Wake up brands! Why content is everything

Content is definitely king – we all know this. Search depends on optimized content, social is fueled by shareable content, video with value wins the day. So here’s the problem: everybody keeps talking about the importance of content, but when it comes to actually creating and publishing great content, most brands still fall short.

I think at its core, we all understand the importance of content in today’s digital consumer journey. We understand that in order to win in discovery, you need to have optimized content:

  • To win in search, you need content that matches the right query. 
  • To win in social, you need to have emotionally stimulating and sharable content.
  • To actually close the sale, you need content that changes minds. 

So if we all agree that content is the key to success in digital, why are so many brands are having a such a hard time creating content that connects brands with consumers?

On the flip side, we see publishers like eHow, WebMD, Buzzfeed, and so forth doing this extremely well. Content produced by eHow is optimized for discovery. WebMD’s content provides a lot of value to the consumer. BuzzFeed’s content is highly viral and engaging.

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Research shows that this top-of-funnel content is capturing massive amounts of user volume and is driving extremely high engagement. This also demonstrates that you don’t always need high-end, super deluxe brand content; sometimes simple but well targeted, purpose-driven, creative content produces tremendous results.

Brands – don’t hold back!

One issue we come across more and more are the naysayers at the brand and agency who continually say that no content is good enough – make that, perfect enough. No piece of content is perfect in the eyes of every stakeholder. These naysayers are the ones who think the brand shouldn’t talk about a specific topic, or it’s not branded or relevant enough. Often, it is those naysayers who prevent brands from publishing what their consumers want to see and hear.

Brands should focus on the areas and themes where they have the right to play rather than trying to satisfy all the internal stakeholders and their varying interests, peeves, and concerns. Don’t get me wrong – although no automotive brand should talk about costumes, haircare, or makeup, they should definitively join that conversation.

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In the end, the only voice that matters is that of the consumer. So we need to stop slowing down the progress on content production and start creating it instead.

Agencies – start collaborating

Another challenge we often see causing this content shortage at brands is their complex agency relationships. The search agency wants search-optimized content, the social agency wants snackable, viral content, and the creative agency wants a beautiful story written in the brand’s language. On top of these sometimes competing interests is the fact that all of these agencies ask for channel-specific content. However, as we all know, there are no more channels – the days of linear programming are over.

Today, the content must be able to live and thrive across all platforms. Only when the content is built with the consumers in mind first – and not the traffic source or agency priority – relevant content will be created, published, and spread to users who are hungry for it.

To conclude

It’s time we all wake up and start creating the content our consumers will relate to, share, and enjoy. Let’s stop worrying about who is driving traffic, over optimizing, or trying to please everyone in the room. Whether it’s video, social posts, website copy, articles, or email campaigns, great content fueled by consumer insights is where it all has to start.

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