Seems as though everybody is talking about 'content marketing'. It's one of those topics that really depend on who is talking to figure out what they mean. Some ad agency talk content up because - well because that's what other people are talking up. Who doesn't want to be on trend? (For the record, ads, even long ones that simply push products, aren't content marketing. They're ads.)
Here's the thing about content marketing - it's not what you say - it's what you do that counts. I stumbled across this exercise via Shutterstock - who do an excellent job of developing interesting, useful stuff that is relevant to their customers - they add value to the experience of interacting with the Shutterstock brand and its products. I guess they are marketing with content.
The following is based on a live workshop programme the company ran. It looks like an interesting way to bump start your thinking. Give it an hour to give it a whirl and let me know what kind of results you get.
Step 1: Find your product "truth"
What problem does your product solve? What opportunity does it provide? When do people use it? When do they regret not having it?
On provided Post-its, each team member writes 10 initial strategic or creative thought-starters for one specific business goal. (10 minutes)
Step 2: Find your topic
What pop-culture or other interest does your core audience gravitate toward? How can that relate to your brand?
On provided Post-its, brainstorm at least 10 trending topics or activities that a large portion of your audience watches, reads, listens to, plays, etc., for fun or leisure. (10 minutes)
Step 3: Mash It Up
As a group, brainstorm "what if" scenarios, mashing up your product/brand with a trending topic. (20 Minutes)
Step 4: Sell It
Figure out the format and an irresistible headline to sum it all up. Is this a video, a poster series, an installation, a mini game, or something else?
Draw or storyboard your idea and write the irresistible tweet or article headline that would make the target audience immediately click through. (20 Minutes)
Visit the Shutterstock Zeitgeist part of their site - it's really interesting and useful.
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.