It’s the Content, Fool, the Content

We are heading into the last quarter of the semester. While it went by really fast, there is still more work to be done. In fact, it seems that most of the work has been saved to the end.

At least that is what one of my students said. I assured him that we do not plan things this way; It’s just that we are at the more advanced work. I don’t think he believed me.

In any case, we are steamrolling towards one of the final projects of the course: content marketing campaigns. For this assignment, students have to pick a local business here in Gainesville and develop a content marketing strategy for that business. This business should be a local outfit, and it can be a for-profit or non-profit business.

The main things students are going to learn during this project is how to shape content that tells the story of a company and sells the product the company produces.

Content marketing is changing to accommodate the times, and if it feels like we are in some strange public relations time warp all the time, that’s because we are. One thing that social media has made very clear is that narratives are important and not just product narratives. Brand narratives matter and consumers are demanding more and more that these narratives be shaped by some ideology.

The Nike and Colin Kaepernick campaign is a perfect example:

Today, we live in what I like to call a “narrative economy,” one where who a company is or how a company identifies matters just as much as the products they sell. Maybe it is a sign of the times, but companies are increasingly being asked to publicize their values. Companies are no longer allowed to paint themselves as neutral actors. People are demanding that companies have some social relevance, some social good, in order to be accepted.

I am not sure how long this trend will last or whether it is even right to make these demands on companies (that would make an interesting debate). I am sure that content marketing, specifically the kind that involves careful storytelling, is critical to company success right now.

We will talk more about content marketing in the coming days, and I will certainly post more on it. For this week, though, get ready for some trade journal posts from the students.

I have to say: I am very proud of them. These trade journals/press releases are getting better and better every time. Here are some great reads you should check out this weekend:

Vegan Beauty is All the Buzz: A look into the vegan cosmetic industry. Is it a fad, or is it here to stay?
Social Media and Eating Habits: An interesting and slightly terrifying look at the ways social media influences eating habits.
Economic, Racial, and Gender Inequality: A series of press releases that touch on the college admissions scandal involving the wealthy, the corporate diversity rates, and the sexual harassment of female lawyers by their clients.

Good stuff. They have chosen some great content here because, as the title says, it’s all about the content.


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