Digital Marketing: It’s not just about content, it is about story-telling

To this day, I see many digital strategy presentations quoting this - “Content is the king”. Makes me cringe. Digital marketing has changed over the years, but seems like this quote stood the test of time.  

So is just focusing on content enough? I dare say, no. Because Content, as a word and belief, is very impersonal, essence-tic, and passive. Content is good, but only good enough for artificial intelligence (bots) or a purposeful information seeker. Most of the digital marketing presence was created at a time when access to Internet was limited and expensive. Computers were physically wired onto the Net, the data charges were high, search results were limited, in such a scenario just plain content was fine.

The content on the web evolved in the following manner:
Entertainment & News
Branded content

In today’s immensely networked world, which is full of conversation - context is also crucial for success. And context are best put forward through story-telling

The best analogy, lies in the India’s age old culture. We all are aware of our ancient scriptures - the Vedas and the Upanishads. These are content that talks about the essence of Hinduism. These texts are very essence of hindu philosophy. and from time immemorial, these were of interest to people who seek knowledge; and but by its very nature, limits its interest to few people of particular inclination and class. However, the context of these contents were popularized through stories - called puranas. It is the stories like Krishna purana, Mahabharata and Ramayana that flourished and has become a way-of-life for most people today. The Heros, of these stories are worshipped and ever more popular today.

(Trust me, a lot of people (Hindus) including me, don’t have a clue of what is written in the Vedas, but are well aware of the stories that propagate the context of Vedas.)
In fact, watching few kids TV Channels of today, some characters of these stories have metamorphosed to today’s world (extending their roles to more relevant context/situations). On an universal note, such popularity can be seen in Aesop’s tales and other children tales.

What most digital marketers do is identify an information need-state of the customer, and basis that opportunity suggest content. The general process one follows is create - store- retrieve - share; More important is to look at each content creation opportunity as an opportunity to tell a story. Each and any content, including product description in an e-com shopping site, gives us an opportunity to build stories around it. It would better more if these stories are allowed not just to be consumed and shared, but also re-created by people.

Remember, things might remain or not... but memories and stories live forever



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