Why Content is King

by Bryan Bjerke
June 18, 2014

You may have noticed a warning on loaded vehicles that says, “Caution, contents may have shifted during transport.” It may be time for a new warning that says, “Caution, the role of content has shifted to essential in purchase decisions.”

Content is king, as well it should be. It’s important to understand and appreciate the value of content that engages the reader or listener and then takes the essential next step of moving a reader, viewer or listener to go beyond consuming content to making a decision to purchase, adopt or recommend.

There’s a recent Nielsen research study that examines, “The Role of Content in the Consumer Decision Making Process.” The study was commissioned by inPowered.

Among the conclusions of the research:

Nielsen concludes that, “expert content—credible, third-party articles and reviews—is the most effective source of information in impacting consumers along all stages of the purchase process across product categories.”

There continues to be a remarkable expansion of content available from all sources. That’s volume. But is it the right stuff? Is it quantity versus quality?

It shouldn’t be. You used to be able to find the majority of content in print and through radio and television. And generally speaking, the content that was produced had been filtered through editors, producers, fact checkers, etc. Access to it was limited, and the variety could be pedestrian. It didn’t have to be, but often was. Now, with virtually unlimited content and access to it, the challenge of creating meaningful, truthful, accurate and interesting content grows greater. That “effective source of information” that can impact consumers is often elusive.

Another key to a healthy content relationship is finding and nourishing credible, third-party resources who can speak about your company or product in a meaningful and truthful way. Those sources can be easy to find, but hard to keep if you don’t have an open, honest relationship with them.

Make sure the relationship between the content creator and the source of content is based on trust. The creator has to be sure that the information, photos and video that goes into the piece is interesting and creative. It must also be accurate. The source of the content, usually a client, must have an equal amount of trust in the creator to accurately tell its story, and make sure that there are no hidden agendas, half truths or false assumptions passed off as truth. That’s where some hard-nosed editorial types, and strict proofing and fact checking, to ask the hard questions and insist on accuracy, will help your content be as effective as possible.

Then there’s the challenge of making the stories you tell relatable. Marketers often get caught up in all the details of a product or service and forget about the most important element: Who are the people we’re trying to influence, and what does this information mean to them?

We have found that video stories that tie their brands to real life situations and opportunities can bridge the gap. We have taken a broadcast journalism approach to creating content, looking at each situation or opportunity from a news standpoint, thinking like a combination marketer/journalist in helping clients consider what makes a good story and then going beyond that to figuring out what can make it a compelling visual story. Everything from an open house celebration to a fly-in for aerial applicators and the best approaches for weed and pest management in crops, have made for stories that are viewed often and lead to seeking more information about the brand or product.

What can be done to assure that content creation is both effective and truthful? The Nielsen study concludes that, “Knowing the power of expert content, advertisers may want to consider increasing consumer exposure to expert content to build greater trust while also supplementing with branded content and users’ reviews to build familiarity and influence opinions about the product.”

At this point you may be saying, “Look, this isn’t 60 Minutes. All I want to do is promote my event, product or idea.” No, it isn’t 60 Minutes. But that’s about how long your credibility will last if you don’t make the story interesting, relatable and accurate.