The aim of a content campaign is to generate a reaction and drive engagement with a brand. For it to work successfully, you have to create influence, and influencing people is a communication problem we solve through creating ideas that people respond to. But getting the consumer’s attention isn’t enough anymore, the content has to have meaning and value. If it doesn’t offer either of these things then you are creating content that is forgettable and ultimately disposable.
Over the last few years there has been a rise in the amount of disposable content campaigns that achieve coverage but offer no real value to the reader and have a shelf life shorter than milk. When I talk about real value I mean ‘Does this content offer something useful?’
For example, a content campaign that lists the UK’s most common reasons for calling in sick at work might get coverage, but is anyone coming back to that content more than once? Does it honestly give you anything useful? Does it influence you?
The “Data led content” approach is part of the problem. You will have probably heard how data is vital in creating content, or it how it has to be rich in data to resonate with a reader and therefore be successful, but the pitfall that a lot of content marketers fall into is thinking that ‘data’ just means statistics based content. Just because a campaign throws up some percentages, doesn’t mean it’s interesting or useful to anyone.
The data behind your idea is important, it proves you’re not punching around in the dark, but the content has to mean something and offer value. The data alone isn’t the value. Data told a nice story for the Spotify wrapped campaign because it gave you personalised content based on the music you love, but when Monzo tried to do the same thing, they faced a lot of backlash from consumers. The mistake they made was that they thought the data alone would be interesting to their customers, but instead it just reminded them of money they wasted throughout the year.
The reason there is a lot of this disposable, data listing content out there is because it’s too easy to do. Every year content marketers scramble to use online data and turn it into content lists like ‘The Best Public Toilets in The UK’ or ‘The most Instagrammed sheds’ and they get rehashed every year by which ever brand gets their first. It may get coverage, but it doesn’t offer the reader any real value.
No brand had looked at this data differently until Marmalade Car Insurance decided to make this public data, useful. They used the last 10 years’ worth of public DVLA data to create a tool that showed people the odds of them passing their test in any particular month, depending on where their nearest test centre was. That isn’t just using data but it’s creating content that offers value and a tool that will have people coming back, which in turn creates trust in the brand.
Last August we launched our ‘Pack Of lies’ campaign on behalf of brand new skincare brand, Maiiro. The aim of the campaign was announce Maiiro to the world and because we knew how crowded the skincare market was, we had to think about how to make Maiiro stand out. To do so, we decided to raise awareness of the skincare industry’s contribution to plastic in the ocean and also draw attention to the fact that some skincare brands are ‘Greenwashing’ to make it seem like they are doing their bit to help the cause. It not only allowed consumers to look at their favourite skincare brand’s recycling efforts in a different light, but it also gave them an opportunity to help hold these brands accountable for their claims by signing a petition that called for brands to be more transparent in how much plastic they have actually reduced from their business.
The campaign achieved a lot of online coverage, but it also offered value and meaning to the consumer by showing them how to spot a ‘greenwashing’ skincare brand and gave them an opportunity to help solve the problem. You only have to look at the comments on the petition to show that this struck a nerve with our audience and that it’s something they could get behind.
Effective content marketing should do more than merely gain coverage. Content that aims to be meaningful and offer something of value will truly engage people and stick in their minds, which in turn will have long-term benefits for the brand that’s behind it.