Content Marketing’s Future Is in the Hands of Two Groups, and They’re Not Talking

Over the last four years at Contently, we’ve seen content marketing go from something no one was talking about, to something brands found interesting (but not worthy of much budget), to the #1 digital priority for brands. To say money is now pouring into content marketing would be an understatement. It’s happening now from all sides, from inside the CMO’s office and through their agency partners alike.

Lasting content marketing success requires more than writing a check, however, and the rapid growth of content marketing has left many initiatives living in silos—disconnected from a brand’s broader content strategy.

Nowhere is this more true than the gulf between those responsible for formulating and enacting a brand’s long-term content strategy (usually someone in the CMO’s office), and those responsible for getting that content in front of the right audience (the media agency).

Why is this a problem? Well, as the industry inevitably moves beyond “check the box” mode—where just doing some form of content marketing is enough to show progress—to more mature programs that require real business results to justify the expense—it will be necessary to break down the silos in order to build content marketing programs that really work.

Here are a few areas where we’ve seen our customers succeed in bridging this gap:

1. Agency cooperation

Having a brand’s agencies as the driving force behind content strategy and adoption helps generate a holistic strategy. When PR, media and creative agencies collaborate on content strategy, it means all the bases (creation and distribution) can be covered from the outset.

2. Media agencies moving beyond campaign-based thinking

The true power of content marketing is building owned audiences—putting the brand in a position where it’s connecting directly with its potential customers, instead of relying on the traditional media properties of old. The infrastructure now exists for media buyers to drive traffic to owned properties at scale, it simply represents a change in thinking.

3. Brands fostering a culture of content

The content teams that sit within the brands can do a better job of packaging up their content and making it available to their agency partners. There are tools that can help them do this, but it’s also about fostering a culture of content and evangelizing their work internally. Long-term, it’s going to take buy-in at the highest levels.

Content marketing is here to stay—but content without proper distribution can’t be effective, nor can distribution work without a coherent content strategy. The best content marketers will find a way to bridge the gap.

Joe Coleman is the CEO of Contently.

Image by Kyle Dean Reinford

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