Over the last few years, content has been having a bit of a moment. Everyone everywhere has been clamoring about how ‘content is king’ and how ‘branded journalism’ is the way forward.
And they’re right, it is. No brand can hope to survive the bear-pit of our modern social-media driven marketplace without spot-on, targeted, well-produced content.
The only problem with declaring that content is our future is that you might forget it’s also been our past. Yes, it’s just been living under different names, and in different places, but it’s still been living by the same rules.
Because at its essence, content is simply words or images that tell a story and give a message – be that branded content on social media, or traditional editorial content filling newspapers, magazines, TV. What the story or image is will vary, how it’s portrayed will vary, the motive behind why it’s produced will vary. But the end product is more or less the same: something solid and valid that people engage with.
The clichéd examples of great branded content are clichéd for a reason. Red Bull’s space freefall, Lego’s blockbuster movie, Net-a-Porter’s glossy magazine; stripped back to basics, it’s all just good stuff you really want to look at.
Of course, we’re not saying anything in branded content is basic. Far from it. Highly complex analytics and metrics are its lifeblood, sustaining it before, during and after its creation.
But what we are saying is that as the no one outside the creation process needs to know this.
Think of it like Roger Federer, the ultimate, world-beating sportsman who plays each stroke with such simplicity you forget the gut-wrenching struggle behind it.
Basically, this is how content needs to be – great and simple, but free from the labored process that enables it to be so great and simple.
To flog the odd, Wimbledon-themed horse a little bit more (don’t worry, it’s nearly done), we, FH UK ContentWorks, are getting ready for ‘content match point’. We’ve played all the other sets – working for years in every key area of content development; we’re equipped with the best rackets and balls – building expert, specialized processes of content production; and now we just have to score the winning point – creating cogent content the consumer loves as much as the client behind it.
This UK ContentWorks team is obviously only one small part of a much larger vision. In January, FleishmanHillard unveiled the ContentWorks network, a first–of-its-kind global content marketing offering customized to fit the unique communications needs of organizations while ensuring they stay true to their brands. In the words of John Estafanous, global lead of FleishmanHillard’s digital and social media practice, ContentWorks is where “seasoned account teams, content studio heads, creative directors and content officers execute and implement in rhythm with each client’s global news cycle.”
So we know we’re just one little part of a big and brilliant FH jigsaw, but we’re excited to make sure our ‘piece’ fits as perfectly as it can.
Over the last few months, our content capability has been building, growing and merging into one cohesive offering, where an extensive team of dedicated editors, copywriters, videographers and producers can now carry a client through every stage of the content lifecycle; analytics-based research, insightful strategy, process-led planning, editorial guidelines and management, and then, of course, content creation, the moment where we finally serve* up that ‘good stuff people really want to look at’.
Nel Staveley, Content Editor, Creative Strategy