Content is king. This phrase has become a cliché in past couple of years. And clichés are not that drive marketing efforts. So, where does that leave us? Right in the middle of a winding path to marketing excellence and definitive actions, yes, that’s where we are.

Advertisement and Marketing Content
What is this winding path and all that, you may ask! Are we playing with words here? No, certainly not. That is one thing that content is not or rather should not be – word-play. But then many a times we find marketers playing with words and confusing snappy advertising copies with content. Advertisements are teasers, meant to arouse curiosity among the audience, or capsuled information intended to derive an action point from the audience. Content on the other hand may or may not be action oriented – it may be only for education or information. One major difference between adverts and marketing content is that while the former is created to broadcast what the company wants to say, the latter is created keeping in mind what audience may need to know.

Content for Consumption
Marketing content is designed to be consumed by its target audience in a manner they find most feasible. Thus content is developed keeping in mind not what it says but how it should say it. This brings into its fold two important considerations – what form should content have and how it should be distributed. With form we mean the type of content – White Paper, Case Study, Point of View, Blogs etc. And distribution channels that need to be decided on can be email, social media, real-time and on the go media or conversion centric downloadable instrument. These two – the form and distribution channels – are not mutually exclusive. While designing content an optimal connect between the two is essential.

Interaction or Engagement Centric Content
A piece of content is not just meant to be read and discarded. It is meant to be absorbed and must serve as a link to build a dialogue between the organization and its target audience. Content has to be engaging in its form and design. It has to lead the reader to an action that makes the organization build a sustainable and measurable connect with it. In that the content is not a solitary piece hanging off the marketing strategy. It is part of a well thought of Content Strategy that aligns to the overall marketing strategy of the organization.

Example
To illustrate, let’s take the example of a company trying to educate its audience about its “health is wealth” campaign, aimed at larger adoption of its new cooking oil in the market. The content it will develop to convey the message, apart from the advertisements creating awareness and inquisiteness about its product, would be to spread its message to a larger audience who is interested in health foods but is more fence sitter when it comes to making a product choice, or the segment of an audience which is not much interested in health foods and considers it a fad. In order to reach out these audience segments the company must delve on what is it that its audience would want to know – benefits of healthy cooking oil? what attributes make for healthy food and where to find them? Health food is a choice that must be made – it is a way of life and not fad? Well, all these and more could be the questions that the company would look at addressing to connect and engage with its target audience. Now it must decide how does it plan to answer these issues and through what channel. It can create web pages on health oil benefits with articles and interviews by experts and providing an opportunity for the audience to interact. This is a mix of real-time and on the go media – it required the content to be easily available for the audience on the mobile / tab and have intuitive interfaces for interaction. So, here we saw the difference between Advertisement and Marketing Content, their unique functions as well as connect between form and distribution channel for marketing content.

Please share your thoughts on marketing content, content marketing. Your experiences will enrich the understanding of the subject and build a better discourse!

“Image courtesy of [KROMKRATHOG] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

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