There was some big news in the content marketing space here in Australia last week. Less than two years after media monitoring and data firm iSentia bought Australia’s best-known content marketing agency, King Content, for A$48 million, the company has killed off the brand, closed its New York and Hong Kong offices, and cut its staff. What went wrong? And what does it mean for content marketing?

 

Here are some key take-outs:

  • It was always an odd fit for a profitable media monitoring company to buy a content marketing firm. While the purchase added legitimacy to the content marketing industry, iSentia never seemed to know what to do with their new toy. The demise of King Content has been a long time coming, as a result.
  • King Content was very focused on sales. What Sarah saw in the marketplace was a very aggressive agency that was always going to have trouble delivering on the services they’re selling. In content marketing the sale is the easy part but the delivery is hard. King Content was a great sales machine.

 

“It’s always easy in the beginning. Where the delivery becomes difficult is at seven months, and the second year, at the third year, at the fourth year. To keep that delivery going and to scale that business and to scale across regions and continents and to maintain it was always going to be difficult to do.”  — Sarah

 

  • What the failure proves is that running a content marketing agency is hard. You can’t mass-produce content. It’s a quality product. You have to look after your clientele. The strategy and the content have to be tailor-made.
  • There was also a huge turnover of staff at King Content.
  • Nic says, if you’re going to do content marketing, have a relationship with your agency; don’t have a transaction.
  • King Content’s demise does not mean content marketing agencies can’t succeed; it just takes collaboration between the service provider and the brand. Critics saying the model doesn’t work are ignoring the fact this is how modern marketing works — brands bring in agencies for their expertise and contacts.
  • When you’re creating content it is for your brand, so you need to have a partnership with your agency. You can’t “set and forget”. It’s a collaboration. It’s up to your brand to be involved and committed and work closely with your content marketing service provider.

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