How Advertising and Content Marketing Relate

Aug 2012

To keep my creative mind sharp, I take advertising copywriting classes at a local advertising agency after KWSM work hours.  The class is a lot of fun but more challenging than I could have ever imagined—writing consistently witty, concise and captivating headlines is not as easy as it seems!

I was struck by an epiphany while sitting in class on Tuesday night as my teacher walked us through the engineering of an ad campaign—what type of research and planning goes into it, and the process of coming up with material that not only engages the audience but also caters to what the brand/company/client sees fit. To dilute the process down for the sake of this blog post, first, the planning department coordinates with the client and conducts a tremendous amount of research, study, anthropological observance about the product. They boil everything down to the “benefit” of the product, out of which the creative team then takes and crafts a campaign.

The “benefit” of a product is exactly what it is: the benefit. What purpose does this product serve? What does it do for a consumer? What can it possibly prevent if the consumer uses it? What would happen to a consumer if he or she doesn’t use it? A good, successful ad never sells the product itself, but instead markets what the product can do (sometimes in very extrapolated ways).

I thought about how similar this concept is to content marketing and social media marketing. The successful strategies are never the ones that explicitly sell their own products and services.  Those types of companies are undoubtedly annoying—all they do is talk about themselves, and it’s always about “me, me, me!” Instead, successful content marketing focuses on the benefit of their product or service, and they expound upon the question of “How can this better serve the world and my customer?” Like good advertising, successful content marketing never talks about its product.

To use our KWSM Facebook fan page as an example, we’re a social media agency, but we never talk about our services or what we offer. Instead, we always try to provide valuable resources and information to our audience that will help them better their social media strategy, understand why social media is vital to their marketing efforts, save their online reputation, etc. Yes, these are all “benefits” to our services as well, and things we can help our clients achieve if or when they feel that our content is not sufficient enough for them.

Like advertising, content marketing is an art form, one which takes careful deliberation and strategy in order to be successful.

What is the “benefit” of your product or service, and how are you crafting your content to reflect this?

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