Part of the problem is a widespread belief that content is content -- any will do. Generic content typically lacks relevance that not only doesn't it engage consumers, but its lack of uniqueness can hurt the integrity of a brand.
Successful content marketers need to think less like advertisers and more like publishers. Publishers distinguish themselves in several ways. They apply distinct inclusion criteria to every pivotal content decision. They adopt a "pull" orientation rather than "push," allowing consumers to define the conversation. Finally, publishers dynamically plan and create content on a more "real-time" basis than on a rigid, cyclical campaign-centric basis.
Red Bull is a content-marketing success story, having shifted from energy-drink manufacturer to content dynamo, particularly with 2011's film "The Art of Flight" and last year's record-setting Stratos Jump, featuring a helmet-cam video of Felix Baumgartner's free fall. By understanding what its consumers are most interested in and consistently aligning content -- and the brand -- with action sports and adrenaline seekers, it has been able to cut through the content marketing clutter. But brands don't have to send a stuntman to the edge of space; a few simple rules will help stem the tide of bad branded content.
Support content by fueling the fire. The best content experts strive to create "elastic" content that stretches across multiple channels and devices and is shared by consumers.
If you haven't already done so, it is likely past time to update your approach to content. A brand with poor-performing content runs the risk of getting lost in in today's distraction-filled environment.