Does the 70 20 10 rule still apply to content excellence?

Does the 70 20 10 rule still apply to content excellence?

Written by Paula Toole

Six years ago, Coca-Cola set out its famous Content 2020 initiative; a vision to move away from creative excellence to content excellence.

In short, the drinks giant had an aim of transitioning from one-way messaging through advertising, to content optimised for audience interaction, over the course of nine years.

On the right path?

We’re now two-thirds of the way into the strategy and one of its core principles – the 70 20 10 process – remains a key foundation of many PR and content marketing strategies.

The video below explains the principle – namely, to split ideas into three approaches of varying sizes.

70 per cent of ideas need to be tried and tested content that, while still creative, will be sure to appeal to a wide audience and capture both new and returning customers.

20 per cent of ideas should be moderately risky and very much subject to trial and error; the kind of concepts that can attract new eyes to the product but might also fail to hit the target every time.

The remaining 10 per cent are difficult, risky and often complicated ideas that may only come off occasionally, but when they do could potentially bring in an entirely new audience.

Changing lanes

The approach itself can be applied to all aspects of digital marketing, and in the last six years we’ve seen an explosion in the amount of content generated and amplified every day – not only by companies and agencies, but customers themselves.

In 2017, everyone is a brand ambassador, with social media enabling customers to make or break reputations and contribute to brands’ own marketing efforts.

It begs the question – does the 70 20 10 rule still apply? With room for manoeuvre thanks to user-generated content, brands can afford to take more risks, and that 10 per cent has quickly turned into 20 per cent, with the 20 per cent turning into 30 per cent.

It means that ‘safe’ content designed to appeal to mass audiences is no longer as commonplace as it used to be, and nor should it be – existing customers need to be engaged, prospective customers need be attracted, and this cannot be achieved by churning out the same old stuff.

Coca-Cola’s Content 2020 initiative remains well on course, with content excellence having blown one-way advertising out of the water. However, while several elements of the 70 20 10 principle remain relevant, the time for always playing it safe in content marketing has passed.

Read Paula’s blog on why quality will always trump quantity in content, but relevancy is key.

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