Try This Instead: Content First Digital Marketing
BY John Miller
October 30, 2016

When you’re in charge of marketing these days, there are a lot of different directions you can go.

Is your company in need of some video on your website? Are you thinking of hiring someone to help build up your brand on Instagram? Are radio ad execs constantly calling you about advertising on their air?

Wait. Stop.

It’s easy to be torn between which of these tactics will move the needle for your company. Some of them seem exciting. Some of them have worked in the past. Some of them will make your brand look hip. However, focusing on tactics such as this isn’t working for most brands. It’s creating a ton of wasted effort, leaving executives frustrated… and marketing chiefs on the firing line.

new study from marketing performance data platform Beckon says that brands are creating plenty of content – the quantity of content has risen 300 percent year over year. The problem is that the content isn’t performing very well – customer engagement has not increased.

The problem appears to be the quality of the content. Just five percent of the content is generating 90 percent of the engagement; in other words, 95 percent of the content is being ignored by the audience.

Beckon’s CEO told VentureBeat that “low-quality content seems to be a primary cause of flat engagement…. brands should make sure that content quality and brand standards remain high.”

It doesn’t matter what tactics you use – radio, print, social media, virtual reality, whatever – if you don’t have a great story to tell.

We don’t need more content. We need better content.

The problem is that digital marketers tend to get drawn in by technology. That is, they focus on technology and platforms first – whether that’s a marketing automation platform, an app, a social platform… whatever.

This is understandable. The industry media focuses on the “how” aspect of marketing. Venture capitalists invest in tech platforms. And every company’s story is different so there is rarely a universal discussion around it. But the focus on “how” is limiting. You need to know your story first. When you focus on creating the content first, the tactics become obvious – if you’re good at your job you can intuitively figure out the best way to transmit your story to the audience.

Content first digital marketing is the medicine for what is ailing your digital marketing. It’s time to close that Twitter tab, put your SEM spend on hold, and create content that can make a difference.

Everybody else is focused on digital first content marketing – they put tactics before the story. They don’t appreciate how important the content is, so they don’t put enough effort and resources into it, and they wind up with mediocre content delivered in really cool ways that no one ever bothers to look at. They’re failing.

Incremental improvement sucks.

When you put content first, you give your company a chance for exponential gains.

And that is what they’re paying you for.

Let’s talk about growing your company.

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