The Content King abdicates and it’s Presentation that takes the crown
Content marketing might be our new buzz word but it's already shaping the way we approach digital marketing
"My crown is in my heart, not on my head, nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones, nor to be seen: My crown is called content: A crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy." Not many people will know the origins behind what has become a something of a mantra in the digital world. Our beloved bard, Will Shakespeare, was centuries ahead of us and inaugurated content as king in Henry VI Part III. Whatever time we live in, whether by quill or touch screen we pen our stories, content producers have always set out to achieve the same: engage, grab and connect.
Online content is in an exciting state of limbo. We know it is important, we know we now need to design content that is richer, relevant and useful and we know what we're producing has doubled in quality. Essentially, Google has acted as any good editor should: Buck up your ideas or you're out. For genuinely creative content producers (in any medium), the Penguin update spells nothing but opportunity. So if we are concentrating on producing great content, then why has the Content King abdicated?
There has been a lot of buzz lately surrounding digital's new kid on the block, content marketing. In my eyes, content production has been succeeded by content presentation. Content marketing signals a new way of presenting content, not a totally new way of writing, video capturing or researching. We are now acting as storytellers. It offers a new and much more sophisticated way of telling a story, pitching an idea or offering information. We are now much more focused on developing a brand's narrative. The new approach to content demands, by its very nature, that we aim high, positioning our brands within the proximity of those who can continue the story for us in a way in which Google favours - through journalists and influencers. We need these people to start talking with us.
So where does the blogger fit?
Bloggers, who have for so long been both the digital world's saviours and sulkers, never content with the benefits and rewards that being on both SEO and PR databases must reap but always happy to involve themselves; bloggers, who for so long have commandeered our activities.
As SEO and PR clash, integrate and almost merge as a service, it's bloggers who we have constantly tried to engage. As a born cynic, I'd rather Joe Bloggs (pun absolutely intended) didn't write about my product, but rather an author with a credible reach who offered insightful content alongside my information. This is by no means what must seem like a diatribe towards what is in reality an incredible creative and social community, but essentially, the direction we're going with content is the way we're going with SEO. An element of sophistication has appeared and we are targeting those primary and secondary tiers of writers and publishers. Self-publishing still has its place, but our communications have flipped.
Presentation is the new King - It's not what stories we tell but how we tell them
Presentation and genuine research have happily overtaken other link luring methods. However, the trouble with engaging people who are constantly engaged and switched on is essentially just that. What we are doing now is producing material that will aid their writing efforts and offer them something a bit different from the competition. From PR that would fool even the greatest spin doctors to new content marketing frameworks, we're repurposing and changing the presentation of our content that reflects where it should be going. Instead of ending the content process with Outreach, it's where we start. Who wants to read this, who is going to read this and what can they do for me.
Narrative and strategy certainly drive the content marketing process but suddenly content has become data driven with an importance on immediate engagement and usefulness. This is what is meant by presentation becoming the new king. Data is now becoming repurposed into different mediums and content marketing symbolises the next digital battling ground. The emphasis is now not just on what stories we are telling but how we are telling them. We need to define which medium best suits our story and how it'll help our target audiences to continue the story for us. Video production has certainly doubled, nay tripled, over the past six months but video isn't necessarily the content marketing answer.
Content marketing is essentially the next step anyone interested in being noticed digitally should be taking
Already embraced by those fighting for thought leadership space in the B2B arena, content marketing enables brands and agencies to position themselves slightly differently and it also offers them a new lead generation avenue. Even the newspapers are designing their own brand of it: Both the New York Times' Snowfall and the Guardian's Firestorm convey a new approach to publishing online content and they are, in essence, using their content as a form of marketing and PR. We're all upping our game.
The best thing about content marketing has probably yet to be revealed but the important metrics and measurements that go behind it (leads, click throughs, conversion) have propelled content to places we have yet to truly explore but we can, to the joy of copywriters, researchers and designers, now put a real monetary value on content.
Those interested and engaged in content marketing will - at this point - be asking themselves if this subject was best presented in blog form or if it should be been repurposed and presented by another medium. If you were thinking this, you're on board.