Brands are embracing content marketing with gusto but many marketers are missing the point by creating content that is too “salesy” and focused on ‘the sell’.
Questions around where ‘the sell’ fits in is still a common question plaguing brands’ content creators according to the general manager of content discovery platform Outbrain Australia, Ayal Steiner.
“We basically decline 70% of the content being submitted to us because it is being too salesy,” Steiner said.
Steiner (pictured) said Outbrain knocks back content at least three times a week because it would be a “foul move” if a consumer thought a link was “hiding a sales pitch” on one of its partners’ sites.
Outbrain entered the local market last year and has since added publishers The Age, news.com.au and others to its books. For more on Outbrain click here.
Steiner, who was presenting late last week in Melbourne at the Age of Dis-content event put on by Hello I’m Venus, said the “ad factory is broken”.
“The disruptive tone of traditional marketing which is saying basically: ‘listen, we will find you wherever you are…we will tell you how amazing we are and how awesome our product/service is’.
“This tone is really broken.”
Steiner defines content marketing as “the distribution of valuable content to engage people”, describing it as a significant shift for brands.
Instead of making people want things advertisers are now creating things people want.
A focus on selling rather than engaging is just one common misstep. Another is viewing content marketing as a short term activity.
“During the conceptual phase people say ‘ok let’s try this for a month, two months and see if it works’.
“You have to be in it to win it for the long term. It’s a marathon, not a race.”
Not having the firepower to continually create unique content does not disqualify a brand from content marketing. Curating content can be just as valuable.
“It’s almost like being the DJ…we all know about the DJ but who the hell did the tracks? No one cares, it doesn’t matter,” Steiner explained.
“The DJ actually gets the points for curating it for me.”
Skimping on quality with a poor page design and lacklustre images is another common error.
“When people see low quality they bounce,” Steiner added.
Too much of a focus on clicks and not enough emphasis on engagement is another sign that the aim of content marketing has been missed according to Steiner.