‘Content. This brand asked me to produce some content for them, I mean doesn’t that sound a bit… wanky.’ This was put to me by a friend during a catch up over breakfast. ‘Does it?’, I reflected, as I stared contentedly at my vegan burrito. See what I’ve done there with the intentional pun. It’s the start of a story, this story, a ‘content’ piece about content.
Look content IS important.
Why? Because how else are people going to discover the story behind a product, company or service? If you don’t tell them, then how will people know?
Why do we (us marketing people) use the word content? Because content has to be created. And you want to be creative, right? Sure, content can be a catch all for, images, video, words… but we could use the word ‘story’ as a synonym. Story Marketing. In fact, if that were on the menu, I’d LOVE that. Your story or the brand’s story or the product’s story implies a narrative, with a beginning, middle and conclusion. I’d love it if each post on social media, each video, each blog took this form. But that’s not necessarily possible. So, we use the term content to let you, the creative, decide in what format you want to talk about the product, service or company. I’m not sure it’s a term I’d associate with obscenity though?
Content (stories) are important for brands. And for you. And for life. I don’t want to see another vacuous post on Instagram which is basically another breakfast selfie with a hashtag and a brand mention. That’s cheap. And audiences see through it. It’s not legitimate pier to pier recommendation. It’s the realm of pay per click. It isn’t natural, or to use another advertising parlance, organic. It is often, or should be, read as paid social. And people can see through paid social – even if it doesn’t read #spon or #ad#, but probably should.
What makes a story?
What you had for breakfast? #vegan #burrito #breakfast? Or a genuine story about where you’re eating it, who with, how you came to be there, what journey you are on, how you are fuelling that adventure and what’s next? Your post-breakfast destiny? Any post needs a narrative, ‘I battled burritos for breakfast’ isn’t even a short-story. Not even flash-fiction. Although it could be the makings of an interesting anecdote.
Perhaps the reason people are irked by the term content is that a lot of it put out there is bad, boring, banal. Just irrelevant, and it takes up our feeds (literally – not at mealtimes). But it remains an important medium when cooked up properly. It drives engagement, it builds hype, gives us exciting topics to talk about in newsletters and social media, helps us tell the story of what products are actually being used for and why. It’s interesting information, engaging visually and hopefully inspiring.
GIVE ME STORIES PLEASE CONTENT CREATORS. Think about your story. Why is it relevant, what does it say about the product, the brand, but mostly what does it say about you? These things matter to us marketers, as much as they do to you the storyteller. So be creative. Tell us a story. If it’s about vegan breakfast burritos… all the better.