• Content is king

£1b spend predictions by 2020 – but is Content a worthy King?

23 September 2016

Content is King.

Hands up if you’ve heard this phrase before.

A report earlier in the year from Yahoo and Enders Analysis made a bold prediction that content marketing spend in the UK will more than double by 2020.

The spend on sponsored content by European markets is expected to increase by 186 per cent by 2020, to around £1.68 billion, or €2.12 billion.

In 2014, total spend on content-focused marketing was around €740 million.

With marketers, advertisers, industry commentators, and brands themselves all singing from the same song sheet, it might be hard to argue against the mantra of the modern content marketer.

We’ve said as much in the past too, and we agree with the approach, at least in broad strokes.

It’s been an accepted best practice for years now that, in order for brands both big and small to promote their products to a wider audience, and maintain a loyal consumer following, anything you create needs to be interesting content first, and an advert second.

But note the key part of that line of thought:

interesting content.

That’s the pitfall that many brands are in danger of falling into.

The pitfall of content churn. Content for content’s sake.

With a content-heavy approach seeing more investment and not looking like it is slowing down any time soon, many marketers reckon they’ve cracked the formula. 

More brand-labelled content + more promotions with popular influencers = more sales, and more money.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

Nick Hugh, VP for EMEA at Yahoo, echoes this sentiment in the report: "Creative, engaging content is needed for success, and when this is coupled with a targeted, scalable solution like native advertising, the potential for greater audience engagement and conversion rockets."

When done right, content marketing can be a powerful force.

But it’s not a quick fix solution, and funny, engaging, or interesting content is something that changes depending on who you’re talking to.

This is always a hot topic for discussion at Strawman HQ, and we’re always a bit wary when we see evidence of a hastily-set up branded content hub or a clumsy vlogger tie in, without an obvious rationale for why they are doing it and who they’re actually trying to talk to.

As tempting as it is to dispatch an emergency cute animal video on a social channel, is that actually going to help gain clients for your forex company, or improve sales on bespoke lighting fixtures?

Well, depends on the animal, I guess.

You can’t deny the allure of a back-flipping hamster.

The point is, don’t be so hasty to crown content a King, before you even check for a legitimate claim.


Strawman Says

Content is King? No.

Interesting Content is King.