Content marketing: still relevant?

by Martin MacConnol – Aug 13, 2020

Ask two content marketers to discuss this topic and you will get an argument. Add a third and you will have a punch-up. No one takes the same view on what content marketing is.

But as far as Team Wardour is concerned it’s actually very simple and content marketing’s relevance in our changing world is as powerful as ever – if you use it correctly. So here’s a quick guide to how to think about content marketing so you get the most out of it.

1)   The first thing to understand is that content marketing is not a ‘marketing’ discipline at all. It’s not an alternative to advertising or direct marketing or social – or for that matter investor communications or PR. It has taken us a long time to work this out at Wardour, and we think most people still don’t get this point.

2)   Instead, you need to think of content marketing as a type of approach to audience engagement. As a brand, it’s about turning your priorities seemingly on their head. With content marketing you don’t focus on hyping the new product you want to sell. You talk instead about the challenges your audience is facing, challenges that your product might be a solution for.

3)   Content marketing has been around a long time. Back in the days when it was a magazine for a plane journey, or a newspaper at a supermarket, brands learned something. If you give people added value insight instead of just trying to bang them over the head with why you are great, audiences trust you more. They become better advocates of our brand. They buy more. They do more with you.

4)   Customer publishing of print magazines has declined in many areas for reasons of costs, fashion or simplistic CSR beliefs (they are still brilliantly effective). But its principle of added value insight has been found to still work across other media and channels. So, a content marketing strategy is a really effective way of gaining traction in advertising, or driving engagement on social channels or even helping making employees better advocates of the brand they work for.

At Wardour we’ve seen all this in action over the last 24 years and applied it successfully to everything from internal comms to direct marketing. At its heart content marketing is about making an emotional connection with your audiences as much as a rational one. It’s about showing that you are on the side of your audience, you understand their needs, you have solutions to what keeps them awake at night. When a brand gets that right content marketing works brilliantly.

In a different context, a Harvard Economics Professor, Theodore Levitt, once said: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter inch-hole.”

Content marketers know that by talking about that quarter inch hole and why people need it in the first place, an audience will not only decide to buy the drill, but become a fan for life of the brand that sells it.

Published Aug 13, 2020

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