One of the takeaways from Advertising Week in New York last week is the rise of “branded content”. Brands are embracing the potential of branded content to blur the lines between advertising and entertainment. It seems like every week, I hear the expression, “Content is King”.
It’s true that content marketing holds great promise, as marketers start to create communication that is genuinely worth sharing. Yet, in creating content, we should remember that consumers don’t necessarily want “content”. They want stories. “Branded content” and “content marketing” is insider terminology used by marketers. It’s up to marketers to make the content into something more meaningful.
In the branded content bandwagon, there is too often an emphasis on quantity over quality. Content is treated like a commodity. Consumers can see many forms of “branded content” a mile a way, and it’s only a matter of time before they learn to tune it out as readily as other forms of advertising.
That is, unless we create content that is truly meaningful to the audiences we are trying to reach.
Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Marketing Institute wrote an interesting article recently on the poor quality of most branded content:
“The majority of content produced by brands through blog posts, enewsletters, social media posts, print magazines and webinars is flat out awful. In many cases, the content is self-serving, not useful and, maybe the worst, pointless. Even when you ask marketers themselves, just one in three believe that the content they develop is effective.”
He goes on to write that branded content frequently lacks strategy, focus, and accountability, three factors that can hobble the impact of content marketing.
I’d love to hear your stories of brands that are getting branded content right and wrong.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)