Much has been written and said about content marketing lately, and the value for brands (if done right) is unquestionable. Great content is the only thing that can both pull in and continuously engage consumers in a brand’s story and vision. But to achieve measurable results in this field there needs to be a strategy in place – one that considers the full content ecosystem, not just social media.
When talking about content creation, social media has been the key driver in recent years. The enabling of 2-way conversations between brand and consumer (and amongst consumers) has allowed content to spread wide and fast; tempting brands of all shapes and sizes to chase the “viral” phenomenon. Social media feeds have been flooded with branded memes, cat photos and desperate attempts to pair brands with the latest news headline. The result is often meaningless noise, at best.
But Facebook’s latest change to their Newsfeed algorithm indicates that things are changing.
In their press announcement, they said: “Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo…”
Limiting the reach of brand page posts is of course partly a way for Facebook to boost advertising sales. But it also indicates that the Zuckerberg empire is trying to save the Newsfeed by getting rid of meaningless content, and instead boost professional, high quality content from third party sites.
So is this bad news for brands? Not as much as it is bad news for the countless social media agencies selling poor social content management. Getting the same reach on posts will now require a lot more money, and with poor quality content it is debatable whether this is, in fact, a good strategy.
For the smart brands however (those with a proper digital ecosystem and strategy for content) this may be an advantage. Brands that succeed in transforming themselves into publishers of strong long-form content (“news articles”), this is an opportunity to drive more engagement and also traffic to their owned content platforms – for instance their brand website.
Facebook’s Timeline never succeeded in becoming a “home” for a brand’s content on the platform – mainly because the content doesn’t rank in search, both on and off the platform. So establishing a content platform externally and using social media to spread the content would make a lot more sense.
But getting into more sustainable content creation isn’t necessarily easy. It requires a clear strategy that is linked to the brand’s vision, and an obvious value proposition for the consumer.
At Constant we believe all strong brands have an opportunity to carve their own unique angle for content – whether that is lifestyle, entertainment or even education. And for brands that have a clear understanding of WHY they are in business, this comes a lot easier. For those brands it is obvious how exactly they can add value to peoples’ lives through content. But for the brands without a defined purpose… well, they should get one.