Dis-Content

I’ve been in a lot of meetings with clients and the media lately. I’ve met with reps from magazines, TV stations, websites . . . And the most interesting thing I’ve learned is, we’re all now selling the same thing.

Back in the day, media reps sold advertising space in their pubs or on their TV stations. Advertising agencies came up with the creative. Today, we’re all selling creative.

In this new digital world, magazines and newspapers have had to transform themselves into websites and apps so they can deliver their pubs to your computers, tablets and phones. They’re no longer selling space in their publications. They’re bundling it with digital buys. They offer digital banner ads and video on their websites and even mobile specific ad units.

National TV networks are no longer asking for flighted schedules. They’re asking clients to “partner” with them across all their media outlets. They’re selling their websites as hard as their programming. They’ve even created “promercials” in which their production department will create :30 of relevant content to add to your :30 TV spot. It’s like turning your branded TV spot into a “native” ad.

Everyone’s pitching turn-key content creation.

The line between editorial and advertising has OFFICIALLY been erased.

I don’t know about you, but that makes me sad. Maybe it’s because I went to Journalism school. And I think there’s a real big difference between editorial and advertising. I was never excited about the creation of the “advertorial.” And I am even less excited by “native” advertising, which feels like advertising in disguise.

Advertising should not be disguised. At it’s best, it’s entertaining, compelling and emotionally riveting. It’s a game-changing art that I’m proud to create. Apart from the quality of its products or services, advertising is a company’s single biggest differentiator. It can mean the difference between success and failure. It must be carefully thought out, planned and choreographed. Your “content” should be, too.

The word “content” is a misnomer. It’s like calling copy “grey matter.” It makes it sound like an unimportant space-filler rather than a carefully crafted communication.

“My website is empty,” you say, “I need some content.”

Wrong.

What you need is smart messaging designed to reflect your brand positioning in an appropriate and complimentary way. Content doesn’t even exist. It’s all marketing communications. It’s all advertising. It’s all branding.

Who’s creating yours?

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