Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Is Content King for Business Marketers?

Is it me or has the world gone content crazy again? I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t get bombarded with content telling me that in the B-to-B industry, there has to be content—all types of content—video, mobile, long form, short form, infographics, and on and on. Do we really need more content? Will the investment in content land a company more sales and loyal customers?

Back in 1996, Bill Gates predicted, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting. … Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products—a marketplace of content.” Back when Bill’s article was written, there was “near zero—maybe $20 million or $30 million in total” spent on subscriptions and advertising online. Today, according to ComScore, that number will be just over $35 billion at the end of 2012.

Today we see a lot of B-to-B advertising offering thought leadership content as a means to grab a buyer’s attention. The variety and type of content vary wildly due to the new venues of smartphones and tablets, where content is being consumed, as well as the format people want to view their content, video, audio, print. Yet there are some who say, “The days of content ruling the world are over.” And that “the secret is to focus on the relationship you build with your community so that they trust you.”

I have to disagree with that line of thinking. I don’t see how a marketer can build relationships and trust in today’s highly connected, dispersed world without using content as part of the glue binding companies, buyers and products together.

Content can be company created as well as customer created. It can be curated or conversational. The fact of the matter is if you have content, you are more likely to generate leads and foster ongoing relationships with customers. So, yes, like many other things, Bill Gates called it. Content is king and its power is only going to grow.

If you are seeking ideas about how to create engaging content, I recommend the Content-Marketing Playbook 2011.

Carolyn Ladd is Vice President Account Planning and Digital Strategy at gyro.

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