The Emperor’s new clothes? Pt. 1 – Content Marketing

April 9, 2013
Andy Murphy

Each year the great and good and the social media “gurus” predict trends for 2013. The big one this year apparently will be Content Marketing. This ‘ground-breaking’ new trend is so radical that it will change the way you do PR, marketing and any of the other 4P’s…

Sounds exciting and something I should be doing. What is it then?

Wikipedia says “Content marketing…involves the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of gaining customers”. Its “basic premise” is to “provide some valuable information or entertainment – ‘content’ – that stops short of a direct sales pitch or call to action, but which seeks to positively influence a customer in some way”.

That sounds familiar…

It is! The simple way of looking at content marketing is to produce content that consumers find interesting and want to consume. Something we’ve been doing for our clients for years here at Performance Communications. So it really is a case of the Emperor’s new clothes?
Probably yes. Content marketing might well be a new name for an old, tried and tested marketing technique, but it does serve to remind us of a few basic processes brands and their agencies should bear in mind when producing campaigns and content.

[acc_item title=”Phase 1 – Understand your audience”]Where do they talk? What are they talking about? What interests them? If you don’t understand your audience, how can you engage them? What are the insights you can glean?[/acc_item] [acc_item title=”Phase 2 – Create or curate relevant content”]How can you as a brand contribute and improve their life in some worthy way? Ok, maybe that’s a bit grand, but how can you make them smile? Think about where and how they consume content and develop yours to suit them.[/acc_item] [acc_item title=”Phase 3 – Distribution”]So you now have a kick-ass piece of content. So what? Kevin Costner was wrong, if you build it, they won’t necessarily come. You need to tell your audience. You have a number of means at your disposal, mainly grouped around 3 areas:

  1. Paid – Seeding through networks or advertising
  2. Owned – Through your own website or social platforms
  3. Earned – a.k.a. Blogger outreach or media relations or influencer engagement – Whatever you call it, now is the time to start talking to the communities and media that you have been building good relations with…you have been doing that, right?
[/acc_item] [acc_item title=”Phase 4 – Measurement”]Clients and agencies (should) want to understand what worked and what didn’t. This shouldn’t be just a vanity exercise, think about what you want to achieve before doing it. If there’s no return, then why bother? If you just want to increase brand awareness, that’s fine, but you can still measure it, so do it.[/acc_item]


So, is ‘content marketing’ just a modern day set of lightweight threads for the king? Probably yes. It’s a given, or it should be. All brands should be doing a version of this, albeit under a different name. Produce interesting content that has a purpose and interest for consumers.

If you’d like more BS-free advice on your communications strategy, give us a call and we can help you avoid the see-through outfits and deliver campaigns that just work.

Image courtesy of University of South Carolina Libraries

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