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Do you believe that by creating content marketing materials you are actually creating art? Do you consider yourself an artistic person ? Or at least talented ?
I was reading the other days, Rohit Bhargava’s article about overcoming the myth of content marketing.
My slightly irreverent recap from #CMWorld – including why brands aren’t good at storytelling: http://t.co/WPPYgvwhA7
— Rohit Bhargava (@rohitbhargava) September 13, 2013
I agree, there are many marketers out there trying a little too hard to make their brand a story teller and create lots of useless content for their customers. But I still believe that content can improve the marketing of any brand, if you put enough work into it.
It’s true that we have always had content creators (a.k.a artists) and I also agree that not everybody is made to create art or be in content marketing, but the real problem is not the brands that can’t be story tellers, but rather the marketers that are not made to write stories for their brands.
The art of advertising
Wake up with new leads from the content you publish.
Most people wouldn’t consider advertising an art. But I am not one of them. It takes lots of hard work, talent and inspiration to create the good ads. And those ads are not really the ones that are award winning ones, but they inspire people to buy the product they sell. Think of campaigns like “Just do it” , “Got milk?” or the first ads for Volkswagen in the United States.
Yes they are made to sell, but so are paintings nowadays. A copywriter puts as much work in a brand line as a content marketing rep should put in his first paragraph, or as much as a fiction writer puts in his first page of a novel. All three are works of art, from my point of view, and all three catch the audience and take them in a different universe. There are just different forms of art. Content marketing has eliminated the tactile experience of a book and the art work of an ad, and kept only the content.
Content marketing, becoming a better artist
I talked about advertising because I felt it was another form of art closely connected to marketing. But let’s focus now on content marketing and why is it done bad by some brands. The 3 reasons Rohit Bhargava gave in his article, are the first I have always thought of too. The marketers had to transform overnight into writers and you never know if they have talent in this area. Then again they had to do this as part of their job, meaning they didn’t have enough time to take an idea through all the creative steps before writing and publishing.
Plus you have to keep on writing at least 5 times a week and also manage to provide interesting, useful texts. If this wasn’t a habit before, your articles will suffer. As for the topics, as far as the broad field goes, I don’t think it should be hard to write. You chose to work in the field of your company. You have to be at least a little bit interested in the domain. But it can be hard to find little topics to talk about everyday.
I also consider that one big issue is that this is not something you can learn. Like maths for example. There isn’t a formula that makes everything the right way it should, to get your audience interested and asking for more. My opinion is that you should always think of the people involved and interested in the broad field of your company, and write what you feel that is helpful for them. Something you know and put it out there for them to read, share and first of all, enjoy.
In essence you are a Squirrely painter, we all see the same thing as you, but in a different way. We come by the same problems, but you the content marketing artists, put your own vision, and solution, out there for us.
The creative process
The ultimate argument I have that you need artistic people (not necessarily artists) for your content marketing is the way art and content are created. What artists do when creating something new, is that they see connections between two things that seam unrelated. They combine idea and synthesize a new art piece. Same goes here in content marketing. You keep up to date with the field and then you see something that nobody has ever seen. It doesn’t look like your own idea, you just combine two elements that were there and everybody thought they were unrelated. That’s creativity and that’s what brands need in their content writing.
They need marketers that live and breath the field they work in, that have the same values as the company, people who can make weird connections. I consider that is the real essence of being great at any think you really want to be, from artist and content marketer to engineer and social worker. That and lots of work.