Content marketing sometimes gets a bad rap. For some, it feels a little creepy that ‘content’ is tailored in a way that’s meant to persuade readers towards something without them knowing it’s happening. It neither has the journalistic integrity of a newspaper (putting aside some of the tarnish of the fake news era), nor the obvious and necessary intent of traditional marketing efforts.
Take Digital Pulse, for example. It was created, many years ago now, as a blog to help publicise the then new digital capabilities of PwC. It has since evolved into a digital thought leadership publication. Yet whether or not it is primarily a publishing platform, with all the rigour and topical interest of a journalistic endeavour (which I believe it is) or a content marketing platform with the motive of driving brand awareness (which it aims to) is a constant source of (lively) debate.
We aren’t alone in this quandary. Many content marketing efforts are plagued with this indecision over marketing vs independent thought leadership. As can be seen in the infographic stats below, the rollout of such projects is all over the shop. Maybe it’s because content marketing sits in a strange grey area. Journalistic writers bristle at the ulterior motive, marketers take umbrage at the lack of ROI vigour.
At the end of the day, at least from the view of myself and the greater editorial team here, what all the stats and strategies and trends boil down to is the desire to engage people with a good story that drives conversation. It’s part of PwC’s mission, to solve important issues facing society such as those posed by digital transformation, and one we take to heart in developing our content.
Audiences will always appreciate a good yarn, even more so if it adds value to their daily lives. As such, any business that puts the reader at the heart of their content strategy will be in good stead to achieve its goals.