Most brand storytelling wouldn’t pass the bedtime story test. Yet there’s never been a greater time for brands that can tell a story well.
Content marketing is rapidly becoming a key plank of many marketing plans (now at 33% of the average marketing budget, according to Junta42). However, much of that content, whether distributed in social media or paid media, is not content worth sharing. It lacks intrinsic value.
I enjoyed this post from Mike Sweeney at Right Source Marketing: “Don’t Let the Social Media Tail Wag the Content Marketing Dog”.
“While content marketing efforts are absolutely enhanced via social media marketing, content marketing can happen without social media marketing. On the flip side, social media marketing loses a whole lot of punch without content marketing. Without content, social media marketing stops after 140 characters and only continues when you’re ready to answer the question “What’s happening?” again, or listen to someone else’s response to that question.”
I am learning a great deal about content marketing in the course of my new Marketoonist business. For several clients, I now create a weekly ongoing cartoon as content marketing. Through trial and error, we see immediately which cartoons spread like wildfire and which ones stall. The tricky balance is to be unique, valuable, and relevant, without being advertorial. The cartoons have to touch on customers’ issues, but they can’t pitch features and benefits. They can’t be seen as advertising.
Poor content marketing reminds me of this classic two-minute scene from A Christmas Story. Nine year old Ralphie gets a Secret Society decoder pin for his favorite Little Orphan Annie radio show. He excitedly translates the secret message, only to find that it says “Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine”. Ralphie stares at the message and says, “Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a…”
Content marketing should never come across as a crummy commercial.
Funny thing is most advertisers are deeply convinced their message is the content they have to spread. They do (and will) not understand that content is a service, a solution, a benefit, and value on top of the product itself. But that is crucial!
Relevant content is the secret sauce glueing the consumer to that product, building the brand, adding facets, perspective, value.)
Tom, when not cartooning (eg. for Marketing Week), is method's international managing director. Based in London, he frequently speaks at campuses, companies, and conferences about marketing, cartooning, and how to spread business ideas. Twitter: @tomfishburne