The Content of the Content

October 19, 2021

Written by Highlyte

Image by @emilyeizen on Instagram

We're always bombarded with the question on if we can do compliance on TikTok, on YouTube, etc., and while the platform plays a significant role, it doesn't change the core principle; what's the #contentofthecontent? While the platform or medium is crucial and has its own implications, people are usually grappling with content problems. The nature of stories that are trying to be told are failing to resonate with desired audiences. It is true that a medium will shape the way a message is delivered, but the idea that content is irrelevant, is not only incorrect, but dangerous. It actively devalues the merits of narrative itself.

Despite this, many marketers feel that the only way to reach audiences is by jumping on the latest bandwagon, or attempting to create a new storytelling format nobody has ever encountered before. AMNESIA has a different philosophy. While social and digital community platforms have revolutionized marketing, the core of good marketing is storytelling & understanding customer journeys. There is less concern about ‘how do we intercept audiences’ and more with “What kind of stories are clients seeking out? What topics do they care about? What do they aspire to?” We call this philosophy focusing on “the content of the content.”

Callie Schweitzer, the Lead of LinkedIn’s Creators Program, recently shared an insightful post that highlights a problem with advertising geared towards women. Less than a third of women believe advertisements portray them accurately. Commercials are telling tired narratives that rely on women as mothers and homemakers, rather than professionals, hustlers, and independent individuals who hate doing laundry and cleaning up messes as much as their male counterparts. Television commercials aren’t dead. Television isn’t dead. But marketers are using television to tell stories that speak to a bygone era.

This is not to say the media chosen for a campaign is irrelevant. If a demographic is interested in Instagram, that platform is a much better place to tell your story than full page magazine ads or televised commercials—unless that same demographic also watches TV and reads magazines. It is up to marketers to ask “Why is my audience on Instagram,” “What kind of content do they seek out there?” and “How does that content inspire, challenge, and engage them?”

The people complaining about the death of reading are typically illiterate in the mediums that are supposedly tearing their worlds down. They are not making a sufficient effort to meet audiences on their own terms. Instagram can be subversive. Twitter can be profound. Media literacy is a prerequisite for cultural literacy, but ultimately, it is the quality and nature of content that draws people in.

Millennials and Gen-Z read novels. They watch shows and movies. They listen to music. Sure, those novels may be on E-readers, the shows, movies, and songs may come through the streaming services- but those supposed “legacy formats” still have the same narrative payload as physical books, movie theaters, and radio stations. If your novel is going unread, it is a commentary on your content, not its intended readership.

Therefore when crafting a campaign, the most important questions to ask yourself are “What kind of stories is my desired audience engaging with?” and “How can I tell a story that speaks to those interests?” Learning to speak your demographic’s language is the first step in getting them to listen. Because if you have not put in the effort…why should your audience bother?

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