Savvy Millennials are constantly on the lookout for hoaxes, fakes and anything inauthentic. Content creators looking to successfully market to this audience have to stay one step ahead and be as real as possible.
But understanding the subtleties and art of content marketing will help gain consumer trust.
Most people can spot a marketing message from a mile away, and they aren’t too happy with what they see. In an age of ad blockers — a PageFair study reported that adblockers reached about 45 million users in the United States in 2015 — and social media scandals, good content marketing needs to capture and hold a viewer’s attention without making that viewer feel like he or she is actually buying into the system.
There’s an art to balancing straightforward messaging with authenticity. Like all art, a content marketer won’t get anywhere if he isn’t interesting. Boring content suffers the same fate as the wall art in a dentist’s office — people look at it, but nobody remembers seeing it. Instead of thinking like watercolor painters, marketers have to think like Banksy.
That doesn’t mean it’s necessary to add guerilla street art tactics to a messaging strategy. But, like memorable art, good content marketing makes its own niche. In any era, the most famous artists have always been the bad boys.
Like Banksy’s work, content marketing needs to subvert, not be overt.
Banksy and street artists like Shepard Fairey got attention by breaking rules and embracing social issues that are important to people young enough to see communism as an interesting idea rather than an imminent threat. They believe in their art and have been willing to do time for it.
But marketers don’t have to take a political stand or risk a prison sentence to market effectively. It’s about engaging their audiences, not risking their careers. Displaying some social savvy and a connection to the issues that matter to the audiences that marketers are trying to reach is what takes their efforts to the next level.
It’s important to get content to deliver a message this clearly.
Good art has always been a little subversive, and even the Sistine Chapel has punk rock elements. Speaking truth to power hasn’t always had a place in marketing, but the game is changing; putting a messaging out on Tumblr isn’t enough. Content marketers who stick with normal branding approaches might get eyes rolling rather than reading, so they have to blend into their surroundings to prove they belong, whether that involves influencer marketing or connecting through humor.
Aesthetics and voice are major factors in art, and they’re also central to authenticity — cat GIFs aren’t going to cut it with a savvy readership. Even though plenty of smug people look at art and think, “I could have done that,” the fact is that they couldn’t, or at least didn’t, and probably wouldn’t. The best artists, writers and creatives have their own unique voices. If it’s not easy to replicate the kind of voice they want on their own, marketers must find someone who can generate the content they need. Having the real deal create a genuine product is the most authentic approach to take to any project.