Don’t Just Fill the Content Void
The marketing industry loves a buzzword, and there’s probably no buzzier word these days than “content.” It’s become a catch-all term for the stuff that fills the internet. But when content is used to describe everything, it ends up meaning nothing. And if content is just there to fill the void, then it’s just noise.
As a “content” creator, your first job is to figure out what your definition is. Because in order to make something effective, it must be meaningful. With this in mind, we asked our team of directors, creators, and producers to tell us what the word “content” means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
- “Content is responsive information that functions as part of a social dialogue.” – Esther Yu, Director Regional Production, APAC
- “Content is generous. It invites a connection. It knows its audience and serves them first. It takes risks and has a point of view. It earns trust and adds value.” – Nathan Troester, Senior Editor, NA
- “I see the word content increasingly being used in relation to volume – filling a supposed void, and/or the perceived need to be present in a space. To me, this context undermines quality storytelling.” – Ray Klonsky, Executive Producer, NA
- “Understanding the end point of the content, will give us a vision for its creation. Therefore, I see content as an opportunity.” Sebastian Salinas, Head of Content, LATAM
- “Successful content, in a general sense, is the simultaneous accomplishment of two objectives, telling a story and delivering a message.” – John Tanner, Content Maker, NA
- “It should feel totally of the moment yet considered, engaging, diverse and audience appropriate.” – Sophie Chapman-Andrews, Head of Integrated Production, EME
The theme is pretty straightforward: content needs to have intrinsic value to the audience. Take away the product, take away the branding, and content should still be relevant and resonant.
The Content Challenge
Every day we see brands struggle to focus on the substance of their content, while wrestling budget challenges, complicated approval chains, tight deadlines and the nagging editorial calendars. It’s this non-stop posting cycle that often drives the briefs our producers receive.
By pairing production with a creative concept, we develop executions for clients to publish to their channels every day. But it’s not just about briefing, making, and deploying, the real value of a content production team comes in their ability to work with clients and creative partners to develop executions that fuel a meaningful narrative or experience.
Meaning comes not just from telling good stories, but also executing them well.
The efficiencies that can be realized when we think beyond filling the void and instead focus on making meaningful connections are limitless. As producers and makers we challenge ourselves by asking: how can we deliver assets that really work for our clients, and how can we help iterate and deliver content executions that get better and better as we go?
The modern production partner is agile. They can work with your creative team to brainstorm new ways to bring the message to life, can work with your strategy team to adapt and version different pieces of content to test different messages and creative formats, and can collaborate with your media team to personalize content based on data and audience insights.
A dynamic production partner will work with you and your creative teams throughout the process, not just at the end of linear cycle of making assets to fill a hole in the calendar or deliver an ad buy on deadline.
Here are a few ways you can tap into your production partner to bring more meaning to your programming, and make your content work harder for you:
- Create an advance plan for versioning and adaptation that will accommodate your A/B testing plans and allow you to deliver personalized content that will drive more connections with your target audiences.
- Encourage your producers and makers to listen in on reporting and analytics calls so they can better collaborate with your media partner to understand what’s working and what’s not. It will enable them to proactively come back with an updated recommendation on what assets to produce, and how they can customize elements to perform better.
- Ask your production partner for insight into how they handle agile requests among their team, as well as how they pass assets to you for review and approval. The producers should offer custom technology solutions that match your needs for access to asset files and streamlined approvals. Meaning doesn’t have to be sacrificed to meet tight deadlines or navigate complicated communication chains.
- Look for new ways to modernize the briefs you deliver to your production agencies. Find opportunities to share your strategic challenges with your partners, so you can both understand what your assets need to do for your brand to truly make an impact on your business.
Most importantly, remember what content means to you. At Craft, we define it as anything that has intrinsic meaning to the audience. Our mission is to produce executions that help brands play a meaningful role in people’s lives. So yes, it’s our job to make content.