If 87% of buyers say that online content has a major or moderate impact on vendor preference and selection, then why is it that so many South African companies and individuals appear to be disinclined to create and publish valuable content online?

Perhaps the reason for South Africa’s tardiness in creating and sharing valuable content, lies in the mistaken belief that this form of marketing is expensive. Perhaps companies are strapped for resources, or are not entirely sure as to how to go about addressing the content marketing tool.

The fact is that South Africans are ingenious. Many leading technologies that are used worldwide today, were originally designed and developed in this country. Why are we not sharing our good ideas? Our viewpoint is without question, worth much!

Content marketing = big cost | Dispel that Myth!

Content marketing can cost far less that traditional advertising. Let us compare a single print advert with a single online article.

A single print advert of a reasonable size in a magazine or a newspaper, will cost upwards of R 10k to place. In addition to that, we will still need to fork out for someone to write and design the graphics for the ad – another R 5k is feasible for this. A printed ad provides you with fairly limited exposure as it will appear just once and you can’t distribute it in its native form across your network through any other channels.

An article written for your blog on the other hand, will cost upwards of R 1000 if written by a professional writer. If you write it yourself – you’re looking at simply your time. That article will typically be posted on your blog, however you can also post it across your social network and use it as part of your company newsletter. In addition, that article will be online for as long as your blog is, so it will garner hits and all the benefits that content marketing has to offer, for years to come.

So South African companies need to recognise content marketing as an investment in their present and future marketing strategies, rather than simply a cost to the business.

Content Curation vs. Content Creation – a Question of Terms

Articles regarding content marketing abound on the internet, using terms such as the ‘curation’, ‘creation’, ‘automation’ and ‘aggregation’ of content. There are two key approaches however which include re-distribution of existing content and the development of original content.

Curation: This is the act of finding, filtering (for relevancy) and sharing appropriate information regarding a subject. Although you can add your comments and perspective, you are generally redistributing existing content. For more information, take a look at Wikipedia which covers the term ‘Media Curation’ in good detail – click here to view.

Creation: This is the development of your own original content from scratch using your own opinions, experience and material. You can reference other sources in your content, but doing so will generally be in support of your own viewpoint.

What should shared content result in?

Your core objective in any content marketing strategy should be centred around the creation and curation of content that:

  • Compels clients and prospects to share your content with their networks;
  • Encourages prospects to subscribe to your news feed or newsletter;
  • Provides a great source of specialised information for customers and prospects.

Content Curation vs. Content Creation – Which is Best?

Some say that curating content through your blog, website and social media network is sufficient on its own. While redistributing good information sources may be beneficial to your audience – this is an approach that should be used to add value to your content marketing efforts rather than as a content marketing strategy on its own.

For a great list of the Pro’s and Con’s of both content creation and content curation, read this fantastic article on ‘Social Media Today’.

Original Content is King
While curating content is great as a way of adding more diversity and overall value to your own original content, unless you are looking to become a news portal, creating original content encourages a more personalised relationship with your audience.

It also helps you to become recognised as an authorative voice on a subject, thereby boosting your  reputation as an industry expert. In addition, creating and distributing your own content will help to generate trust in, as well as promote your products and services.

Importantly however, original content maximises Search Engine Optimisation and gives Google a very good, solid reason to reference your website in preference to your competitors.

Google’s relatively new algorithm – Panda – actually seeks to track, recognise and then promote authors who it sees as distributing regular, valuable content on the internet. That author could be you!

Content curation is something of a science

Creating your own content is relatively straight forward when you compare it to the considerations you need to take into account when curating content. Pawan Deshpande, founder and CEO of Curata provides us with 6 annotation strategies to help us republish content correctly.

It is important to ensure that if you do decide to curate content, that it is highly relevant to your target market – or to your customers and prospects. Be sure to select high quality articles that deliver valuable information that you would be happy to use yourself.

The final verdict

In answer to the question as to whether South Africans should create or curate content – there is no doubt that original, customised content is our clear winner.  

Right now, South African customers are trawling the internet for answers to their burning questions, and being fed with content from the US and Europe. So there is a dire need for content that has been created by South Africans, for South Africans.

If you want to be ahead of the curve, you need to start becoming a voice in your industry. When your competitors do finally wake up in a few years time – yours should be the hard act that they need to follow!

For advice as to how to design and manage your content marketing strategy, give Garth Dahl or Shiraz Khatib a call on 021 556 5661 or email us: info@theformula.co.za. Our marketing consultations are always free because we thrive on being a part of your success!

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