The idea that content marketing is some sort of messianic marketing device has stuck so well that, regardless of business, product or market, there has been a compulsion to simply ‘do content’. With securing and retaining permissions, building relationships and earning trust more important than ever, is it time for content to integrate more with the rest of the marketing mix?
Never mind about the consumer’s experience – what about the content? Never mind about how, when or even whether you should engage – what about the content?
Too often, content marketing has not had the data, insight and creativity to support it. We have got personal without building the foundations. We have kept content and data strategy apart.
Now, GDPR puts the way we engage under greater scrutiny than ever before. If consumers want to hear what brands have to say, and share information with them, then content is going to have to climb down off its pedestal and integrate.
Permission to Speak?
GDPR doesn’t mean the end of email marketing. But it gives permissions the sort of currency usually only associated with US dollars in Cuba.
GDPR means content has to work harder to earn and protect those permissions. It should cultivate the journey from the initial privilege to communicate, to securing the long-term relationships that make people want to share their data.
Amaze One commissioned research to understand how UK consumers feel about the information they currently share. 70% of consumers said they were concerned about the way their personal information is collected and used. Only 18% feel they have some degree of control over their data. 80% have concerns about the way their data was sourced and sold.
The research revealed a feeling of imbalance in the ‘value exchange’, the quid pro quo of reward in return for personal information. Consumers feel they’re giving a lot of quid for very little quo. That would be worrying even without GDPR. But with the marketing landscape having changed, now is hardly the best time to be alienating customers who just want a fairer deal.
The right to share your content starts with clear permission. That is what gives you the privilege to engage. So, be transparent about the ask. Make requests big and bold, front and centre: permission that says, ‘here are some of the great things we are going to be sharing with you – and here is how you get to see them’.
This transparency is appealing, but there is pragmatism too.
GDPR does not have to be scary or difficult. If we embrace it, we share the benefit with consumers. If we don’t, we get to spend the next few years testing the boundaries of GDPR compliance to no real purpose.
Collaborative Content Marketing
Crucially, this model ensures content marketing is not the headline act. It forces it to work with data, strategy and consumer experience, and that forces us to ask questions about the nature for content before we create it:
- Is content desirable and appropriate? How does your brand sit in your customers’ lives? How does that inform the content you create?
- What is the role of the content marketing? How does it fit your communications strategy? If it doesn’t fit the strategy, why do it?
- How does the content fit the customer experience of your brand?
- What is the publishing model? Let the data, strategy and customer journey guide you to a production, publishing or newsroom model that is a natural fit.
How Personal is Personal?
Amaze One’s research showed that even a simple breakdown by age reveals major differences in the way we want to consume content.
- Preference for visual (including video) content is strongest in younger groups (18 to 44) and falls away with age.
- Entertainment is a key determiner of channel appeal among younger groups (18 to 44).
- Being informative is a universal preference, but peaks in the 25 to 34 age group.
- Trust in the originating brand/sender is a key factor in brand interaction. The older the target group, the greater the trust required.
So be personal. Tailor your voice to your customer. Mass marketing is fine when you are issuing a change of terms and conditions to every account holder, but it is personal content that generates interest and inspires a response.
New Time and Place for Content
Traditionally, content has been created parallel, but often not quite connected to other marketing activities, CRM-driven communications and distribution strategies.
But if content is to help drive sharing in this post-GDPR world, it needs to be constantly in the mix, a part of – but not superior to – the data and insight that informs the initial brainstorms and briefings.
It is time to take content marketing off its pedestal? Next time someone suggests you should just ‘do content’, pull back and ask what you are doing it for. When you do, you will find it’s a far more effective tool at generating the trust, permissions and sharing we are all going to need.
For your content marketing toolkit click the link below: