Storytelling Is Not a Strategy

Storytelling Is Not a Strategy

Author: Kelly Wenzel / Source: The Content Strategist At the start of 2017, I made the shift from ad tech to martech. In the last decade,

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At the start of 2017, I made the shift from ad tech to martech. In the last decade, I had helped build and steward the brands of two successful ad tech firms recognized for their innovation and amazing cultures, but it was increasingly difficult to ignore the headwinds facing the old media model. The consumers had spoken, and they didn’t want interruptive advertising experiences anymore.

Today, those headwinds are inescapable. Ad blockers have flourished. Audiences find their news on social networks. And native advertising has taken off. Instead of pursuing tired tactics, brands pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to content studios at esteemed destinations like The New York Times, Time Inc., and The Atlantic, in exchange for ambitious, interactive storytelling. But when those one-off projects run their course, what happens next? Typically, marketers ramp up production on company blogs, even if they don’t have a strategy to guide them.

It’s clear that audiences crave organic interactions, but as brands try to accommodate them, the struggles are real. Creating content at scale is hard. Knowing how to measure its efficacy is even harder.

Shortly after joining Contently, I attended a B2B content marketing forum hosted by the research firm SiriusDecisions. As marketing executives went around the room asking questions and talking about our biggest challenges, the topics mentioned most were measurement, benchmarks, and ROI. That’s not surprising, because according to SiriusDecisions’ benchmarking data, B2B organizations “spend roughly the equivalent of 50 percent of the marketing budget on content, and 83 percent plan to increase that investment.” Yet, despite the increased investment, zero percent of these brands feel they are effectively tracking content ROI. That’s right, zero.

I felt equal measures of shock and excitement. The biggest challenge facing content marketing is also…