Content Marketing is the writing and producing content (blog posts, videos, info-graphics, etc.) as a means to gather eyeballs to a website or other marketing channels. It’s a technique that can have an increasingly positive impact on a business over time, as content can be shared through social media and picked up by search engines. In addition, the producer can build their brand as well as their reputation as an authority in their space.
The problem is, a good portion of content being produced isn’t very good. For example, marketers boast of “snackable” content produced for quick consumption. Meanwhile, many find themselves falling for headlines that serve as “clickbait” to bring them to worthless trivia. In a nutshell, a lot of content isn’t produced to be of value to the reader, it’s produced to be clicked on. In other words, it’s SPAM.
That is the dark side of Content Marketing. However this begs the question, what is good content and what makes it valuable? How do we produce the good stuff?
For a start; good content is substantial, conveys a personal witness and tells a story.
Good content isn’t “consumed.” Rather, an interesting piece is something that is “meaty” enough to stick in someone’s mind and be “digested” over the course of several days. Articles, video or other pieces that challenge perspectives on something previously thought as known help inspire new ideas or approaches within the reader. Good, substantial content can build up a person to think more broadly and powerfully about a topic, issue or cause that might otherwise slip away as trivia.
However, in order to get across powerful, new ideas, content needs to offer some sliver of a personal perspective of the author. Of course, one always champions “impartial” sources for news and information as a hallmark of journalism. However, often the most compelling communication shares some aspect of the creator’s personality and reaction to what they are witnessing. If one listens carefully, an awareness develops for certain writers and editors who are able to convey their own voice without tarnishing the validity of a piece. Thus, familiar authors enable readers to be able to “read between the lines” to get a fuller flavor of their stories.
This leads to the idea of a “story,” which is what journalist often call their work. One doesn’t often hear the words “story” so much in the face of modern communications. Content on the Internet is all about “tweets,” “posts,” “articles,” “videos” – not so much about the idea of a story to be told. My Dad, a writer and journalist, often tells me of the great joy in uncovering the story; a narrative that explains and engages the reader to carry them through the information presented in a piece. Of course, the key question is whether that story is the truth. That is the great responsibility for writers, editors, artists and even content marketers, to convey the true story as they understand it.
Content marketing shows great promise as a tool for building online audiences and increasing the reach of brands and the individuals that create it, particularly if the content is substantial, shows personality and tells a story. So let’s all turn around from the evils of gimmicks and lightweight fluff writing. Let’s get to the good stuff!