Content Marketing Fakers

fakersContent marketing is no easy task.

Over the years, I have seen many agencies and firms title themselves. Titles such as:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Markerters
  • Brand Agency
  • Shopper Marketing
  • Creative Agency

The titles have never really been the issue, its the experience behind their label that is the issue. In such a competitive marketing agency landscape, these distinctions could be absorbed without much consequence, as many professionals knew just enough to get away with average results.

I’m concerned, however, about agencies that describe themselves as content marketers. Why is this different? Here are a few reasons:

  • Content marketing requires extensive experience in three very complicated areas: marketing, advertising and publishing. Unless a firm has such deep understanding, they are faking content marketing. 
  • Content marketing requires a wide range of knowledge in many different platforms or channels. Being a web design company one week, then a content marketing company the next week simply won’t fly. 
  • Content marketing requires content production. Without extensive experience in professional writing skills, valuable content cannot be produced. It’s so simple, but so often overlooked. Hiring a journalist is not going to cut it. Content writing requires someone that gets the first point above: marketing, advertising and publishing. Not an easy person to find. 

The concern is that brands/companies do not recognize the complexity of content marketing. Disguised in pretty graphics or digital marketing experience, many clients and campaigns are doomed to suffer through agencies that simply add titles. The consequences are simply too serious to miss the mark when it comes to content marketing.

First Step to Content Marketing

Content marketing, although not a new type of marketing by any means, has become a hot topic in recent years. That said, content marketing is still marketing, so it’s important to follow the most important first step before developing a strategy and executing.

The first step is none other than identifying your target market and your target audience.

Although obvious to professional marketers, in my experience, identifying a target market and audience is often overlooked, underrated or flat-out ignored. It’s also a misunderstanding that the target market is the same as the target audience, and that’s simply not the case.

The target market is the segment of customers/clients that a company/brand intends to target. It’s the group, the collection, the market. The target audience is more defined, reaching to a generalization of the individuals within the market, the demographics, psychographics and more.

Identifying the target market and audience should come before the audience persona or the content mission statement. The audience persona is simply a portrayal of the desires, wants and needs of the target audience. The content mission statement connects the goals and objectives of the company/brand to the audience persona. Clearly, it’s difficult to understand audience persona without knowing who the audience is to begin with. It’s also difficult to know who the audience is without knowing what the market is.

Given that content marketing is a long-term, dynamic form of marketing, missing the mark from the beginning can be chaotic, problematic and devastating. This is not a step to skip, skim or ignore. It’s definitely not fair to the client as it wastes money and time, but even more damaging to the customer/client, since they will not receive relevant, useful information.

What do you think is most important when identifying a target market and audience?