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08 April 2013

Can't content marketing also be visceral, rather than merely informative?

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Look, a book on fashion. How quaint!
Can't content marketing can't be useful for brands that, by convention, rely heavily on photos and video? Say, for luxury cars? Is content marketing, with a toolbox full of white papers, podcasts, and professional reviews, etc, too dependent on rational decision-making? Can content marketing be adapted to make baser, more emotive appeals to buyers' desires?

07 March 2013

Content marketing needs a better name

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via Behance
“Content marketing” is not exactly the most intuitive term in the marketing industry today.

It doesn't help that some agencies think there’s nothing wrong with slapping the label “content marketing” over everything they already do as an ad outfit.

It also doesn't help that consultants, who mean to clarify things, explain themselves in such prosaic, self-serving truisms:


  • "Content marketing is about engaging the audience" (And traditional advertising aims to bore the tears out of us all?)
  • "Content marketing is all about quality content" (Whereas traditional marketing is a load of crap?)
  • "Content  marketing is about the content" (Is there any such a thing as marketing without content?)
What is content marketing, exactly?

Here's my attempt at an explanation.

13 February 2013

That population white paper, and 6 common content marketing mistakes

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I don't usually write about politics because it distracts from the purpose of this blog. This blog is about content, not so much about public affairs. But the ongoing contention over the Singapore Government’s latest White Paper has important lessons about the place of content and publishing in public relations.

I want to take this opportunity to explain the concept of content marketing to the public relations people that make up the majority of my meatspace professional network. It may not be the biggest example of content-strategy-gone-south from Singapore, but it is the most mainstream in recent memory.

30 November 2012

Obstacles to plain language

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Business writing, as a style, is bankrupt. Today's audience seeks a plain-speaking, authentic voice.

But this is the funny thing about plain language: While universally acknowledged as a good thing, it 's actually quite difficult to find examples of it in real-life business.

04 November 2012

Press releases work perfectly well, thank you very much

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Every now and then I come across articles helpfully pointing out that press releases have stopped working, and it's time to switch to a digital content strategy. Sometimes I don't know if marketers in the digital space are just ignorant, or if they are being dishonest in order to push their brand of marketing.

Press releases are nothing to switch “away from”. A media strategy and a digital content strategy are different things, and if anything they are complementary, not mutually exclusive. Just because you’ve stopped issuing press releases doesn’t mean you’re on the way to SEO and content marketing success.

More likely, if you didn’t know what you were doing with your press releases, you probably don’t know what you’ll be doing with your content strategy.

23 October 2012

Going viral still isn't a strategy

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What does the Singapore telco SingTel, UK sanitation pad brand Bodyform, and the US presidential race meme #bindersfullofwomen have in common? Other than that all three were news items that streamed across my Facebook page last week?

Yes, there's a good reason why I'm leading a blog post with the "What do X have in common with Y" cliché. Honest!

31 August 2012

Writing copy for the web vs print [A satire]

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Source - used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 licence
People don't read print the same way as they read content on the web.
The Web format allows publishers to influence readers' behaviour and perceptions. Through analytics and eye-scanning technology, we know what pages they've read previously, and what they're going to read next. Writers can present information in a logical sequence, supported by peripheral cues.
If you’re writing for print, however, you’re bound by an entirely different set of rules.