“It’s just an image,” insisted one my client’s staff members. “Not content.”
After a little back-and-forth, I discovered that he didn’t think images were fit to be called ‘content.’ This was not the first time I had a moment of confusion with someone over this issue. Many people are under the impression that content only refers to writing.
In fact, there are a plethora of terms we marketers use that are frequently misunderstood. I strongly believe that defining terms is a great way to ensure we all get on the same page and speak the same language. So, in that spirit, here’s my attempt to break down the “language barrier” and define “content.”
What is Content?
In short, content is any form of communication that entertains, delivers a message, or educates. It can appear in the form of text, images, video, or audio and in a wide variety of mediums, including podcasts, vlogs, infographics, blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, and more.
Writing is what most people think of when they think of marketing content. But text is only one piece of the content marketing puzzle. Content is the stuff brand storytelling is made of. Brands may tell their stories through written content, but they may also tell them through video, which now accounts for well over 60% of internet traffic — a figure expected to increase dramatically by 2019. Or they may communicate through GIFs, audio recordings, photos, or other forms of media.
Should I use text, video, images, or audio?
The answer is: All of the above.
Each form of media plays its role and has its various uses. Furthermore, search engines reward those who regularly update their content on a variety of platforms.
A big mistake many brands make is thinking a blog is enough. It is incredibly important to have an informative and interesting blog that is optimized for search engines and updated frequently and consistently. However, those who don’t experiment with images, video, or audio are missing out on many opportunities for consumer engagement.
But, whatever medium/s you choose for your content, the most important thing to understand is that good content is no longer a one-way conversation.
At one time, brands chose the message they wanted to push onto their audience. Today, most of us tune out advertising. Consumers are savvier, smarter, and have a lot more choices at their disposal. They also have a lot more control over what content they interact with. This means “filler content,” so popular in the early days of the internet, no longer makes the cut.
If you want to win, you have to create content that provides real value for consumers. It’s no longer solely about creating customers. It’s about creating connection.
And the way you create a connection is by getting to know your customers and then creating content that’s focused around them and their specific needs. This takes time and research, but the good news is social media and other recent technological advances have made it much easier to gather data and learn about consumers than ever before.
Responding to the needs of your target audience by creating content that interests, informs, or inspires them creates more than just transactions. It creates relationships.
Taking the time to invest in these relationships pays off greatly in the long-run.