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Why content is still king of the marketing world

Debesh Beedasy | 24 March, 2014

It was back in 1996 when Bill Gates gave a memorable speech that centred around one key message: content is king. At the time, he predicted that the rise of the internet would lead to a “marketplace of content”, with consumers demanding “deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will.”

marketing masterclassesThis isn’t the first time that Bill Gates has been right. Almost twenty years later, our recent whitepaper entitled Inbound Marketing for Small and Medium Enterprises also supports this view, stating that “inbound marketing attracts leads through quality content.” The question then is not whether or not content is important, but how you can create it for an increasingly demanding audience.

 

A successful content strategy starts with a consistent approach, no matter how diverse your audience may be. That is why defining your brand’s tone of voice (TOV) is more important than ever. A well-defined TOV will guarantee that your brand’s voice is distinct from that of your competitors, extending beyond your brand’s look and feel, and into the way words are used to communicate all that it stands for.

In a previous column for Talk Business we discussed why TOV is so important. “Customers want and need to have contact with brands they associate with over a wide range of different media environments. Whatever the medium being used, whoever is acting as the conduit for the brand’s voice, the tone must be maintained.”

Companies that define their TOV successfully generally invest both time and money to ensure the content they develop is consistently on brand. The resulting TOV guidelines then dictate the words they write, the style in which they are written and the rules and restrictions that should apply. With the right tone defined, the next step requires an understanding of where and how your content should be delivered.

Most content developers would agree that the future lies in a multi-platform approach. In his book Convergence Culture, author Henry Jenkins defines transmedia as representing “the integration of entertainment experiences across a range of different media platforms.” He explains that “transmedia immerses an audience in a story’s universe through a number of dispersed entry points, providing a comprehensive and coordinated experience of a complex story.”

At London School of Marketing, we understand the importance of quality content delivered across multiple mediums to attract, engage and build loyalty with our students. We have been communicating with email, blogs, white papers, ebooks, social media, webinars and films. In our more recent column for Talk Business, we wrote that customers “are the ones deciding what content they will respond to and how.  To reach them, we need to tell brand stories that target audiences want to hear again and again. In that way, a transmedia approach is simply good marketing, managed strategically.”

With so many platforms to consider, content today is more about telling stories to build brand loyalty, rather than spinning the truth to manipulate consumers. As reported on the popular blog, Storycentraldigital, ‘content is king’ is now complemented by the statement ‘conversation is key.’

“As more content creators strive to compete for attention, many are experimenting with other media to create broader reach. The need to use transmedia, or multi-platform storytelling, is growing and some exciting developments are happening to meet the demand,” the blog states.

“Conversation is what we build communities on, share and exchange knowledge through and define (and redefine) our goals, achievements, ambitions, experiences and points of view. It’s the stuff that stories are born from and subsequently shared, retold and born again.”

When a clearly established TOV is combined with a strategic and well-integrated transmedia campaign, and delivered with a conversational approach in mind, your content is likely to be both engaging and effective – proving once again that content is king.

For more information on the importance of quality content, sign up for our one day Masterclass, Copywriting Essentials, led by content development expert and LSM lecturer Marcie MacLellan. By exploring industry leading examples and gaining hands on skills, this course will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the role of the copywriter, the craft and process involved.

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