Agencies talk about the value of content marketing but few are doing it and even fewer do it well.
Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision-makers said they prefer to get information via articles, not ads. 70% said content makes them feel closer to a company and 60% said content provided by companies helps them make smarter buying decisions.
Agencies are historically bad at new business. They seem to lose their marketing minds when it comes to marketing themselves. A clear example of this is with content marketing. Digital, social and mobile have changed the way prospective clients consume and share information. And yet, agencies continue to use interruptive and irritating marketing tactics such as cold calling, direct mail and email blasts which have very low rates of success.
Most agencies haven’t learned the lesson that it takes content that has value to attract their audience. Content that prospects find helpful is appealing instead of content that is self promotional. Prospects are highly skeptical of agencies creating self promotional content, always looking out only for themselves. They come across as social media telemarketers!
Agencies aren’t built for consistent content creation. There is a great need for new roles for new business to be created within agencies. Roles such as Chief Content Strategist, Chief Content Officer and even Data Scientists.
The larger advertising, digital, media and PR agencies are quickly making preparations for the rapidly changing marketing landscape by creating positions and hiring talent for content marketing.
Edleman (PR) names Steve Rubel, chief content strategist
“We’re seeing a changed competitive landscape. All of a sudden, clients are open to ideas from P.R. firms, digital agencies, media-buying agencies, not just creative shops. We’re being asked to be a force in this new area and the agency is accepting the challenge, partly for offense and partly for defense.”- Richard Edelman, president and chief executive at Edelman
Havas Worldwide (Digital/Media) taps Vin Farrell, Content and Production Chief
”Almost every single client meeting I go into, they’re asking about content. And I don’t think content is a fad. Social media, content and mobile and location [marketing] are and will be for the next three to five years the three biggest platform areas within digital.” - Havas Worldwide president Andrew Bennett
Mindshare (Media) names a content chief, Stacy Minero
“Technology is driving consumers to access their entertainment and information across multiple emerging channels, devices and platforms. Our clients are recognizing that marketing messaging has to go beyond traditional advertising formats such as, 30 second TV ads if they are to engage consumers and communicate more persuasively. We see a major opportunity to develop content marketing strategies early in the brand communications planning process that captures wider content formats and build these into a wider brand communications effort,” said Antony Young, CEO, Mindshare North America.
Ogilvy & Mather (Advertising) names head of Content Strategy, Jonathan Sackett
“Content is now how our clients think about creativity and audience engagement – internally, across social networks, in entertainment, and across the myriad of communications channels we execute for.” – John Seifert, Chairman & CEO of Ogilvy & Mather North America
Weber Shandwick (PR) establishes a content marketing unit called MediaCo
“There has been a long evolution in the development of this content element of our business. But over the last 60-90 days, this whole area of the business has caught fire not unlike how we saw social media catch fire four-to-five years ago. When you get into the work it’s a whole new thing bringing together different disparate pieces- from editorial to some newer sexier native advertising, to the social paid side of things. We see this part of the business becoming inevitable for clients to get into.” - Chris Perry, global head of digital at Weber Shandwick.
Agencies need to become publishers.
Agencies need to embrace the discipline of publishing as a vital part of their overall new business strategy. The agencies that get their content marketing platforms in place will have a huge advantage over those that continue to push their self-promotional marketing messages which prospects will continue to block out.
Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing and has written an authoritative blog on digital marketing since 2003. He’s fond of saying that
“If you’re not creating content on the web, you don’t exist.”
Before a brand hires an agency for content marketing, they should ask to see the work they’re using on their own behalf.
Additional articles that may be of interest:
- A 4-step writing formula for ad agency new business
- The 40-25-35 Formula for Effective Writing
- 20 Tips to Create a Niche Blog for Ad Agency New Business
- Ten Toughest Content Marketing Challenges for Ad Agency New Business
- 10 Idea Starters to Keep Fresh Content Churning
- Fast Company: 20 Top Insights For Creating Appealing Content
- Content Marketing: Hire a Journalist for Ad Agency New Business
- David Ogilvy: Writing Tips for Ad Agency New Business