Content marketing

Finding your voice in content marketing: the intersection of brand and audience

The Content Revolution panel at dmexco 2015 with Wunderman CEO Mark Read

The Content Revolution panel at dmexco 2015 with Wunderman CEO Mark Read

What does it take to succeed with content marketing? A whole lot more than producing ‘great’ content, that’s for sure.

In order to engage, content needs to inspire, serve, appeal, seduce, have a great narrative and rise above the noise. It only can do so if it starts with a deep understanding of what lives in the minds of audiences on the most individual and emotional level possible.

It’s something that publishers have known forever – as have the best advertisers, agencies and marketers. Still, gauging how content appeals and resonates isn’t the only indicator of what entices audiences and drives them to (inter)act.

Bring insights and data into the content conversation

Today, we can go much further to make a real difference and leverage the insights we gain.

In a panel on the ‘The Content Revolution’ at last week’s dmexco 2015 event in Cologne (Germany), Wunderman CEO Mark Read cited the example of The Sun’s fantasy football league Dream Team illustrating exactly that: how profound insights can lead to an integrated use of the most engaging content.

It shows how data can be used for far more than just understanding and targeting your audiences but also needs to be leveraged throughout the whole content process and brought into the content conversation, as Mark Read said in the panel at dmexco.

The Sun – Dream Team Campaign from Wunderman UK on Vimeo.

Content and the brand: know for what you stand

However, there are (at least) two sides to great content and stories: the audience and the brand. For what does your brand stand? What’s your purpose? Your opinion? Your differentiating value? Your unique proposition? Can you tell it with one single Twitter message?

As Mark Read reminded in the debate  it’s easier to make the difference with content for brands that have a strong purpose and thus for those who don’t really know what they stand for it’s simply harder. Everyone can tell what brands like Apple or Red Bull stand for: their purpose, proposition and identity can be captured in just a few words, a tweet. For consumers it is so much easier to identify and relate with such brands in the continuous process that content marketing is.

Publishers have known that forever too. In the words of NewCo’s John Battelle, who moderated the debate and reacted to Mark Read’s clear message: “you have to have a voice, you have to have a point of view, you have to stand for something, you have to mean something to your audience”.

Truisms that might seem obvious but are often overlooked. Ardath Albee, a content marketing pioneer and veteran calls it the company’s distinct value, which she defines as the intersection of a company’s strengths with customer needs. Replace customer needs by anything else that engages audiences and your company’s strength as what really differentiates you, as a brand with a purpose, mission and authentic values.

A strong brand purpose needs strong insights

Couple it with the deep knowledge of your audiences and content marketing success comes a lot closer on the crossroads of innovation, data, creativity, stories, emotion and involvement.

The great thing, to end with what Mark Read said in the dmexco debate, is that in order to have strong brand purpose you also need a strong insight into whom your customer is and what’s his point of view. Everything is connected.

Check out the full panel debate at dmexco 2015 on ‘The Content Revolution’.