‘Value in content, but don’t jump in’

The amount spent on content marketing is to rise significantly this year, according  to data from the Content Marketing Association but  industry experts have warned marketers to consider the numerous pitfalls that could cause brand damage before diving head first into what is still a relatively new marketing discipline.

Nokia Deadmau5
Nokia staged a 3D projection Deadmau5 gig on London’s Millbank Tower last year, one of its most high-profile content marketing projects to date.

Content marketing has become increasingly popular as the digital platforms that allow brands to engage with consumers on a more regular basis, such as YouTube, blogs and Facebook, grow in size and number. Content marketing initiatives are expected to reach 70% of UK adults a month, with 61% of those consumers saying such marketing makes them feel more positive towards brand, according to the CMA, formerly the Association of Publishing Agencies, and Panelbase.net.

About three in four (73%) marketers say they will increase or maintain their content marketing budgets over the next year, the CMA says. Content marketing is expected to make up one fifth of marketing budgets on average.

Adam Johnson, head of brand and campaigns at Nokia, which has put content at the heart of its turnaround strategy, says the move towards content marketing is similar to the shift towards social media three to five years ago. He adds that just like social media, brands “can’t just jump in because it feels right”.

“Any emotion you want to illicit from a TV ad you have to take that and times it by 10 to make people want to interact with you and your content. You need to decide how brave you want to be as a business.”

Nokia is to partner with Elle magazine until the end of the year to help position its Lumia smartphones for a female audience.

The CMA’s chief operating officer Julia Hutchison says brands should also be wary of under investing in their content strategy, in the same way they would not pay for a bad TV ad.

She adds that brands should look to hire an agency or in-house specialists experienced in producing journalism, rather than relying on marketers.

“It’s about understanding the quality in really good journalism, which approaches marketing in a different way. [A journalist] understands things like curation because they employ an editor’s point of view – it’s just a new version of a letters page,” Hutchison says.

Once content has been produced, there are also additional “bear traps” brands could fall in to, especially on channels like YouTube, according to Charlie Muirhead, CEO of online video distributor Rightster, which partners with brands such as The Guardian and ITN.

“YouTube is complex. It’s very easy to set up a channel incorrectly and end up with the wrong result, like ads running when they shouldn’t be or incorrectly uploading and claiming content which can result in copyright strikes against you,” he says.

Muirhead advises that brands should plan budget and time to build their audiences on content platforms, investing in everything from community management, SEO and paid media to drive valuable traffic to their newly-established channels.

Where marketers plan to spend their content marketing budgets this year

Source: CMA

Content-led websites 37%
Branded mobile/tablet apps 30%
Customer magazines 25%
Email newsletters 22%
Branded games 15%

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