Content marketing has gained plenty of attention recently with marketers, creative agencies and publishers joining the debate on the value of content marketing as part of the overall marketing mix.

According to Wiki Content marketing is any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white paperse-booksinfographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc”. The IAB definition is more concise and says “Content Marketing is the marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience.”

Whatever the definition, content marketing covers a wide array of media and has clearly been around for a long while. It is developments in technology, the internet and most recently social media which has precipitated the increased importance of content marketing in the marketers hierarchy of planning priorities. It is this fact which interests us at Captiv8, with technology and innovation fuelling consumer access to new and relevant content, enabling brands to break down geographical and socio-economic boundaries to reach and engage with people. Researching, exploring, trialling and developing new ways to capture, produce and spread content to audiences is what get’s us excited and what drives innovation.

At the same time, it is technology and innovation which is causing an explosion of available content vying for people’s limited attention. Mark Schaeffer, the respected voice on social marketing describes what he calls ‘content shock’ – the over supply of free content fighting for attention.

This has prompted the wealth of articles and literature on the importance of storytelling. When it comes to brands, this resonates with us at Captiv8 – there’s no point developing content for the sake of it, content needs to be relevant and engaging and it is through the power of stories that we can achieve this. Jonathan Gottschall has written a great series of articles in which he says “When it comes to marketing, a company like Coca-Cola gets this. They know that, deep down, they are much more a story factory than a beverage factory… that their customer is a member of the species Homo fictus, and that they will succeed or fail based largely on the power of their storytelling”.

It is here that things can get complicated because brands need to OWN the full stories of the content they are creating, they need to embody the essence of the stories at a brand level. It is not simply a case of producing some interesting content and attaching a logo to it or housing it on one of the company’s owned digital channels. Ty Montague has written a great book called True Story: How To Combine Story & Action To Transform Your Business which delves into this subject further.

He coins the word storydoers to describe this connection between a brands’ organising principles throughout the company and the stories it portrays – where there is a disconnect consumers are more likely to switch off. Of course there are numerous great examples of brands who are doing this really well, one of my favourite books is Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh which tells the story of Zappos and how they really embrace this concept of storydoing.

Red Bull of course springs to mind as a brand which has embraced this and been successful in backing this up with great content marketing (do Red Bull really sell enough cans of energy drink to support all the content and sponsorships they undertake ?!?).

While technology and innovation will continue to evolve at a rapid rate, the success of great storydoing combined with a well thought out content strategy of storytelling to capture an audience is unlikely to ever change.

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