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Crack Content

Making content addictive is the future of marketing

The latest furore over the sale of tobacco products and Big Tobacco’s $10 million ad campaign against the proposed plain-packaging legislation got us thinking about products that sell themselves.

Of course, cigarettes aren’t the best example, because they are physically addictive and therefore kind of… well… cheating. But previous government ‘attempts’ to curb smoking (first by banning advertising and then by introducing graphic images of cancerous tongues and the like to packaging) have highlighted the fact that people don’t buy cigarettes because of marketing, they buy cigarettes because of cigarettes.

This analogy works quite well when we talk about content marketing. Whatever content you’re producing, aim to create the kind that sells itself. The kind of content that attracts readers or viewers or buyers or listeners without (or in spite of) supporting marketing.

We see this kind of content-addiction happen frequently with TV shows. Breaking Bad is a case in point. This show about methamphetamine affects its viewers in much the same way as the drug affects users. While you may dabble in one or two episodes because everyone else is doing it and your friends keep telling you how amazing it is, before you know it you’re strung out on the couch, twitching and shaking and begging for even the smallest scraps of information before Season 4 finally airs in the States. Or so we’ve heard…

The rest of the marketing strategy around the show occurs as a response to the need for more discussion because of the content, not the other way around.

Seth Godin believes we should create content that adds value to a consumer’s experience. But who’s to say the content should be a means to an end, and not an end in itself? It is possible to create content that becomes more valuable in and of itself than the brand it was trying to promote.

Take the Huggies website, for example. What began as an exercise in marketing nappies has morphed into a content juggernaut all of its own. A brand community that, due to its wildly successful content, attracts business from other brands wanting to advertise products. Mums and mums-to-be flock to the website to discuss, learn and be entertained. In essence, the content has become the star attraction.

While engaging content is always a positive thing, it is addictive content – the kind that draws people back time and time again – that we should be attempting to create.


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