There is a growing crowd that are currently the loud voices in the industry talking, very cleverly, using high scrabble-scoring words to basically say, interruption is bad and there is no place for it in today’s content marketing world.
We, in content marketing, are trying to earn the attention of our audience, true. But the opposite of attention isn’t interruption as many are trying to say. The opposite of attention is no attention. Attention is permission from the consumer to be entertained, informed or engaged by a brand’s communication. Content is the vehicle to the communication and marketing is getting that out there in the world.
There are many talking about the end of interruption marketing, that content is the plateau of pull (consumers seeking you out). In the real world we know that this strategy is as old and flawed as “build it and they will come”.
Content marketing doesn’t bring the end of interruption (it’s right there in the name: marketing). My hope is that it brings about the end of questionable marketing, or marketing created for a no-attention audience. Banner blindness didn’t come about because of the banner; it came about because the content that went in the banner was boring and irrelevant.
The world is split into different types of media. To reach your audience and get them to see the right content you need to know three things: who are they, what do they care about, and where do they spend their time.
We are at an interesting crossroads in marketing, traditionally media agencies have been in charge of the placement and the creative agency has been in charge of what goes into the placement. But in the case of content marketing it’s not about creative making content and media selecting placements. Media agencies that offer content marketing have to care about the placement sure, but we also have to care about what goes into the placement.
Keenan Beasley, previously one of L’Oreal USA’s youngest VPs, wrote: “Many [big] brands act as though they can out-spend their entrepreneurial competitors using traditional marketing weapons…
In fact, it’s precisely a lack of resources that force them to innovate, reaching new audiences faster than ever before.”
I would argue content marketing over innovation is the way you get to new audiences faster. Brands should be bringing together audience understanding, creative maturity and the agility and promotional tools of content marketing to speak to new audiences faster and more thoughtfully that they were previously able. We speak to them by what we say as well as by where we say it.
It’s a long road, but we as content marketers should be working to help this process and we should start by dispelling the myth that its interruption vs attention; its content AND marketing that will ultimately deliver for brands.
I was just finishing this thought when a colleague tapped me on the shoulder to tell me about a new film he’d just seen and he couldn’t help himself but interrupt me to shout its virtues. I was going to complain that he’d interrupted me from what I was doing but instead I watched it and then thanked him for shaking me out of my daily mundanity and showing me something great!
My point, don’t worry so much about yes or no of interruption. Interrupt people all you want, just make sure you can back it up with the attention-earning content consumers deserve.