Content marketing:a long, slow road to nowhere?

An 'engagement' is not a sale.

Touted by marketing ‘gurus’ as the best/only/most effective way to develop a brand, there’s actually very little evidence to suggest that content marketing has much effect at all on growth.

Pain vs. Gain

In terms of scale of effort vs. reward, it doesn’t look good. A great deal of content must be created, then trickled out to audiences over a long period. And each portion must be engaging in its own right.

Subsequently, all of the audience feedback must be monitored and dealt with – you can’t use an audience engagement concept and not interact. What would be the point?

Collectively, that’s a massive amount of time and effort spent. But wait. You can’t recycle your content or your brand will be ridiculed by all those people you’ve spent so long helping on board. To remain engaging, content needs refreshing constantly, so it’s back to the start again. And again, and again, and again. If you’re paying a 3rd party to create and manage your content, you’ll need deep, deep pockets to keep the pump running.

Consider also, that so many others have adopted this method of marketing that as a potential customer, the amount of subliminally branded content that reaches you is way more than you could ever digest.

One of the other key issues with using content marketing as a central marketing pillar, is that it allows companies and content marketing agencies to be lazy. There’s no real imperative, no immediacy. Results are nebulous and difficult to gauge.

With content marketing front and centre, it could take aeons to see any significant brand growth.

Sales vs. engagements

Consider this: is it not the entire purpose of a brand to be shaped in such a way as to create an immediate connection with its audience, wherever it is encountered?

Is not the purpose of advertising to put forward brand concepts that immediately appeal to, and resonate with the target audience.

Is not the real point of advertising to bring immediate awareness to a large audience in a way they will find alluring and within a timeframe that suits the competitive nature of business?

A well-crafted and arresting ad campaign has the power to turn heads, fire imaginations, switch on customers and make sales happen (that’s SALES not ‘engagements’), all in the blink of an eye.

Brands that brazenly walk out on stage and deliver a memorable performance are the ones that get noticed and the ones that get the sales. And don’t forget – you can’t have brand loyalty without first making sales.

A strong and well developed brand, combined with impactful, creative advertising remain far and away the optimum choice for rapid brand growth in a competitive environment.

Content marketing can be effective in this scenario by playing a limited support role, helping to cement new brand converts into place, post-campaign.

But position content marketing as the main thrust of your marketing effort and expect a long, exhausting and expensive walk in the shadows.

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