How many movies can you actually compare content marketing to?
Probably all of them. And no offense if you love Breaking Bad. I love it too. Obsessed actually. And surely there are some amazing storytelling principles that you can extract from the show.
The problem with “content marketing” as a term, job or approach is that it’s by nature very tactical. It can easily be done in a silo. If you are a marketer, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from creating, aggregating, and curating content and then posting it up in social media channels without having a strategy. You can hire consultants, agencies, and even third-party journalists and bloggers using platforms to create content and campaigns on your behalf. It’s fairly easy and affordable to use services like Poptent or Genius Rocket to crowdsource highly produced video content.
And guess what? You can do all of this without actually talking to anyone in your company. Now, the content itself might not be epic or change any specific consumer behavior but it’s not hard to do, and it’s not all that expensive.
The reason why many of the brands struggle with content, storytelling, and scale is because they are looking at content from an elementary point of view. Content is not a box you check, a bubble you fill in, or a bullet point in a PowerPoint presentation. It’s so much more than SEO, more than videos, Infographics, Instagram photos, and real-time marketing. You can’t learn about content from clever blog titles like “10 Proven Tips to Learn This” or “How Content Marketing Is Like Top Gun.” Content must be considered a strategic imperative for your business. You must become a content organization if you want to take your business to the next level.
Just as there is an art to storytelling; there also needs to be a strategic and operational plan that can help you create and distribute content; integrate it across paid, earned, and owned media; and measure it effectively. As a marketer, brand manager, or small business owner you must move beyond the content marketing buzzword and commit to building a long-term content strategy that will allow you to execute your content marketing initiatives flawlessly and at scale.
For these reasons, your business, whether large or small, must start taking content serious and begin to make the right organizational changes to adapt to the external marketplace. It’s not going to change for you. This also means that you need to elevate the conversation beyond content marketing.
Your brand must become a media company.
All media companies are content machines. They have the correct structures in place, aligned teams, a robust editorial process, and they execute the distribution of their content flawlessly. Your brand must follow this model. Realizing that you still have rigorous business goals, you must challenge the status quo and think about content the way media companies do.
So you may be asking yourself, “why a media a company?”
Following are five characteristics of media companies you must adopt for your brand if you expect to make an impact, break through the noise, and reach consumers with game-changing content.
Media companies tell stories. Conde’ Nast has a diverse narrative told through their media properties from fashion and travel to sports and weddings. Traditional news organizations also tell stories, although their narrative is current and/or breaking news. Some news outlets have tried to up-level their narrative by using anecdotes like “Fair & Balanced” to differentiate themselves from their competition.
Media companies are content machines with an “always on” mentality. It doesn’t matter what time a day it is or what the hour, media companies distribute content all the time. For example, the New York Times publishes 1,500+ articles per day (including those from AP, Reuters, and so on) and 200 to 400 blog posts.
Media companies provide relevant content all the time to someone, somewhere. They aren’t in the business of providing content that’s a few days or weeks old, unless they are holding off on a story to get more detailed information. The content is recent and, in many cases, real-time.
Media companies are everywhere. They dominate the search engine results and their content is shared daily across social media channels. They produce videos and advertise, and even their journalists have started building their own personal brands, which also feed the content engine day in and day out.
Media companies move quickly. They have subject matter experts and contributing writers who are prepared to write about any topic at any time. They also employ creative teams that can produce visual content at a moment’s notice. They aren’t held captive by approvals from a brand team or lawyers. They are content organizations and move quickly. They have workflows that facilitate the entire content supply chain (ideation, creation, approval, distribution and integration.
So let’s elevate the conversation about content, shall we?
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I completely agree with you about “content marketing” as a buzzword and the need to looking at content marketing more holistically, rather than just trying to fill the void… but I do take a bit of a difference to what kind of content is valuable for businesses to create.
This really comes down to what kind of business you are.. B2B, B2C, fun, educational, serious, etc… But to me, creating content that helps.. that people want to say “thank you!” for in the comments is much more powerful than content that is responding to some external current event or social trend. The “always on” approach gives you ideas for content that may drive more clicks and reads, but that kind of content isn’t really what drives business value in my experience. It may drive brand sentiment, but that isn’t the top concern of most marketers.. Most marketers care about hpw they can increase marketing effectiveness (conversion rates) and increase customer retention. Promoting relevent content is the best way to do both.. but the content is relevent to consumer based on their relationship/interest in the business.. not what is currently on TV.
I wanted to dive into this topic a bit more.. because I feel that the term “real-time marketing” is at even more danger of being misrepresented in the media than content marketing is. Would love your thoughts there.. http://www.evergage.com/blog/real-time-marketing-isnt-what-you-think-it-is