Pardon us while we giggle. Discreetly. With our hands placed over our mouths.
About a year or so ago, the advertising and marketing world discovered the power of content, or, as an AdAge journalist defines it: “… straightforward, practical, even non-promotional information that plays well on social networks.” It’s trendy, newly fledged experts explain, because it’s everything that advertising usually isn’t, driven by quality and accountability.
Examples of content include white papers, e-books, podcasts, Webinars, bylined articles, documentaries, photographs, among others. Examples of content’s pull impact: Blogs that increased the number of customer contacts by 600 percent. Online guides which indirectly resulted in $2 million in sales. There’s even a Content Marketing Institute (shades of PR, anyone?) measuring who’s playing in this space and interpreting what it all means.
Today, journalists are in high demand as content strategists, since they understand how to infuse a goodly amount of information and stories into all different channels. So are former magazine editors and contributors. Public relations and ad colleagues are now squaring off about ownership – and, more important, revenues in this era of Big Content.
You can almost anticipate our next series of questions: What happened to the corporate communicators, inside and out, who have, for many years, recommended the publication of thought papers, infographics, documentaries that entertain and inform? Or top-flight designers, so accustomed to counseling clients about toning down the obvious “corporate sell job” in words and pictures? Name any individual who works in the business of change and leadership; chances are they, too, advise that honesty is truly the best policy, and that content, not fluff, reigns.
To us, all this content marketing is hype about non-hype. Content, by itself, is a very welcome direction towards the real, the authentic, and the candid. We applaud that wholeheartedly. [And you’re right, our discontent is showing.]