Content is obviously a major buzzword these days. Whether you're in marketing or not, you hear the word all the time. Let’s break this down a little more so that we can understand what we really mean when we say “content.”
Content simply means anything a brand produces that can be promoted, primarily online, but also in traditional platforms as well. Whether it's a video, blog, newsletter, ebook, white paper, podcast, livestream, app, game, microsite, product, infographic, GIF, case study, online course, photo, presentation, webinar, testimonials - whatever - content is what keeps a brand top-of-mind and a valuable resource for its target audience. It’s what makes the internet so incredibly beneficial, yet insanely crowded.
Many brands suffer from content regurgitation or lazily sharing content instead of creating their own from scratch. It used to be that a company would produce an ad, whether in-house or through their agency of record, run that ad for a certain amount of time, track it to see if it worked, and then run another one. Now that there are so many different ways a brand can express itself online, it's imperative for companies to take advantage of the tools at their disposal. I’d like to point out here that just because we have the tools, doesn’t mean we have to use them all, all the time. They key is to only utilize the platforms that work well for your brand and are relevant to your audience.
It's time to double down on original content creation.
The days of simply putting all your dollars into paid advertising and waiting for sales are over. Don’t get me wrong: paying for space is a great way to reach the masses and its detailed targeting is critical to any company’s brand strategy. I'm not saying that paid advertising is going away or that you should shy away from it by any means. What I am saying is that it shouldn't be your ONLY strategy. When people hear “advertising,” they think of TV, billboards and print ads, but the industry has transformed to include any type of brand expression that manifests itself in a tangible way. You’ve got to create things that resonate, and you have to do it consistently.
What type of content should you produce?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer here. The type of content you should produce is the type of content that educates, persuades or entertains your audience. Create the content that you would want to consume. Reverse-engineer your content strategy based on what you know your audience likes. If you’re in insurance, and a huge part of your strategy hinges on educating your consumers, you should invest in regular blogging, ebooks, videos, and infographics that teach your customers and potential customers how to avoid risk and protect their assets. Don't worry too much about the specific type of content. Focus on the message you're getting out and that you're getting it out consistently.
Committing to thought leadership (that is, establishing yourself as a credible resource in your field) while building genuine relationships with people through engaging content is the future of this industry.
And it seems like a natural fit, right? The concept of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) applies here and should really be a part of any major brand’s content strategy. Consumers spend a lot of time researching before they purchase, and many sales are being lost without even hearing a sales pitch directly from the company. It's important that all of your assets - online and offline - are engaging, valuable and most importantly, original. Don't settle for sharing a link you thought was cool. Put in the work now to create content you can call your own, and it will pay off in the long run.
Now, get out there and create something worth consuming.
Ready to double down? Drop us a line in the comments, tweet at us at @toucanads or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toucan is a New Orleans advertising agency.