Why content marketing will be hard for agencies


One of the major changes in online marketing for 2012 will be the rise of content. A brand’s content strategy will be a key weapon in breaking through the clutter of ‘old school’ advertising, engaging with the consumer and delivering a brand message. But moving from advertising to content will mean major changes for marketers, both in terms of how they think about their strategy, and also how they deliver it with their agencies.


So what are the changes that the agency model needs to take on as we move to a content based approach?

1. Copywriters > Journalists

Copywriters spend most of their time coming up with conceptual ad ideas and short pithy headlines – this is very different from the job of a journalist who researches a topic and delivers a detailed (sometimes long) piece with quality content and factual sources. Copywriters are going to find that this is much more of a marathon than a 100m sprint, and may well put their writing skills to the test.


2. Ad message > Useful content

Similarly, as you move from headlines to content, it’s not enough to catch a consumer’s attention and give them a quick soundbite, now the content has to serve a purpose, we talk about utility of entertainment being the key drivers of value in content – the pressure will be on here. It won’t be enough to disrupt (in fact that might even be the wrong approach), we want to produce content that the consumer wants to read and watch.


3. Campaign approach > Always on

The campaign led approach has been dying for a while, particularly with the advent of social media, when we start to think of things from a content POV, agencies must realise that this is more akin to running a magazine than pushing a complex campaign out the door. When one piece of content is complete and polished, it will be time to move onto the next as it will surely be quicker for the consumer to consume than for the writer to produce!


4. Static > Distributed

The distribution model for content is also a complex one, it won’t be enough to create this content and throw it onto a website, the challenge with content delivery is how to take it to the audience through syndication, search and the social graph; so if you thought the job ended with a polished article or a funny video, you’ll be quickly mistaken – the content strategy challenge is just beginning.



By Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

A digital native and integrated brand marketer with a passion for marketing-communications and product design, Lex has a truly international outlook and experience, having worked both in major marketing agencies and client-side brands across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

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