I assume not that many, more so if they don’t yet have any experience in the field. Or maybe they already know something, already heard a little bit but they aren’t sure if that’s for them. I was in the same situation a few weeks ago. Well, maybe I still am but with this small advantage that right now I know a little bit more about content marketing. At least in theory.
As I soon will be starting the degree in Digital Culture which focuses on the new media and their impact on industry, I decided to gain some experience before and make progress in the field I am particularly interested in. I started an internship at Aude agency which specializes in content marketing. But to gain some knowledge before the real work starts, I decided to complete an online course called Content Marketing University. The course is a series of twelve lectures given by the expert in the field, Robert Rose, who is associated with the Content Marketing Institute, an organization that deals with training and education in the field of content marketing. Each module is dedicated to a different aspect of building – as argued by the authors – an effective CM strategy.
Each module is dedicated to a different aspect of building – as argued by the authors – an effective CM strategy. Lectures combined with a slide show describe step by step how to build a strategic content marketing plan for your business, how to allocate tasks across your team, how to create the whole ecosystem of work, how to build – and most importantly – keep a loyal audience, loyal customers. It makes you think about what your business goal is, who is the audience you want to reach, what do you want to deliver to them and by which tools you can do it. What is more, almost each of the twelve required modules includes elective lessons taught by a broad range of experts in the filed: managers, creative directors and other professionals who go deeper in the subject and share their own experience with us.
In fact, the course was created for people who have already had contact with content marketing, for people who work in the industry or for those who want to introduce the strategic content plan to their business. But was it also comprehensible and useful for me, as a debutant in the field? I will put it shortly – yes, it was. Still, I did come across terminology difficulties. Sales leads, B2C, ROI? I had to hit pause here and there and help myself with a reliable well-known web browser whose name starts with a capital G. Sometimes I felt lost also because of the too complicated business plans, story maps or tables but I blame my lack of experience for that. The content is delivered in a clear and systematic way and certain issues are repeated more than once so we memorize them without any effort. Not to mention the likeable voice of Robert who gives the lectures and who has perfectly mastered the art of rhetoric and persuasion. It is simply pleasant to listen to – at least in my opinion.
The aim of the course is to make us familiar with the methodology which will enable us to create valuable experiences – not a campaign, not just single marketing ideas but real experiences. An emotional story we want to deliver to the audience – that is what I believe to be the most important thing in content marketing and that is what the authors wanted to put into our heads: you have to start with a story and then build the whole experience which you are going to deliver to people and by which you will build a long-term relationship with them.
Fine, but definitely easier said than done. With this knowledge, I already know how to move, what to look for, where to start, what to strive for. However, this is purely theoretical knowledge, and I don’t know how it’s going to work in practice; we usually come across difficulties when implementing beautiful ideas. That is why one of the most valuable things taught in the course was real-life experience from other companies – how they managed to implement one or another concept into their business, what worked and what did not, which solutions really gave results, how they built that unique experience. That showed me how ideas can be applied in real life.
What else did I get from the course? A lot of theoretical knowledge, no doubt. But it has also changed my attitude towards everything that surrounds me. While reading the interactive whiteboard in the tube I wonder: what was the idea behind it, what story they wanted to tell and what more they could have done in that direction? While ordering a taxi via a popular application I pay attention to the creation concept, I am aware that I am taking part in some kind of experience, I know that it builds a stronger relationship between me and the brand and finally, I know that that was specifically their goal. Shortly speaking – I pay attention to things that have never bothered me before, I pay attention to the mechanisms that affect us and I wonder if they are really doing their job.
Finally, I ask myself – what else could be done? And probably I begin to understand more. After all, that was the point.