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Content Marketing Is about Creativity, Not Just Big Budgets

Posted @ 9:00 am by The SolutionSetter | Category: Copy & Content, Digital Marketing | 0 Comments

All of the big digital marketing trend predictions for the year have been trickling in this month, as they do this time every year. Chief among them for 2014 has been the pervasive idea  that content marketing—which we take to mean content-creation in the service of marketing—is only worth it for large brands like Red Bull. With its gigantic budgets, the thinking goes, Red Bull has no concerns about making money off its specific content marketing, which includes its popular lifestyle magazine The Red Bulletin.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the idea that content creation for the purposes of marketing a brand is only for the wealthy and uber-successful is one of the bigger myths in digital marketing. Of course there are some truths here: A little money is definitely required to create new websites, shoot videos, maybe even consider branded magazines and entertainment channels, while dedicating time to spreading these creations via social media and direct marketing. But it’s the companies who won’t try these new strategies to tell the stories of their brands and look into the subjects that matter to their customers, no matter how small, that will suffer far more painful results than a marketing budget shortfall one quarter.

The counter-argument goes that only the best will rise to the top, so why even bother trying? Well, if that’s your business attitude then why are you in business in the first place? Nobody who ever ran a business, be it the young Bill Gates or the younger guy down the street today trying to sell kick-ass sandwiches out of a truck, has a defeatist worldview. They try things. They look forward—hell, they look ahead of forward. Because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be risk-takers to begin with. They’d be out of work.

Certainly taking measured risks is wise. If your company only brings in an annual revenue of $100,000, and you plan to spend $75K on your new digital magazine, well, that’s just poor planning. But there are myriad ways to do content marketing well without a Red Bull-size budget.

Don’t have enough money to hire a huge ad agency? Hire a young design-school graduate to make a website for you, and populate it with content created by young people who need on-the-job experience. This is elementary, but in 2014 there are already too many naysayers who are not seeing the big picture. It’s the brands that adopt a robust content marketing strategy that will rise to the top this year and this decade—and if you don’t get started now, you’ll be left in the dust.

You don’t have to aim to become a media company in the manner of Red Bull. Their extraordinary success and specific interest in becoming a media leader have dovetailed very nicely. But smaller brands can learn from their bold journey into creative content.

Think about perception: there is value in how people see your brand. It may not be in the form of immediate currency, but it can easily translate into actual money given some time. And I’m not just talking about a financial investment. Brands who give it their all in attempts to create content for the purposes of digital marketing are brands who really think like cutting edge TV producers and magazine editors. They report from within and learn about their audiences, and what else they like, they learn how their product or service fits into a larger sphere of ideas.

This usually has more of an indirect result on revenue, but it’s nonetheless a positive result more often than not. The only people who will fail at attempts like these are the people who feel creatively inferior. And that’s the business trend of 2014 that no one wants to talk about.

We can use the term “content marketing” all day long. But it’s about being creative, and being confident in one’s creative abilities. Even if you’re not an ad agency creative director.

So the next time that you read a defeatist CMO blog about the high risks of content marketing on some network that lets anyone with friends in high places blog their eyes out, make sure you consider the source. It’s very likely that CMO is taking that position to simply discourage others from learning the secret that (s)he clearly already knows: creativity and guts in content marketing are the keys, and they will in fact change your business this year, if you go at the enterprise with serious intentions.

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