By Now, You Know You Need Content. But Where Does Content Come From?

Rebecca Lieb, writing in iMedia Connection, says “Interruption-based marketing will never go away, but it’s receding — quickly.”

She has data to back up her claim. Last week, the Custom Content Council, in conjunction with Roper Affairs, released a study of custom content. It indicates a hockey-stick demand for content on both the consumer and marketers sides of the equation. Some findings:

  • 35 percent of the CMOs surveyed believe custom content marketing is the future of marketing, versus 19 percent when the study was first conducted in 2006.
  • CMOs see increased value in custom content: 87 percent feel it’s valuable now, versus 72 percent five years ago.
  • 73 percent of consumers prefer to get company information from a company in the form of a collection of articles over an ad.
  • 69 percent of consumers like that custom content marketing targets their interests.
  • 67 percent think custom content from a company is valuable.
  • 61 percent feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are more likely to buy from them.

So, why exactly has your agency has been slow to develop a content marketing practice? Do you think your team of ad makers is ready and willing to go down this path without missing a beat? I don’t think so, but I do think the approach I brought to BFG Communications in 2006 might work for you.

I was fortunate to have a budget that allowed me to hire my own team and I purposefully sought and hired journalists, not advertising creatives. I also leaned heavily on the production and freelance communities to shoot and edit video, take still images and write brand-sponsored entertainment news stories. Because branded content is competing with the best content available, so it’s a case of “be awesome or be gone.” If you’re operating in the nightlife and entertainment space, like we were, the brand’s content has to be as good as whatever Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and the rest are doing. If it’s not that good, the brand diminishes its credibility, and may as well go back to making ads.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.