Content vs Context
Updated: Feb 8
“Content is king”, “post, post, post”, “quantity over quality" etc etc... This is the mantra of many a marketing company and marketing professional in 2020. Listen, I believe and indeed profess that content marketing is the future as much as the next guy, it's right that well-loved marketing guru Seth Godin’s famous quote “Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left” adorns the walls of many an aspiring marketer’s offices/bedroom. But is content king?
When strategising, planning, selling and pitching, content is the main focus and the topic which commands most of the time. But equally important to a successful strategy is the context in which you position your content. If you want to get some more information about content, context, what they are and how they work together, read on.
What’s the difference?
It’s easy to confuse the two or think of them as the same. But knowing the difference and the important ideas behind both concepts individually will ensure that your use of them in your marketing plans and strategies will be optimised… Ok, ok, so what are they?
Content: When we are talking about the content, we are referring to the material/matter/medium contained within the work that’s available for audience. This is the actual stuff... the videos, photos, blogs, copy, posts… The juice (or alcohol beverage depending on how your feeling today) which fills the glass…
Context: Based on that last analogy… which I’m going to run with because we are here now… The context is the glass we put all the content into… Context is the positioning of the content, the storyline or purpose the content fulfils, the value it is intended to provide to the audience. Context is the bigger picture view, the campaign, the end goals, the reason for the numerous pieces of content to exist.
When we start thinking of these both separately and how they work together, we understand that the context is the starting point for where we get the content from… You can’t fill the glass with juice if there isn’t a glass to fill (Ok, I’m done with this analogy now, I promise).
Where do I start?
Now that we have more of a grasp on what the differences between content and context are, we can delve into how that can help us whilst we plan our strategies and marketing approaches.
The content focused approach goes hand in hand with the inbound marketing methodology for bringing in new clients. Simply put, inbound is the process of getting customers to come to you by providing them with valuable content which educates, entertains and helps them solve any problems they are encountering… Then you start to sell to them after you have already earned their trust.
If we are looking to get started with inbound (which in our opinion is not only where the future of marketing is going, but also puts you in a great mindset to conceptualise the valuable content YOUR customers actually want and are interested in) we need to think about our customers. What are their interests? Their likes, dislikes? What problems do they encounter daily? What solutions can we provide? Then we start to build a picture of our ideal customer (for a more in-depth look at how to build buyer personas and get started with a digital strategy -Check out our blog on the topic). After we have collected the information we can start to decide on the context with which we are going to deliver our content.
We can start thinking about storylines, or the platforms we will use to get the content to the world. Let’s use the example of educating our audience about our products/services as one of our main inbound goals. We need to help them and educate them on what we do and how we do it. Now let’s think of the context. Ok so we want to teach… How about we plan to start a learning platform in a Facebook group we open up. The platform will post helpful videos which solve problems our ideal customers have on daily basis. This is the context, the umbrella the content will sit under… After we have decided this, we can get to the fun bit… Making the content.
It is always important to start with the end customer, the ideal person you want to sell your product to. Then we find the context in which to deliver our message to them, the purpose, reason and value they stand to gain... After this we make the content baring in mind these parameters, the content lives in the context we have built... Content with no context will disappear into the ether of the internet moments after it is first published, but lots of content posted together, with the same joint goal, the same purpose, the same context... That content can have a much longer shelf life, and provide much more value to your leads, thus building much more trust and converting many more of them into paying customers.
Quick Tip: If you are struggling to find inspiration for educational content, the first place to look is your companies FAQs page, think about what the main pain points or issues customers come to you with. Then solve their problem before they even need to speak to you.
For more content ideas check out our blog on 5 Simple Video Ideas to Get You Started With Video Marketing.
Additionally have a look at our blog 5 Ways To Improve Your Online Presence.
Let us know how you get on with your content marketing!