As we take a huge sigh of relief and press GO on the latest issue of one of the publications I contribute to, I reflect on what great content actually is.
When I started my career 15+ years ago (in what was then customer communications agency Redwood Publishing) branded content only existed for a crazy yet innovative few.
Volvo Magazine, was a Global CRM publication produced to engage and inspire recent Volvo purchasers. I worked in quite a few roles on the team from Editorial Assistant to Promotions to Advertising, I got to know the publishing process whilst also understanding the client’s business strategy, motivations and objectives. The Scandinavian team at Volvo’s Head Office understood, valued and believed in the power their magazine and the content within it delivered in order to maintain retention and loyalty amongst their global customer base.
What resonates so much with me today is remembering sitting in Media Buying Agencies presenting the magazine to the planner/buyer types who looked down their noses and 99 times out of 100 said,
“free magazines don’t work, there’s no value in this type of publication”
WRONG. SO SO SO Wrong.
Volvo Magazine worked, it worked on a global scale. It helped change perceptions and supported the evolution of the brand from a boxy, safe and unsexy automobile to the exceptionally attractive Scandinavian cool premium brand it is today.
Good, decent quality content that is well thought out, relevant and presented properly is invaluable. Since working as a consultant with businesses of all sizes it’ makes my stomach turn to hear business owners saying, “it doesn’t matter what it looks like, we just need to get something out there” or “we’ll just whack something together last minute”.
This is REALLY saddening. It’s so important if you believe you have a decent offering, service or product, to ensure the quality of communication from your brand is very decent too. Content on the internet, emailed into someone’s mailbox or posted to someone lasts, it doesn’t have a short shelf life, it will always exist, in some cases even when it’s deleted it can still be found. If content is worth doing it’s worth doing properly and making sure it works, reflects the business, aspirations and the brand properly.
If I’ve learnt anything from my time in content it’s that it won’t always be 100% perfect but you should ALWAYS aim for it to be, by working with the best and not scrimping on costs!
For help with branded content and communications please contact firstname.lastname@example.org