In our increasingly multichannel, multimedia world, the amount of content we are receiving, browsing and picking up is increasing at an exponential rate. Not only is the amount of content increasing, but also the mediums we use to see this information: online news and magazines, emails, blogs, social media sites, video, television, radio and more.
As a marketing, sales or PR decision-maker, knowing how best to optimize these channels to market is becoming an ever more complex challenge. The plethora of social media channels alone is becoming a full-time or team responsibility in many organizations. Yet, the net effect of this is to simply create increased capacity for more and more content – it doesn’t create the content itself.
This then creates two major challenges: What communications channels to use and what type of content is the best to generate to support these to gain maximum impact with target customers and influencers. A few years ago, the debate centered on when social media was going to knock traditional media conduits controlled by advertising and PR agencies from their perch. The debate now is what value these communications channels have without the right type of content.
According to the leading advertising and PR guru Tim Williams of Ignition Group, we are now in the world where paid content (e.g. advertorial, advertising etc) is getting increasingly disintermediated in favor of consumer generated content (CGC) and earned content (sometimes merged with CGC in terms of social media). This has led to a huge shrinkage in the traditional agency model as being the generator and arbiter of content for businesses.
However, Williams has also identified that PR agencies are now becoming a strategic player in the success of the entire marketing mix, at the cost of advertising and other traditional agencies. The simple reason for this is that PR agencies generate huge amounts of original content, either owned or earned, and therefore have a strategic and tactical head start in the race to define, create and control the types of content fed into the various marketing channels.
Many industries now talk about content marketing to underpin this point. In many cases, the merging of CGC with multimedia and generated content does not present a clear picture of how to utilize and identify the right type of content to be used. By working with the right kinds of communication and PR agencies, businesses can better judge how to strategically use the right types of content for maximum effect and impact.
The other variable that the right type of agency will able help add input on are the huge differences between the content needed for businesses selling to B2B or B2C audiences. Each market has clear differentiators in terms of what types of content and channel influence the buying behavior of their target markets, and an agency partner can help to differentiate where the main focus points for content and messaging should lie.
Therefore, properly harnessed and managed content marketing, supported by the right type and quality of content, will be a hugely powerful force for agencies providing CGC and earned content to clients, as well as for their own marketing efforts.