In yet another lengthy screed touting the importance of engaging content as the saving grace of all things advertising, corporate finance guy (yeah, not an ad guy) Tony Walford takes about 1,000 words
what can be said in ten -- "create something your intended
audience will like and react to."
It's really that simple. Whether or not the piece of communication is an amusing video, an informative article or a straight-up ad, it's simply
about creating non-boring, informative content that answers questions and concerns. Now, yes, putting this simplicity into action is much harder than just adhering to those ten words. If it were, any
idiot could work in marketing.
The problem with content marketing, of course, is that everyone is trying to do it and most are doing it very, very poorly. The general strategy seems to be
that more is better and that cheesy, Upworthy-style teaser headlines are the way to go. But as we all know, classical conditioning tells us that if you continue to yell fire and there's never an
actual fire, when there is an actual fire and you yell fire, no one will come. That, in a nutshell, is what's wrong with all marketing today. In an effort to win the SEO game, brands are pumping out a
ridiculous amount of content, and the only thing that content is achieving is to insure that people continue to ignore the content.
But in a battle of who can scream the loudest for the
longest, there's really no eliminating the amount of crap content that passes for advertising these days. After all, it's not like we can get every marketer in the world to agree to a cease fire and
restart so that advertising can return to a somewhat more sane level of activity
yes, and how about all the crap advertising that tries to pass itself off as content. All told is a sad state of affairs with the 'natives' winning the game so far.
Respectfully disagree. The art of content marketing has made advertising smarter, more memorable and increasingly impactful. In fact, I would submit that over the last 3 years we've seen some of the best ad creatives ever. Sure, have there been lame attempts to make one chuckle that turned into people laughing at the brand not with it? Or poorly timed uses of "sadvertainment" that only made us turn away in distaste? Sure. The same can me said about any video entertainment. See Adam Sandler's career over the last 10 years.
The fact is, it's never been a better time to be a story-teller and made for the web creative that doesn't sit in a 15 or 30 second box now has the user initiated placements and sharing functionality that makes content marketing work at scale. Yes, some creative does suck...some always will. But if you look at just 2014- from American Greeting's Toughest job story, to Westjet's Share a Coke Campaign to Under Armour's work featuring Misty Copeland - they were Adage's Marketer of the Year BTW- it should give you great hope for where we're going- we're not pandering to people we're connecting with them in more emotional ways and I would submit that's a good thing for us all.