What’s Old is New – or “The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same . . . “

j0438755 Today more than ever, marketers are overwhelmed by a wave of new techniques and things to make us faster, better, more responsive and more efficient.  Today’s buzzword is forgotten history tomorrow as we’re bombarded by a constant stream of “new.”  That’s a universal and timeless trend that in 2013 is on steroids because of the technology-driven speed at which it transitions.

While technologies change and our capabilities are enhanced – underlying fundamentals of marketing remain the same.  Consider today’s hot buzzword – “content.”

It’s one we feel very strongly about and whether it’s content marketing, branded content, email marketing, social media content marketing, digital content marketing, or something else – we think it’s a good thing, but like many “new” things – not really new.

Were one to listen to the pundits and numerous “digital agency experts” adept at naming things they’ve just realized, one would get the impression that the numerous content-related techniques and topics are distinct areas the savvy marketer must master in order to succeed.  Like many other things, that depends on perspective.

The universal truth about “content”

The main consideration for good content is no different than it was for Franklin and his printing press.  Quality writing that provides something of value to an audience is – or should be – the foundation of all marketing communications.  Strip away the various adjectives dropped in front of the word “content,” and the core should be well-crafted and engaging, with a message that’s articulate, clear and matched to its intended audience.  That’s as old as written language but something many either forgot or never learned as they worked to master technologies and new software.

The message and it relevance to the intended audience is the key to effectiveness.  The idea is to articulately make a case that resonates with readers, viewers and listeners.  The means of delivery: email, direct outreach, eNewsletter, blog entry, Facebook page or all of the above — is an important element, but secondary.  Delivery vehicles enhance receptiveness, but message carries the day.

Just as traditional marketers need to adapt to the digital landscape in order to reach audiences; many new marketers need to value and deliver a quality message that’s of interest in order to engage their audience and be effective.  A wonderfully crafted message in the wrong medium is the same as a poor content sent to someone who opted-in to your data base: both are discarded.

On the other hand, a single well-produced article can have as much of an impact as dozens of keyword optimized back-page articles or hundreds of poorly targeted eBlasts.  Getting your message in front of a decision-maker or landing a thought-provoking, branded piece on the front page of a key publication can be time-consuming, but the exposure and credibility are worth the effort.

So, while many of today’s marketing buzzwords are new, incorporate a technical term and can be confusing, the reality is that the fundamentals remain the same.  “Digital content” still depends on writing quality, targeted message, clarity and an articulate discussion for success.  These fundamentals are too-often forgotten or overlooked in our race to embrace the latest technique – and present opportunity.  Savvy marketers who differentiate their efforts through quality writing will break through the cacophony of online marketing communications – and connect with their audiences!

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