It’s context marketing.
Not content marketing.

Ryan Berman // Nov 10 // Courage

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It’s <em>context</em> marketing.<br/>Not content marketing.

I’ve always had a bone to pick with the term “content marketing.”

These two words must have first been put together by one of the least creative people on the planet. I imagine someone from the same family tree coined the term “branded content.” If you can smell that it’s branded content, it’s not very good branded content.

Same goes with “content marketing.” If you can tell it’s content marketing, the content isn’t at the level it needs to be to move anyone closer to considering your product or offering.

I do, however, like the idea of context marketing.

Context marketing takes into consideration that your piece of content is not the only piece of content being delivered to would-be consumers at a certain time. It helps us recognize that, at some point, we need to assess all the other stories that may be coming to fruition when your content hits the wire.

And let’s be realistic: there’s a bombardment of average content coming at us daily.

Our “noise per minute” is through the roof. Every 60 seconds, more than 300 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded, while, at the exact same time, 31 million Facebook posts get shared around the globe. In the golden age of noise, overwhelmed consumers are flooded with content of all durations and formations at varying degrees of quality.

If everyone is posting about, oh, I don’t know, an election, how can you create and launch something that will genuinely set you apart from the same old obvious storyline?

Having context first helps us understand the audience, situation, timing, and competitive set. From there you build meaningful content to connect with your audience.

The challenge I pose for all marketers or context creators is this: how will you successfully zag when others simply zig?

When thinking about putting content out into the world, consider all the stories that the majority will post. We’ll call their content the expected zig. Now that you know what is expected, start your creative process there and work hard to deliver your unique zag that will stand out from the rest. 

There are zag opportunities ripe for the picking; you just have to put in the hard work to identify them. An example:

Say you are Butterball during turkey season. Perhaps you create a Thanksgiving Album instead of simply surrendering the airwaves to Christmas music. Original songs like “Yo Gravy’” and “I Like White Meat. She Likes Dark” become hits that playfully drive people to your website for an exclusive download of your entire Butterball Thanksgiving album for free.

Why is it so important to courageously zag with your content?

Although consumers now have around-the-clock options at their literal fingertips, the amount of time we have to grab their attention continues to dwindle. Where in the 90s brands had up to 15 minutes to make their case, now attention spans are as small as the amount of time it took to read this sentence.

Did I lose you?

Many are doing everything they can to block you out.

If you are blocked out, you simply cannot start a dialogue with prospects in the old school traditional ways you once could. Add to this the fact that 50 percent of all television viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to a traditional pay TV service by 2025 and those traditional ways of reaching the customer start to look very stale.

This is why it’s critical to not just add to the noise. When I hear “content marketing,” it sounds like more pollution.

My hope for context marketing is we all do our best to learn how to zag when others zig. It’s one way your story can rise above this massively saturated sea of sameness.

Courage Brands zag where others zig. Learn more about Courage Brands by signing up below.


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