Content marketing has no definition
It’s funny seeing the frenzy surrounding content marketing and trying to ascertain what the hype is really about. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a post or article that includes the following daft expressions; compelling, engaging, storytelling, unique, relevant, share-worthy. Why would a brand set out to write a really unengaging communication that wasn’t unique, relevant or have some form of call to action. Of course there are examples that challenge this approach, but these words somehow ridicule the essence of real content marketing.
Now this leads me to defining ‘real’ content marketing and again, I’m running across a well-polished floor covered in banana skins. It’s all about the blog no trouble. No, it’s not about the blog nor is it about churning out tons and tons of content, be it blog posts, articles, social media messages or random PR’s. The answer is not about fulfilling a perceived demand by shoe-horning a set of solutions that many think will accomplish this need.
Content marketing versus commercial objectives
Content marketing by definition has no specific definition. Its meaning is defined by business needs and objectives. Examples:
- Our 2015 goal is to drive traffic by 50% and improve conversion by 1%.
- Our company’s search strategy is shot – how can I fix it?
- Our website mirrors that of our competitors.
- My communication strategy is incoherent and inconsistent.
- Our outreach strategy misses our target audience. Who is our target audience and does our product or service resonate with their interests?
- Our brand strategy lacks direction and conflicts with ATL and digital campaigns.
- Customer relations sits next to our call centre agents and social media sits in the digital team.
Devil’s in the Detail
These are just a few of the goals our clients have faced over the last 12months and whilst we tend to tackle such examples with a very specific remedy, it’s undoubtedly overlaid with a ‘form’ of content marketing. I’d go so far as saying ‘content generation’ is the simple part of a process that should be followed to execute a highly effective campaign that addresses one or more of the examples laid out above. Surely content marketing is the vehicle used to fulfil these goals, but more importantly, the crucial element of any highly effective campaign is in the research and strategy phase. Understanding and knowing who your company is targeting and why should mean the ‘how’ part is relatively straightforward to follow. Okay, it needs creative flair and experience but the generic view that it is about storytelling or churning out reams of verbose content is NOT content marketing.