The digital landscape is oozing with content as brands looking to drive inbound marketing, storytelling, awareness, lead generation and community stature.

This content is designed to engage consumers but there’s a big and growing problem: too much content is being created.

When every brand is leveraging content to capture the attention of customers, it becomes overwhelming and, frankly, ineffective.

In the past few years, brands have jumped hard on the content bandwagon.

Content allows brands to deliver value and position themselves as thought leaders, domain experts, and go-to resources. In a world chock-a-block with competition options, content lets brands differentiate themselves.

Well, that’s the theory.

The reality is that content is a quantity rather than a quality proposition. Too many brands create content for the sake of content. This content is not providing value or insight; it only adds to the mountain of digital information.

The challenge for brands, however, is brands have to create content. Otherwise, they are at a competitive disadvantage. When a rival is publishing white papers, blog posts and infographics, a brand has little choice but to create content as well, right?

This is not a winning formula. It consumes valuable resources and fails to drive growth or strategic goals.

There is a better approach. Rather than go through the motions with content, brands should create content with a purpose.

What is “purpose”?

To me, it is content that effectively engages customers by delivering insight, information, guidance and entertainment. It is content that drives brand awareness, brand affinity and thought leadership.

Content with a purpose propels your business forward. It captures the attention of consumers and pulls them into the sales funnel. It is content that piques someone’s interest or curiosity.

It is content that showcases how and why someone would experience your product.

It is content that makes consider and explore a purchase. And it’s content that closes deals by making your product irresistible or a no-brainer.

And it’s content that closes deals by making your product irresistible or a no-brainer.

What it’s not

It is not content that dutifully follows templates or scheduled to appear at certain times on certain platforms.

It is not content that has more to do with your product than your customers.

It is not content that fails to generate a reaction because it is just okay.

In a recent post about the future of content marketing, Janessa Lantz suggests it’s about “less content”. She says the focus needs to shift away from content that is under-performing and increasingly less effective.

Instead, Lantz says content marketers need to think like product managers. They need to determine and prioritize content that will have the highest impact.

In other words, Lantz is saying quantity doesn’t matter if most of your content doesn’t work.

As content marketing evolves, brands will need to embrace new strategic and tactical approaches. They need to stop thinking like publishers and start thinking like brands focused on delivering value to customers. Their content needs to be designed and developed with purpose and focus.

I’ve worked with dozens of startups and fast-growing companies that want to jump-start their marketing. My services are driven by a framework and processes focused on analysis, messaging, strategic planning and content development. If you want marketing that makes a difference, lets talk. If you’re looking for free insight, subscribe to my weekly newsletter, which features hand-picked startup content from across the Web.