Long Live the New King: Content
Why should businesses stop talking about “marketing content” and start working on creating real content? And how do you create the right content for the right people?
We’ll start with what works best. Microsoft founder Bill Gates was the first to put content on a royal throne when, 18-years-ago, during a captivating speech that proved his genius in being able to predict the future he announced, “Content is king”. Seth Godin, marketing guru and one of the most popular business bloggers in the world today, went further when he tied content to the business world saying, “Content marketing is the only marketing left.”
From Intrusive to Native
With the onset of the digital revolution, the spread of the internet, and the development of search engines, we became far more exposed to content and information, which became more accessible everywhere we searched for it, in particular with the entry of smart phones. We live in a screen-heavy world where the average person owns five screens – TV, desk-top, smart phone, tablet, laptop, and soon, we’ll add wearables and cars to this list. Advertisers try to attract consumers or potential customers via all their platforms and screens.
The multi-screen world resulted in the most significant change in human behavior since the internet came into our lives. The world became much more complex, consumers changed, and so did their needs. They became more demanding and a lot less patient, and businesses have had to better adapt themselves accordingly in the short time frame they’ve been given.
Consumers don’t want to see a pop-up ad for car insurance appear on their screen while they’re reading an article about summer nutrition. They’re looking for relevance. They’ll cooperate when they get value, and with whoever gives them the right content, at the right time, in the right place, in the best possible way. Think about yourself – when you’re searching for a recipe via Google, you want to find the particular recipe you’re looking for.
If you get a website that’s trying to aggressively “market” irrelevant products to you, you’ll immediately move onto a portal that you trust and that you know will provide you with the precise content you need. But what if your business or brand sets up that kind of portal – one that doesn’t “push” its products, rather “combines” them into the content in a relevant way? In this new era, part of a business’ production lines – irrespective of industry – has to include a content production line. This content must serve the marketing messages and, of course, the brand and business goals.
But it must also create engagement and offer value to whoever the content is meant to touch. This is what will cause people to interact with the brand, to increase their appreciation for it and to share their personal information with it, and in so doing, increase the company’s database.
Targeting is the key word. Even if you have the right content, your mission is to present it to the relevant people within your target audience.
Is there anyone out there?
So you’ve decided to work on content, which will be as devoid of “marketing” as possible and will offer as much value as possible. What do you have to do to ensure that it reaches the right people? Targeting is the key word. Even if you have the right content, your mission is to present it to the relevant people within your target audience. There are many technological tools available today that will help you by “coloring” the users we can engage with – who they are and what interests them – based on the articles and the websites they have read and visited or have had any kind of interaction with, and this way we can offer them relevant content.
It’s a real theory.A small example: If someone opens an article comparing recommended school bags just before the school year starts, we know that we are talking about parents of children 6 and up who are starting to get ready for school. If we have content related to “back to school” or content appropriate for this target audience of parents, we can serve them this content on a variety of platforms – GDN ads, Facebook, Outbrain , etc.
Our ability to track user behavior and to react contextually, along with serving various content in different places based on the intelligence we have on them, generates an expanding database on the users and consumers.
It doesn’t matter where the technology is heading or what it offers. The wisdom of marketing professionals will be in how to correctly use collected information and from it, create the right content to optimally serve to the target audience, and generate insights from which we can improve our content production line.
And what does the future hold for content?
Just as kings have always done, they vanquish other kings and take control of their territory. In the coming years, content is expected to be the central advertising display, and thus will serve as the advertising-marketing connection between the business and the consumer.