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Why bother with crap content marketing?

Content: why bother? That is, unless it’s worthwhile?

As part of The Drum’s content marketing supplement, we caught up with agencies in the space to determine the biggest challenge facing the buzziest marketing buzzword of the century.

Clue: it’s got to be relevant, valuable and genuinely interesting.

Jon Davie, managing director, Zone

Quite simply, there’s more than enough content in the world already. There is no customer need for more content from brands. Somewhere on the internet, every niche and every community is catered for.

The challenge for content marketing is how to stand out – how to find a legitimate and credible way for your brand to stand out and actually connect with your audience.

The problem isn’t brands producing content that’s irrelevant. The problem is brands prodding content that’s boring.

It’s pointless. It adds nothing to the sum of human knowledge. One of our clients forces us to answer two simple questions: “Why would I care?" and "Why would I share?"

Seb Royce, chief creative officer, Rockabox

Measuring the impact of content properly will be key.

This will reassure the brands ‘dipping their toe’ into content marketing to get fully behind it, as well as providing further validation for those who are eulogising and investing in it already.

Insight into what works for viewers and which topics/formats aren’t working will ultimately increase the effectiveness of content.

Promoting existing content seems to be a challenge for some brands. It is, however, one of their own making.

Often brands take the time to create and publish good content, but then fail to get the most out of it by not allocating the right seeding budget or time to promote it.

Why bother creating it in the first place if you don’t give it the best chance to fly? Brands need to take a more active interest in exactly where their content is going.

Seeing a presentation with a few well-known media owners’ names on and a few impressive view numbers doesn’t necessarily mean that your content is being distributed to the right people in the right places.

Anyone can buy a view but is it a good one? Is it relevant, above the fold, on a page where it makes sense, with an audience primed for your message?

The web is littered with irrelevant content – but brands can help by listening to their audiences, understanding what matters to them and learning.

Simply having a presence on all the popular social media platforms isn’t enough. You need to integrate and add value to the conversation.

Mark Boyd, co-founder, Gravity Road

There’s lots of interest in content. Brands have lots to say; consumers want to be engaged; there are plenty of hungry channels.

Perhaps the challenge is getting away from the campaign based films towards a longer running, publishing type approach. It takes time to build an audience, to get the tone right and understand the potential.

Just because you can make content, doesn't mean you should. As an industry, we need to create things that people will want to spend time with.

There is enough brand work on YouTube with less than 100 views, three likes and no comments. We don’t need any more. The problem is the industry has approached communications from a 'what do I want to tell them?' perspective.

Start thinking of consumers as audiences rather than viewers and consider what they want and it will keep you honest.

This article first appeared in a content marketing supplement in the 11 June issue of The Drum.