The moment of zero truth: Marketers must take ownership of content marketing

By Lucy Clark | 2 April 2014

Marketers need to create their own content or risk a wad of half-baked stuff back from a third party. Whinging about a lack of time and not knowing how to do it is for losers. Get a grip, take responsibility and start telling stories - not the truth - to get the engagement rolling in.

That was gist of a rallying cry from content marketing to content marketing in Sydney yesterday.

Marketers should give content marketing at least 10% of their time, Robert Rose, chief strategist at the Content Marketing Institute, told Content Marketing World delegates, and someone in every business must take responsibility - because the discipline is in dire need of strategy and ownership.

“Marketing is changing, but we are not – we still create content in the same way, which is to say we don't,” he said. “Content is everybody's job and nobody's job. We know how to get the content out there, we just don't know how to create it.

“Time after time we hear 'I don't have time to create the content and I can't create engaging content'. The problem is, we don't know how because we are not given the responsibility to create the content. We've not giving ourselves permission to create the content and be creative. We think we don't know how and we think we can't create enough, and so we outsource it." Lo and behold "then we get unoriginal content."

Content creation must be a “scalable and repeatable process” in any business, Rose said, adding: “The most common content marketing mistake is doing nothing other than press releases.”

Making the case for content marketing, he outlined: “As marketers, we are not in the business of truth, we are in the business of persuasion.”

He said the classic Coca-Cola ad 'I'd like to teach the world to sing' was “completely contrived ... but we believe it because of the narrative. As content marketers and storytellers, we tell what ought to be the truth. Facts don't change beliefs. Beliefs change when we get emotionally attached.”

Rose suggested four archetypes he sees in the content creation process that marketers should work to: the promoter, the preacher, the professor and the poet.

'Promoter' content is content that has to be created and we know how to create, such as the company website; 'preacher' content drives engagement, such as blogs and social media; 'professor' is thought leadership content; and 'poet' content drives an emotional connection between our brand and our consumers.

So where should marketers go from here?

“Spend at least 10% of your time creating content,” advised Rose. “Agencies do this – they have sessions to ideate. But as businesses we sometimes feel guilty about doing this.

“If you are the CMO of a company, you've got to drive this from the top – it has to become part of the corporate culture. Start thinking about why you are creating content, and then build content out one network at a time. That thing you've been doing for an hour on a Friday because you have to suddenly becomes the thing you are doing every day.

“But the most important thing is that content creation becomes something that someone is responsible for.”

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