Let’s start with the word content. What a terribly cold term for what so many hearts burn. Earlier at the School of Journalism, we still called our product reportage, interview, gloss, feature, comment or just story, story or article. Our stories were hot. Inspiring. Rousing. Champagne for the mind and brain.
Today everything is content. Cold, cool, gray content. The journalistic work has become a part of the Grabbelkiste. Little distinguishable. Interchangeable. It can be measured by purchasing departments and controllers. One kilo of content, please …
We call it Content Marketing …
The result of this attitude in dealing with journalistic content can be seen everywhere on the net. Content corpses lurk everywhere in content hubs and corporate blogs. Soulless text and image deserts, written less for the reader than for anyone in controlling and of course always for Google. In the worst case, clickbaiting without sense and reason. They then backfill them with an appropriate amount of Google voodoo and paid distribution, mix in a few buzzwords like content strategy and performance measurement, build great charts that sell that as a success – and call that content marketing.
How boring. How sad. Especially sad because it contradicts everything that I personally see in content marketing. Because it destroys brands, rather than strengthening and building them.
Content marketing is a huge opportunity. Use them!
Content marketing is a huge opportunity for brands, businesses and institutions to spread the magic that makes up a brand on their own platforms. It’s not about shoveling more content into the Moloch Internet, it’s about creating relevance: relevant information that’s really needed. Stories that really inspire. Added value and value that enriches our lives as well as helps us with everyday problems. Then you use the huge opportunities that comes with good content marketing.
Content becomes magical when a community emerges
Of course, good content marketing needs to be data driven. Do not you have to plan everything you do not only strategically along the customer journey of your personas, but also measure, analyze and constantly optimize. But that’s only half the battle. Technology, strategy, platform are just the streets where our content goes to the user. True magic happens when our content reaches the user. When our story triggers something in his head. When he starts to interact, when he becomes a fan and part of our community.
Good content shows competence and attitude
And you can not do that with three kilos of content, not arbitrariness. You can do that with content that radiates everything that a reader loves: competence, wit, attitude, information, inspiration – and a clear positioning. Classic KPIs can only measure this insufficiently. That’s why I love constructs such as a balanced scorecard or the so-called “article score”, as the world describes it in this 2015 article. This is an attempt to measure how satisfied and “engaged” a reader was.
All this is not easy. It is not always possible to produce magical content. I have been writing for journalistic media for more than 20 years now. I do not think that more than three percent of the content produced by myself during this time would fall under my criterion “magical”.
Content marketing needs class instead of mass
But what does that mean for good content marketing? Above all, it means putting more effort into the quality and relevance of the content. And clearly, a departure from mass-produced content, which only covers the web and does not deliver real results. But by no means turning to storytelling alone – that would be much, much too short. Of course there must continue to be the value and SEO stories, the opinion pieces and sometimes just entertainment. But every content should have a soul. So magical, as I call it.
Only when you have enchanted your users, created a dedicated community, and consistently created organic reach and interaction, you can seriously consider achieving the economic goal of content marketing, which is called conversion.
To the author: Anyone who deals with the subject of digital content marketing can hardly ignore Karsten Lohmeyer. The 45-year-old worked for many years as a journalist, founded the well-known media blog LousyPennies.de and built u.a. a content marketing subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Today, as a consultant, he develops and implements complex content marketing strategies and deals with his favorite hobby, growth hacking.