Why a company’s social stance should matter to content marketers
“Produce content! More content!” seems to have been the mantra of marketers for the past couple of years. And it’s been great – brands have learned how to speak ‘with’ not ‘at’ their customers and we’ve seen businesses produce news, stories and information that’s actually useful not salesy, helpful not hypeful.
It’s been a glorious few years and has resulted in customers feeling valued and businesses learning how incredible it is to have an engaged customer-base.
But what now? If you’re a marketer within a competitive industry then you’ll have noticed that most of your competitors are producing more and more content. They’re all trying to help, to engage, to entertain, to speak with their (read: your) audience. The same stories and formats seem to float around like a scene from Groundhog Day. You may feel like everyone is all of a sudden trying to say the same thing.
Take a recruitment firm as an example of a competitive industry. A few years ago they could have helped their candidates and clients by offering insider information on interview tactics, tips, salary advice, CV preparation, cover letter templates etc. They still can do this (and should of course) but what they might find is that several hundred other recruitment firms are doing the same thing. They are all offering helpful content and trying to engage the same audience. All of a sudden you don’t feel as unique in your offering.
So, what’s the answer? Is it to produce more content that the next person? (There are definitely arguments for consistency). Is it to produce better content? (Yes, obviously quality matters). Is it to try and think of ways to be unique and create some kind of cut through? (Yes, again, being different helps… but it’s also time-consuming, hard and not easy to identify).
This is where I see companies like Ben & Jerry’s making a real difference. They create unique content based on their values, not their ‘industry area’. They talk about subjects and create news that is aligned to what they believe in as a business and they place as much emphasis on this as they do their product. In fact, they often merge the two – the ‘I Dough, I Dough’ campaign being an example of their push for marriage equality. By taking a stance they are showing the human side of their business, the passion behind what drives them and their desire to use their weight in the industry to try and drive positive social change.
Not only does it make them a responsible, human company but it makes their messaging completely unique and genuine.
Their values are at the heart of their communication and storytelling.
This isn’t just an option for big companies either. Going back to the recruitment example leads me to 2discover, which is a recruitment agency in Sydney that believes that people should come before anything else. Their managing director Catherine Eyre says:
“A big part of what we have built our success on is recruitment through the lens of diversity and inclusiveness. Working with our clients to understand their workforce mix and supplying talent across mature age, disability, gender, cultural ethnicity, indigenous and LGBT”.
So what do they do? They partner and play an active part in the things that matter to them – diversity, cultural ethnicity and inclusiveness. 2discover have also partnered with Mission Australia and will have strong involvement in their future fundraising events.
“It’s about asking your staff – what do you want to do? Who do you want to help? There are always so many things to do.”
Maybe for your content to matter to your audience it really needs to matter to you too.