Why Content Cannot Be A Line Item

The biggest frustration I faced during the 10+ years I worked in the advertising agency world as a content developer, copywriter and strategy director: Content development was continually regarded as a line item that a client could remove in order to reduce the overall project budget.
And because it was positioned that way, it was usually regarded as such. So, more often than not the client would remove the content line item, claiming that any copy needed for the project – whether it be a website, brochure, annual report, even video – would be written in house.
Why Content Cannot Be a Line Item
I do not blame the client at all. If the importance of content is not emphasized, why would someone pay “extra” for it? 
The problem is, without strategic, thoughtful and engaging content, what is the actual project? A beautiful website … that doesn’t engage audiences and encourage conversion. A stunning brochure … that no one actually reads. A skillfully shot video … that doesn’t leave the audience with the desire to take action.
As marketers – both in-house and agency level – it’s our job to make the distinction between “content” and “copy.”
Strong content strategy, development and marketing are business tools that engage your audience and drive specific action. They can increase brand loyalty, social engagement, search ranking, site traffic, trust, satisfaction, buy-in … the list goes on and on.
Why Content Cannot Be a Line Item
It’s time to stop viewing content development as an add-on and instead recognize it as the foundation of any strong marketing initiative.
Every brand has an interesting story to tell. We need to work hard to uncover that story and give it life, meaning and context before we decide how we’re going to share it. We need to stop focusing on the tactics and start focusing on the content. We need to make content the core, not the option.
That’s my rant and I’m sticking to it. What’s your opinion? How is content regarded, or disregarded, at your organization?
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