Post image for Top ten reasons to “Make Content, Not Ads”

Top ten reasons to “Make Content, Not Ads”

on January 4, 2011

If your company is only communicating with your audience through advertising, you’re missing a number of huge opportunities. There are tons of benefits to creating content over creating ads.

My top ten reasons to “Make Content, Not Ads.”

1. Production time: Advertisers spend forever tweaking ads and must go through endless levels of approval. Content producers can work alone or in small efficient groups.

2. Inventory: Ad inventory is always limited. There’s an endless inventory for creating content, especially if you’re operating online.

3. Production space: Ads have limited space. Content producers can fill up as much space as they want.

4. Branding: “Ads” in general have a negative brand. People often say they ignore ads, or are sick of ads. No one ever says they ignore content.

5. Search: People search for content. They don’t search for ads. In fact, ads get in the way of their search for content.

6. Destination: Content is always the destination. Unless you’re showing the best Superbowl commercials, ads are never the destination.

7. Placement: When people visit a site or blog, their eyes immediately go towards the center, where the content is. Ads must be relegated to the sides where people aren’t looking. Or they appear in the center but must be labeled as advertising.

8. Social media: People share content via social media. “Media” is a synonym for “content.” People rarely share ads via social media.

9. Investment: Money spent on content is cumulative. Content you created in January builds upon and continues providing value to February and beyond. Ads you purchase in January have no value in February or beyond. You have to keep spending money to stay relevant.

10. Audience: There is no limit to the audience you can get from content. With ads you pay for the audience you get. Want more audience, pay more.

Content is the currency of social media and search. How much are you printing? Find out more at Spark Media Solutions.

Stock photos courtesy of Shutterstock.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Joel January 5, 2011 at 1:21 am

Hi David.

I see what you are trying to say here, but to me, it reads wrong. Advertising does work, there's no doubt about it. Coke is a pretty good example. As for branding, how much do you think they spend to retain top of mind awareness ?

Create content not ads ? Come on, now. The old spice commercial, no matter how it did, is an ad. It's what is called long form.

Interview with someone who pays for that privilege? That's not content, that's advertorial. Now doing an interview with a sponsor on a mic with a preroll and thank you…that's an ad too – a branding one.

What bothers me most, is companies who create content that has no meaning. Press releases that don't say anything, ie “Company X has lunch.” That gets in the way of content and is literally a 'look over here' ad. And what's worse, is that as for the internet, ethical journalism is thrown to wind. There's more long form ads than there is meaningful content. Especially where I've been sitting, I know people who make a living at creating content that's sponsored…but they don't tell their audience that it is sponsored. It's sad. Smoke and mirrors all for the quick buck. No integrity.

So – when it comes to creating content to promote a business, be careful. Be a thought leader, and show that you have something meaningful to say, rather than cheerleading or creating meaningless content.

Content should be designed to educate, inform, inspire, and provide opinion. Not to shill.

Keep it clean. Ads are good because they are simply honest.

David Spark January 5, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Of course advertising has value. There's a whole industry dedicated to it.

But as we've seen with Internet usage, that to get recognized there you must have an editorial voice. There's no reason a business, any business, can't behave just like a media network. Media networks behave like a business.

All organizations have wisdom and interesting things that their customers want to know. Are you a big fan of motorcycles? Harley-Davidson? Wouldn't you like to know about specific aspects of maintenance of a Harley from the guy who designed the bike? Of course you would. That's editorial voice from the company and it's of huge value to the people who want that content.

Ultimately, the decision as to what's advertising and what's content is up to the viewer to determine. Something can be set out to be advertising but be very entertaining and therefore it's seen as content. Case in point Super Bowl ads.

Charles Baratta January 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm

If basing only in the Internet what you are saying is true “Content is more effective than Ads”. When you look at the case study of how people view results at the Google(Since majority of us use Google) page you will see that people DON'T focus on Ads and Sponsored Links. That means ADS are DENIED by viewers, well at least almost all of them. While people who uses Content gets more attention, since people in the internet are more interested in something to read than just pictures of ads.

Charles Baratta

denimesasx January 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

As decided and what is advertising material is up to the audience are determining. Some advertising will be set out but very entertaining and that this material be seen as. Case in point Super Bowl ads.
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