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I know, I know, I know. I hate the phrase “content is king” as much as the next person but let’s face it, content – in all its various forms is the definition of the word king “something preeminent in its class.”
There are a number of reasons for this. The first is content marketing of course, which is considered the “new black” of marketing. It centers around the customers rather than itself. It attracts people rather than interrupts them, and it’s more about them than it is about you.
Another reason for the rise of content is because media has become democratized. We live in a world where everyone can get involved with it, even though succeeding with it is something else entirely. You can write a blog or record a podcast and video if you have a phone. And whether we like it or not, fake news now has a spot on the table, although it’s definitely not a practice I condone in the slightest.
There are some other strategic reasons why content is always king.
Here’s a closer a look why.
All of social media is basically content. It’s much more than just “owned media” such as a blog or a website, as it’s a critical aspect of earned media.
Could you imagine what Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat would be if they didn’t have content? There would be blank spaces that no one would visit, because they have no need to.
Even paid media – advertising – depends on content. There may be some creative involved, but ads are still a kind of content. As the mixture of paid, owned, and earned media is becoming ever more complex and creating new kinds of marketing, such as native advertising – a combination of owned and paid media – it’s never been more important to create a viable content strategy.
The Culture of Content
Content is for more than just marketers. Content comes from the entire organization, but predominantly comes from the public-facing functions like customer service, sales, marketing, and product development, as well as the executive suite.
We’re seeing the rise in the culture of content because brands are publishers, and employees are also becoming publishers. Some might shrug it off as noise instead of being a signal, but as channels, platforms, and devices become more proliferated, employees are becoming better able to be the voice of their brand.
When you include the requests made by social media, thought leadership, sales, real-time marketing, customer service, and recruit teams, and you’ll see there’s never been more demand for the continued creation, refinement, repurposing, and reformatting of content.
Content can be used to elevate a number of functions, such as diverting calls from call centers and social selling, to increasingly effective digital channels. Smart organizations spread the word of this message because it saves money, empowers employees, thought leadership, and other benefits.
Advertising is Eclipsing
Digital advertising such as takeovers, banners, videos, and other formats are becoming less efficient. More people than ever are using ad blockers to deal with the problem of ad fraud. Marketers are faced with the challenge of finding new ways to reach their consumers, in a way that makes them happy rather than makes them angry.
Rose Burberry-Martin, Marketing Coordinator for Chisholm, Chisholm, & Kilpatrick reiterated this when she told me “This is where content marketing comes in. Content marketing informs, entertains, educates, and offers utility. It’s also there when people decide they want it, rather than trying to thrust itself upon them.
Traditional marketing has become a commodity and is lost in a sea of media buy options following the rise of mobile, digital, and social technologies. There was a time advertising was the king of marketing tactics and channels due to it costing the most. These days, brands are responding to new expectations from customers by providing relevant content through the entire purchase decision process.
Sophisticated marketers are finding the marketing avenues that offer them greater levels of control, while advertising is staying at a costly price even if it is becoming less effective.
Long gone are the days when marketing initiatives would be locked ahead of time. Real-time marketing has become a major challenge for many organizations to be relevant, provide great customer service, and offer relevance and direction as news breaks and events happen. With all of this comes constant challenges, but the potential for major rewards including relevance, newsworthiness, and being at the forefront of the minds of your audience.
Even so, being prepared for – and going through with – real-time marketing takes a incredibly focused content strategy, training, triage and close-collaboration with departments outside of marketing such as legal.
Content can be found everywhere – from beacons, sensors, the Internet of Things, and everything in-between. We’re reaching a point where just about everything will be, or involve, content; from appliances and clothing to locations and vehicles. According to Jim Epton, Director of Marketing at Domain Hunter Gatherer, “Marketers have already begun to collaborate with IT and product groups in an effort to create content based on the way people live their lives, what they do, and where they are when doing it.”
Content is quickly moving past marketing and is becoming a piece of the puzzle that is the way people interact with the world around them.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.