A Broken Record: Content Is Still King

When it comes to media programming, marketing campaigns, and public relations efforts, content reigns supreme. I (and many others) have been saying this for a long time, yet so many people still don’t get it.

Content is at the heart of both sides of the broadcasting coin. Content matters in both programming and advertising. Clear Channel Media + Entertainment CEO Bob Pittman recently announced an effort to take on “lame ads” in broadcasting. We’ve all seen or heard them. These ads come in bobpittmanccphotomany forms: not clearly stating what’s being pitched, not focusing on the benefits of said object, or not providing a call to action. These “lame ads” don’t just reflect poorly on the advertiser, but the delivery method as well. When radio stations air “lame ads,” the radio industry looks bad. How about poorly executed print campaigns? The term “junk mail” is spot on.

A focus on content is essential for marketing and PR professionals as well. Communications professional Ann Wylie says we (each individual) are bombarded by 5,000 messages each day. And, that’s not counting messages from social media. So, simply distributing/communicating a message isn’t enough. The message has to be creative and relevant to its intended target. Proving that point is something said by many communication pros: facts and statistics aren’t engaging. If you’re presenting them, do so within the context of a story. Stories engage people far more than a basic presentation of facts.

Storytelling is an art. There is no debating this statement. I’ve heard this from thought leaders in broadcasting, PR, and marketing. Storytelling begins as a young child. Yet, many adults struggle with telling stories. Anyone can tell a story using lots of words, but only true pros can say a lot with just a few words. Whether we’re talking about storytelling as on-air talent or as a marketing/PR pro, the best stories include 3 things. A beginning (introduction), a conflict (problem), a climax(solution) are key to the best stories. Another key to telling a great story is to provide a time element (define the moment). This helps provide context to the story.

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As more communication platforms exist, the importance of a clear message also becomes higher. Content is the key difference maker. Even though many of us have stressed this for a long time, its obvious that message too gets lost in the clutter of 5,000 messages a day.

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