Friday, September 13, 2013

Content - The new darling

+ Content. It's a hot topic in the world of advertising and marketing. And it has been for the last couple years. But is it really something that groundbreaking?

I mean, think about it. What is content? Stories. Illustrations. Photos. Articles. Graphs. Videos. Games. Ads (yes, even those!).

It's pretty much everything. So why the headlines like "Content Is King" and the like? Fragmentation has a lot to do with it. We're fighting for eyeballs (yeah that sounds gross) across a broader spectrum of media.

But the basis for what that content is made up of really isn't anything new. What is new is the importance of creating good extraordinary and effective content.

Many brands still are willing to pay millions to get a TV spot produced, but they won't spend the necessary money to create extraordinary and effective content. Why? Well, some of it is ignorance, and some of it is the lack of understanding what it takes to do content well.

Think back to any TV ad you have viewed online. Maybe you took the effort to seek it out, or someone sent it to you. If you liked it, you shared it by either sending it directly to someone you know or posting it on a social network for others to see. And that's how even TV ads are part of the content matrix for a brand. It's not just about copy on a website or tweets. It's really all-encompassing at each customer touchpoint.

By now we should all be aware that anything that is liked (or even hated) will end up on the web in some form. Smartphones make it simple to snap a photo of a print ad, direct mailer, or record a video of a TV spot. Whether the brands are putting that content out there themselves, it is of no matter. The fact is that it will get out there. And there is an even bigger place than before, since the internet really has no geographic or demographic borders (well, mostly).

In my opinion, it's always been important to have extraordinary and effective content, no matter the media. It needs to Delight through entertaining stories, provide unexpected perks, and deliver exceptional experiences (virtual or real). It needs to Enlighten through education, awareness and utility. Yes, The age of Delightenment! ;)

So for me, this royal coronation of content seems like just another bit of drama that's missing the point.

It comes down to starting with a solid strategy, understanding your audience, and 360-execution.

Here are just a few articles I've found that go deeper into creating content strategies. Although most of them are focused solely on website content, they have themes that are applicable to any other content that is created:
Content Strategy: Optimizing Your Efforts For Success
5 Ways to Maximize the Value of your Content
Make Your Content Make a Difference

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