Content Marketing. A modern marketing term almost as popular as Social Media (and we see the trouble many companies got into over that).
Then, there’s the other big word: Strategy. Longer term, bigger picture solutions versus the day-to-day tactical actions taken by companies to achieve short-term goals (e.g., drive sales) and handle more immediate issues.
After Content Marketing, Then What?
Content marketing has been defined pretty well by the Content Marketing Institute (who knew there was an institute? Wow.):
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
In layman terms, it could be called useful, helpful, non-pitchy information, data and insights. I guess the type of communication you get from… friends. And advisors or professionals. And, oh yeah, family! The difference is the world has shifted from sales pitches to informed pieces of information, even from complete strangers.
So Content Marketing Strategy would then be:
Using content in a more editorial context to present useful information that would positively impact your brand in a way that other media forms could not. It would grow over time in terms of relevance and meaning to your audience and give your brand potentially more relevance than “traditional media.”
But after you’ve achieved good content (words, stories, ideas), how do you present it in a way that anyone will care about?
The Skill Set Mom Does Not (Likely) Have
She may be a great cook. May tell a good story. Might even be able to carry a tune. Might rock when others roll. Might even be able to refrain from backseat driving. May even laugh at the same off-color jokes you do.
But can she help your content look as meaningful and relevant as it might actually be? Ummm…. not too likely.
Because with a new blog every half-second or so, one must ask, “How can I compete?”
The Lost Art (of Type, Coffee and Movies)
When it comes to online communications, it’s been a slow boat for quality design to surface. The most abused and ignored skill set being typography. The art form of using type well. By this, I do not mean “choosing a font” though there have been major strides in that direction of online typography.
Just for the record, typography means the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible. It comes from the Greek words τύπος (typos) = form and γραφή (graphe) = writing.
But like anything, you have the low end of the spectrum and you have the high end. To say my 7-year-old nephew shoots movies and Spielberg shoots movies might convey they’re doing the same thing. Yet while they’re each shooting movies, the difference in the final outcome will be as enormous as the span of the Grand Canyon. It’s comparable to saying the “cappuccino” they sell at fast food chains or convenience stops is the same as the cappuccino made by a fine barista in your favorite boutique coffee house.
How many ways can one “make language visible”?
- By selecting a distinct font. OK.
- One can make it more visible by making that font bigger (but if your choice was a bad and ugly font, then you’ve made it that much more bad and ugly — putting the “ugh” in ugly).
- One can make it a colorful choice, but if it was ugly before, now it’s merely ugly and colorful. (Remember the Mimi character from the Drew Carey Show?)
- The list can go on, but you get the point.
There’s another way to “make language visible.”
Make the type speak. I’ll explain by visual example below.
I Hear What You Said. Now,
Can You Show Me What You Mean?
Let’s say we had the following topics (titles) being used for some articles or blog posts:
- The Cooked Egg
- The partnership of Google, the Guggenheim and YouTube as an art event
- A story on the box as a package design element
- Cleavage (something I created for my Fast Company column on the curvaceous empire of Ms. Kardashian)
- Coffee in NYC
How could you “make language visible” with the above words?
Instead of merely choosing a font, how would we do more?
These Words Brought to Life
Or, Lastly, This
Fact is, type is a tool, not just another thing to randomly pick without much thought.
Yes, I designed all the above examples, but adding that visual edge changes the dialog quite a bit when you help paint the picture for the reader. Kind of like the difference between a photograph versus a video with motion and sound. It simply helps the message A-R-R-I-V-E. And when you’re branding, whether it’s under the umbrella of “content marketing” or not, it matters. Every detail does. Something Daymond John from Shark Tank explains here.
And the great thing is, you can do it while sitting with mom over an afternoon coffee or snack.
Like what you see? Want some for your own brand? Let’s talk.