Avoiding Meaningless Marketing: How to Ensure Your Content Isn’t Just Fluff
This might sound surprising but I don’t usually play video games solely for fun. I mean, the fun factor obviously plays quite a huge part in why I love playing video games but it’s not the sole reason why I play video games anymore. For one, I’m not actually a native English speaker by birth and classic graphic adventure games such as Monkey Island and Broken Sword acted as a makeshift English teacher and what spurred on my general love for reading. Even now, I’m still constantly learning new things from video games the same way I do from literature and films.
A piece of entertainment doesn’t have to be completely devoid of value the same way that your marketing contents shouldn’t have to be just fluff. In contemporary content marketing, there’s this concept of value-added marketing where the content isn’t just valuable to the marketers and brands as a lead generation tool but also to the general public as they contain pieces of information that serve to entertain or even educate or inform the public. The ultimate goal is indeed to make money but if that goal can be achieved while doing some good deeds along the way, wouldn’t that be better?
Distilling the spirit of CSR
Over the last few decades, the concept of corporate social responsibility has grown from something of a novelty to the situation we now find ourselves in where such social responsibility is baked right into the business model of certain companies. We’ve seen for example the trend of sustainable fashion brands railing against the world of fast fashion and on the rise of fair trade coffee. Society as a whole has moved into this more ‘woke’ direction and it should come as no surprise that the age-old tactics of pure fluff in marketing isn’t working as well as it used to be.
This perceived value in marketing comes in a variety of different forms and it’s possible that you’ve actually engaged in a couple of these subconsciously. The value I’m talking about here doesn’t have to be as monumental as actionable information, even something as small and intimate as sharing your own personal experience could prove to be valuable as you never know how those experiences would be received. To get started, here are several tips on how to ensure that the content you’re creating isn’t just comprised of meaningless fluff.
Provide cold hard facts, numbers and/or data
If you’ve ever watched any police procedural, crime series or courtroom dramas, sheer evidence is the one thing that is capable of bringing justice to criminals and wins cases and the same thing applies to the world of content marketing. Results from your own researches and/or surveys in the form of data are what counts the most as numbers never lie. We could argue to hell and back about what is the greatest film of all time but Citizen Kane‘s 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes provides very good objective evidence on why that film is frequently cited as the hallmark of cinema.
Google became one of the most powerful companies in the world because they fully understood the power of data and the 2016 Cambridge Analytica has finally made people realize just how dangerous they could be when they fall into the wrong hands. Obviously, conducting your own research might require a sizable resource on your part but as an alternative, you could use services like Statista to gather the data you need and pepper them with your own insights, which ties into my next point.
Provide insights into a breaking news story or certain statistics
Anyone with a Google Alert set up can report on a breaking news story as soon as they emerge but not everyone has the same ability to provide meaningful insight into what that piece of news would mean to the general public. Last month, Facebook was fined by the American’s Federal Trade Commission to the tune of $5 billion dollars for various privacy violations. That is indeed a lot of money but the fact that Facebook’s stock soon rose after the announcement turns out to be the actual story here.
Yes, breaking news stories and data matters a lot but they can be meaningless if you don’t know how to make sense of those news and data. Each piece of news and data has to be interpreted and put into context before they become actionable info which means that the value of each piece of news hinges on the individual’s capability to process them. Presumably, you should considerably have more expertise on issues surrounding your industry which means that even if you aren’t capable of conducting your own research, you should still be able to provide the same value to the general public by providing your insights on what’s already available out there.
Share your own experiences
One of the biggest talking points in pop culture in recent years is the issue of representation, about how minorities can sometime feel excluded from popular narrative because they’re not properly represented in popular culture. This is why films like Black Panther, Get Out and the more recent The Farewell has struck a chord because they managed to showcase the kind of experience that isn’t always prominent in pop culture as a whole. Your story and experience, even if you consider them somewhat irrelevant, matters and this is no less true in the world of content marketing.
Your perspective and experiences hold value and when combined with the trend of storytelling in marketing, they could provide you with the hook you need to get the public interested in what you have to say. We all love a good story and even if your content can’t actually provide actionable info to the public, they can still provide intangible, life-affirming value the way films and literature do. If nothing else, mining your own experiences would at the very least give your content a level of originality and that helps in setting your content apart from your competition.