Content marketing continues to prosper as more organizations develop robust content programs and are seeing good results. This month I took a look at recent changes in search engine optimization thanks to Google’s Hummingbird updates, if there is a true divider between earned and paid media in modern marketing and how branded content providers will be battling it out in 2014.
Humming a New Search Tune
As we look back on the last couple of years of growth, it’s worth remembering that a lot of the initial interest in deploying high volumes of content (without a lot of regard for the quality of that content) was predicated on the value of that content in lifting SEO results. As search engines tweaked their parameters, the emphasis shifted – and now with the new Hummingbird algorithm from Google – it feels as if the “black hat” and content farm days are increasingly behind us. As a result, search rankings will reward those producing good quality content on a regular basis. Here’s a good summary of the recent changes at Google in 2013.
Is It Earned or Paid Media?
It’s always good to look at an opposite view, and there’s some truth to Rob Norman’s thoughts that great success (i.e. viral sharing) of branded content will need to be increasingly “pump primed” through paid advertising. As the Chief Digital Officer of one of the world’s largest media buying organizations, it may be that he is viewing the issue from a slightly rose tinted perspective, but Rob’s views are always well argued and received.
The Battle of Branded Content Providers
The media buying agencies have, along with traditional digital agencies, staked out their ground to provide a rationale as to why they are best suited to be the branded content providers of the future. Listen to the persuasive tones of another ex-colleague of mine – Mat Morrison of Starcom. In the podcast, Mat discusses the rise of social as a principal driver of branded content and his possible battle ahead with PR agencies for the ownership of socially driven content creation in the UK. It’s interesting that the same media agencies, who very publically divorced themselves from their creative siblings in “full service” ad agencies all those years ago, should now feel empowered to be the content creators of the new digital media age. Only time will tell how successful they become.
Our job at Pace is to continue to focus on developing the skills at which we have always excelled. Being “Content Marketing Agency of the Year” brings a realization that we also have much to learn from the new entrants into the market and that with the knowledge, reach and effectiveness of content marketing, there are new ancillary and complementary services to introduce.
Our clients need insights and answers and are not troubled by what label is on the agency. In this data–driven world, it’s all about results. The reason for the gathering hordes of branded content providers is simple: it’s been proven that great quality branded content delivers great results. We remain focused on the great challenges and opportunities ahead in 2014.
Written by Craig Waller