Monday, May 5, 2014

Content Marketers: Ignore Credibility and Authenticity – Lose Loyalty & Risk Reputation

As content marketers, we know that content without credibility is viewed as a farce – resulting in loss of market and upset readers – which is the last thing we want to be reflected onto the brand. But how do we keep content credible and authentic in such a competitive marketplace? As an integrated marketing communication graduate student at Northwestern University specializing in content and digital marketing, I’ve dived into the deep end understanding what makes content engaging, authentic and action driving. I’ve found two articles really honing in on the ideas of credibility and authenticity you will find useful as you continue your journey through the evolving world of content marketing.

In Jim Joseph’s recent Entrepreneur article “Let Your Brand Lead Your Content Marketing Efforts,” he discusses how content marketing shouldn’t be a product push, but rather offer consumers information that is helpful and informative beyond the product itself. For a company to have a successful content marketing strategy, the brand has to be clearly defined and know its values. The brand essence should be seamlessly incorporated throughout as its credibility lies within its brand definition. It needs to establish itself as an expert in its field to make the content more authentic, engaging and effective.



Providing a case study of letting your brand lead your content, Mashable’s Eli Epstein, delves into the case study of Rolex in his recent article, “Rolex: How a 109-Year-Old Brand Thrives in the Digital Age.” Epstein discusses how Rolex has valued quality and precision over quantity and being the first at something. Every move has been strategic. This article goes through the history of Rolex market decisions from 1905 to now proving that Rolex is the quintessential brand that knows their definition, value and place in the market. They don’t hide from their brand DNA or defy it because of current trends, but rather emphasize it and only talk when needed. Rolex knows how to place themselves in relevant content that doesn’t blatantly push the brand, but creates strong associations. They are timely (pun intended) with their content strategy and think like a journalist – they are big-time social listeners and deliver content the consumer wants to know.

Probing into these articles, I identified three essential action items come to mind that will lead to a successful content marketing strategy:  

·      Examine Your Brand Essence – Don’t just jump into content marketing because everyone else is doing it. First, know and define your brand and know its values. Be sure to carry the brand DNA throughout all communications touchpoints.

·      Put On Your Journalist Hat – If you’re going to enter the content space, think like a journalist. What type of information does the target audience want to know? Has this information been over-reported on already?  Will it capture the consumers’ attention? Is the information you’re providing timely and balanced?

·      Don’t Follow Trends for Trend Sake – Be relevant and authentic to your brand. If something doesn’t fit with your brand DNA, don’t try it. You may be causing more harm than good to the overall perception of the brand.

Implement these actions items into your content strategy, and you’re on your way to success. It’s not about being the first to take on a new trend, creating content inconsistent with your brand DNA because everyone else is, or finding a new means to push your product. It’s about staying true to your brand definition and history while presetting consumers with information of value that is authentic, organic, timely and coming from a credible expert in the field.

A former corporate and technology public relations specialist, Lauren Parran is currently pursing her masters in integrated marketing communications from Medill at Northwestern University. With a bachelors degree in journalism from Northwestern, Lauren approaches content marketing with the mindset of a journalist. Content must be timely, organic, relevant and informative – not pushy.  Questions or comments? Contact her on Twitter @LaurenP_IMC or LinkedIn

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