The Content Marketing industry emerged about ten years ago.
With the rise of social media, brands had to learn how to produce editorial content on a daily basis, at an always-on routine, for these new touchpoints. It was essential to resonate with a wide array of people. And good conversations demanded top-notch content.
Brands had to absorb new capabilities, such as editorial strategy, definition of personas and tone of voice, creation of narratives and publication scheduling. In other words: brands became publishers.
Marketing professionals who’d only created ads with their advertising agencies had also to start managing stories and infographics. Communication executives who’d only approved press releases with their PR agencies had also to start producing minidocs and podcasts.
The tipping point for the Content Marketing industry was a series of short, fictional films – The Hire – which BMW aired exclusively on the Internet between 2001 and 2002. (Note that, back then, neither YouTube nor Facebook existed, much less Instagram or TikTok.)
Other terms competed to name what appeared there: brandertainment, brandcasting. In the end, Content Marketing prevailed.
Not only did BMW’s project earn 11 million views in its first four months alone and increase sales for the company by 12% over the previous year, but it also spurred the Cannes Film Festival to create a new category – the Titanium Lion, one of today’s largest advertising awards in the world – to properly award The Hire. And it changed the world.
From then on, brands started working with editorial and narrative content – and jumped, one after the other, into the era of Owned Media. Brand Journalism started to develop as a communication and marketing tool – and also as a market and as a career.
For the first time, the Marketing and Communication departments, and their Advertising and PR agencies, actively recruited journalists who, until then, had spent most of their career in the newsrooms of newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
Later on, this content professional, steeped in the digital environment, with skills in text, design and video, merging the journalistic and the advertising languages, came to be called “creator.”
The difference between content marketing and brand content
Of course, brands have always produced content in their communication, starting with advertising content (or the customized magazines, which had their moment). The novelty introduced by Content Marketing was the routine: producing editorial content regularly, on a schedule.
The novelty was the brand becoming its own media outlet.
No longer was it a one-way communication from company to customer. As publishers, brands built entire communities of followers based on these new brand conversations. And they sustained their relationship with lovers and haters, customers and prospects on various proprietary channels, through the publication of well-curated stories.
While Brand Content is any editorial content produced by a brand – from 140-character posts to a 300-page corporate book – Content Marketing is the strategy that aims to engage and nourish the brand’s stakeholders through great content.
Brand Content, therefore, is one of many possible deliverables within a Content Marketing strategy, along with other tools such as Community Management, the administration of the brand’s relationship with its community.
Brand journalism versus copywriting
Content Marketing has two engines. The first is Storytelling – the ability to select, build and distribute good stories. The focus here is the narrative.
The central tool of Storytelling is Brand Journalism. The journalistic method and approach to content are the best way to research and produce a story.
That applies equally to the more literary text of a book, the more essayistic text of an e-book, or a moving script that tells the story using sound and picture together.
The other engine of Content Marketing is StorySelling – the content that sells, the stories that engage, the narratives that convert.
The central tool of StorySelling is Copywriting. It is a very particular way of writing that surgically weaves words into compelling statements, carefully working in selling points, underlining triggers, removing obstacles and objections, polishing arguments, offering calls to action.
With Storytelling, using Brand Journalism, you generate brand awareness, visibility and reputation. You gain authority, influence and thought leadership.
With StorySelling, using Copywriting, you generate business results, qualified leads. You generate clicks and sell your company’s products or services.
Storytelling + StorySelling
That’s how we operate at Draft Inc.
We are a Content Marketing company.
For some of our clients, we develop Storytelling projects, based on Brand Journalism, with the objective of generating brand reputation and strong relationships.
Other clients come to us for our StorySelling solutions, based on Copywriting, with the objective of generating conversion and business results.
And some customers want to start both engines, in a full Content Marketing strategy.
We deliver everything from the brand’s editorial planning to the production and publication of Brand Content.
And we add to that mix important deliverables in Digital Marketing and Inbound Marketing. But that’s another story for another post.
For now, how about we have a coffee so we can tell you more about what Content Marketing and its two engines can do for your business?
We define branded content as a creator or publisher’s content that features or is influenced by a business partner for an exchange of value (for example, where the business partner has paid the creator or publisher).
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