Is content marketing truly valuable?

Much has been said about content marketing and its merits in 2016. Here, Happy Creative's PR & Content Manager, Nick Hyde, gives his opinion on its value for companies.

Content marketing, the two words which have dominated online searches since the dawn of time (or at least the past few years).

It’s probably – and quite ironically – the most blogged about subject too and has had its fair share of praise and criticism in equal measure.

Some love it, others loathe it - see below for that - and some don’t even notice it is there or what its purpose is. It’s just there, they are consuming it in the same way they digest the breakfast bulletins with their cornflakes.

Content just sort of happens, doesn’t it?

Well, not quite. You don’t just write an article, get it posted and wait for the SEO spiders to bring you the leads. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

But you already know that, don’t you? No?

In a recent blog about the subject, content commentator Mark Ritson argues content marketing is a mundane activity and gives some (although not all, so lay off the pitch forks for now) marketers a reason for existence.

Harsh? Maybe. Controversial? More than likely. But there is a point in his words in that it’s an age-old issue with valid marketing techniques in an ever-changing marketplace.

The point remains though content marketing is still extremely valid and, arguably, an essential part of today’s marketing mix.

Consumers and clients like to make their own choices from the information they have. They want to discover views, find funnies and allow themselves to drift through a sales process. It’s always how you go about content marketing which will ultimately depend on the results you get.

In fact, for the purpose of this paragraph let’s drop the word content from the subject, instead of content marketing let’s just refer to it as marketing. The essence of successful marketing hasn’t changed in a hundred years. Successful marketing comes from understanding your market, catching their attention and presenting opportunities to buy. Content marketing is no different. If it is focused, written with your customers or prospects in mind, part of a structured sales funnel and excites or gets attention then you will get results. Anything less than that, and it is writing for writing’s sake.