Content Marketing & Commoditizing Creativity

i-f82fc4a237cb8eff68480737f45d5152-farm

Kraft says they get four times the ROI from content versus ads.

That’s an eyebrow raising statement from one of the nations largest advertisers.

Julie Fleischer, the Director of Data + Content + Media at Kraft Foods Group, was the recipient of the 2013 CMA’s Content Marketer of the Year and her results in 2014 are just as, if not more, impressive. According to AdAge.com, Kraft now boasts an equivalent of 1.1 billion ad impressions annually and a four-times-better ROI on investment in content marketing versus targeted advertising.

A large part of Kraft’s strategy is what you’d expect from a successful campaign: delivering what the consumer genuinely wants, providing content according to the customer’s preferred method, time, and place, and authentic user generated content. Anyone who has undertaken a campaign like this understands one of the main challenges of content marketing, however, is producing the volume of content required to generate 1.1 billion impressions. So much so, in fact, companies have turned to content farms.

In short, a content farm (or content mill) is a company or platform that employs a large amount of low-paid freelance writers to churn out an impressive volume of articles on trending topics. Demand Media (parent company of eHow.com), Examiner.com, and the Yahoo! Contributor Network are just a few in a long list of content farms.

At its best, a content farm writer produces a well-written, interesting and thoughtful piece. Content can be distributed in social media to give your brand thought leadership, engage followers and develop a brand’s “voice.” Plus, the content can be optimized with keywords to give SEO a boost. Content farms have the potential to provide a plethora of timely and relevant articles that suit your consumers’ ever-changing whims.

However, content farms, and the companies who use them, often value volume over substance with plagiarism occasionally sprinkled throughout. The writers craft pieces to satisfy the algorithms for generating search-engine traffic, or, as some call it, “SEO bait.” Their search engine optimization goals trump the concept of creating high-quality original articles. This leads to shallow, generic, and potentially inaccurate content, which is ultimately harmful to a brand.

So, what now? Should you use a content farm to help manage your work? Well, answering the following questions should help:

1. How often and how much content do you need?
2. Can independent freelance talent adhere to your brand guidelines or create the proper voice?
3. How authoritative should your content be?
4. What’s your standard for originality, reliability, accuracy, and depth?

Or, consider vetting and hiring a small group of talented and trusted freelance writers to consistently create your content for you. If you are currently or planning to launch a content marketing campaign, we at Hey would love to help you reach your goals. Just give us a shout at: contactus@hey.us.com

Sources:

Neff, Jack. “Kraft Says It Gets Four Times Better ROI from Content Than Ads.” Advertising Age Best Practices RSS. AdAge, 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 11 Sept. 2014.

Harris, Jodi. “Should Content Marketers Buy Into Content Farms?” Content Marketing Institute. Content Marketing Institute, 10 June 2011. Web. 11 Sept. 2014.