As Mr. Dylan is fond of saying, things have changed. It used to be that the brand with the best commercial was the one that got the buzz. Occasionally it was a website that really stood out from the rest. But today, brands that produce the highest quality content are going to be the ones to gain market share fastest.
So briefly, why is that? The simple answer is that everyone lives on the web now. And if you consistently produce content that’s creative enough for people to 1) notice and 2) share, you’re already miles ahead of competitors who haven’t made the commitment.
MASTERS OF ORIGINAL CONTENT, AND THE MARKETPLACE.
Leading consumer brands are becoming masters of highly creative, innovative content. Take a business like Red Bull. You could almost think of them as a media company that produces an energy drink on the side – that’s how strong & diverse their content truly is.
But here’s something that’s not often mentioned: It’s easier for consumer brands to be great content producers. They have much bigger budgets, and typically a product that’s an easier fit for ‘telling a great story’. B2B brands on the other hand are often trying to squeeze meager financing for content creation from an already tight overall marketing budget. And the reality is, most of the time they provide a product or service that’s not as inherently interesting. It can be a challenge.
THE CHALLENGE FOR B2B BRANDS.
The best place for B2B companies to learn about what’s possible is by studying what other ‘content-creative’ B2B brands are doing right now. Here’s a list of 50 content innovators. You’ll see that many of these are not consumer brands. They create specific types of content (white papers, blogs, videos, animation, slideshows, thought leader interviews) with very specific business targets in mind. As just one example, Intel currently has over 30 strategic content creator partners. How many does your brand have?
In order to succeed at content marketing, your brand management has to embrace it as a strategy, and not a temporary tactic. That means having an inside team working with outside suppliers to get the best creative storytelling you can find. It also requires a realistic level of funding.
EVERYTHING YOU PRODUCE IS A REFLECTION OF YOUR BRAND’S QUALITY.
There are always cheap ways to create your stories. But they will look cheap as well. And that’s the image that will transfer to your brand. Much better to do less content of higher quality. Remember that once you put something out there, you really can’t get it back.
In 2014, there will be no substitute for highly original content. When Harvard Business School studies the brands that were most successful years from now, it will be those who realized the value of quality content early on, and made the commitment to fund it.