The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as follows: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” Or “the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling.” Brian Davis, a content marketer at Movéo Integrated Branding discusses five laws of content and what they should mean to a brand.
The first law Davis outlines is the law of consumption. He states that “As the rate of content consumption increases, the value of fresh content increases.” As people get more and more involved in viewing updated, relevant information, it becomes more and more valuable. Ever check a website that has been updating daily for the past 6 months that takes a week off? The desire for new content is overwhelming, despite the real value of that content. With more information, and ways to receive it than ever, developing content to match the consumers needs has increased in value. It has been shown that audience engagement actually increases when content is filled with new commentary and context. The added relevant content excites the user and causes the brand to receive more attention. This is great news for those able to rapidly produce new content. However, it also means content is perishable if it is not posted in a timely manner. Further, 20% of firms mentioned that developing enough content was their biggest challenge. So while constant updates show potential for brand awareness and support, it also risks requiring excessive attention to keep up with consumer needs.
Second is the law of complexity. “The amount of chaos in a system tends to increase with the complexity of the system. This holds true for the second law of content as well; As the complexity of content increases, the challenge of managing it increases.” With the increase in mediums and possibilities ensuring unique content that fits its platform, coordinating campaigns, avoiding redundancies and ensuring the content is served and consumed at a rapid rate requires added organization, management, and coordination between not only the producers of the content and those managing the media, but also between those managing broader brand development and goals and even product placement. Failure to implement this organization and structure can cause content “being created for content’s sake”. This muddles and tarnishes the brand and its message to consumers. In order to avoid these problems hiring out these tasks can enable the next wave of online marketing and content to fully access to strengths of different mediums.
The third law of content marketing Davis writes about is the law of reputation. “As the number of content sources increases, the importance of source reputation increases”. Much of current content on the web unoriginal, or lacking in reflection or purpose. Further, much content designed by corporations is focused on search engine optimization to match algorithms and show up high on search lists. The consumer of this content can often detect this uninteresting gimmick and will quickly move away from the site if this is all its content reflects. This causes increasing importance in who the sponsor of the content is. The more reputable source will cue the consumer to trust the content and keep reading. So instead of focusing entirely on getting high hit counts, instead providing useful information and long-term trust with the consumer may provide more valuable to the brand.
Next is the law of evolution. “As technology improves, the production value of content goes up.” With new opportunities emerging for more exciting displays of information, interactive advertisements, and intense post production of videos the possibilities are event greater for enhanced user experience and engagement. Most notably is the increase in ability to implement viral video marketing, or to create video content to post online. While this content is more engaging, it comes with a price tag. The resources and energy it takes to create video content vastly outweigh a text post, or even a clever image or other media campaign. Being able to accomplish this might mean outsourcing or hiring out more of the work to be done depending on the capital levels the company has at its disposal. 41% of those polled said that producing content that was engaging to their prospects and customers was their biggest challenge.
Finally, the fifth and final law Davis mentions is the law of exchange. “As the value of content increases, the value of what it is exchanged for increases”. By providing free information the company demonstrates to the consumer what it has to offer. In the best case scenario the individual is impressed enough to buy the product that is offered. Worst case they are exposed to the brand and contact is maintained, with the potential for future information to be sent to the individual. Additionally, with increased brand recognition and endorsement from other reputable sources a brand will see increase returns for its product.
The potential in content marketing proves to be high, and important to consider in looking at any online media campaign. Davis notes the possibility that none of these laws may stand the test of time. Despite the current plethora of evidence to support them, this could fade over time, or new laws could be built to replace them. For even someone involved in the field for over a quarter century, awareness of how constantly this world can change never leaves the periphery.
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