers essentially plan to do the exact same thing in 2015 that they did in 2014! (A commonly cited definition for insanity - "repeating behavior while expecting different results" - comes to mind.)
Look at the bottom of the infographic to see the minuscule shifts in projected behavior:
- 1% increase in blogging
- 3% decrease in video
- 4% decrease in infographics
Why Will Content Marketers Repeat Their Failures In 2015?
That's the question this infographic put in my head a few days ago. I think I have an answer...
In short, too many people who shouldn't be marketers have been forced into marketing positions. In the Social Age (as I call this era that tails the mainstreaming of Facebook, c. 2005-2006), the need for marketers and content producers by companies that 20 years ago would never have dreamed of making videos or publishing online, has dramatically increased.
With the boom, untold numbers of professionals have been pulled into the Age of Inbound/Content/Native/Guerrilla/Call-It-What-You-Want Marketing. And, really, they don't "get" it. They're still stuck in the Outbound/Push/Direct era of marketing. Trying to tie an outbound message and approach to an inbound vehicle has never worked and never will.
Marketers Aren't the Only Ones to Blame
It's also frequently the case that a truly talented content marketer - one who understands the spirit of inbound techniques as well as the mediums of distribution - is held back by the higher powers in their own company. It's not at all rare to see businesses hire energetic and creative marketers, but bar them from any risk-taking, which results in timid content that doesn't win.
How Can We Change Content Marketing In 2015?
Be bold. Inbound principles have been successfully demonstrated for years now. But content marketers have to be willing to go all-in. In 2015, I'd like to see content marketers producing more passionate, inspired, and engaging content - not more content that's just old outbound principals repackaged and mindlessly pumped out the other end of Hootsuite.
Consumers don't need more noise. They need valuable information that's there for them when they want it. It's a tough challenge. But when you get it, the payoff is tremendous.