The currency of content marketing

Posted by Sara Hawthorn

When I worked as a columnist I often received letters from readers, some were lovely, some…not so much. But when I was asked if this upset me, my answer was always no. For one simple reason; I had provoked them into a response.

Whatever I had written had created such a fervent reaction that it prompted them to get an actual pen and paper and take the time to write, then post, their thoughts to me. To move people is part of the reason writers write. But it’s also the motivation behind pretty much all marketing endeavours and increasingly it’s being increasingly relied upon by content marketers.

In the Emotional Rainbow of Marketing (catchy, I know) marketing efforts glide through our range of emotions, pushing at this button and that until an appropriate response is deployed and a relevant action taken.  From fear to desire to empathy, we are played like rats mesmerised by the tune of the piper.

Marketing has always tapped into human emotion – its why so many psychology students end up in the profession – we only need to look into the starving, traumatised eyes of a small child in Africa or Syria looming large on our 52 inch LED TVs and we find ourselves turning over because it’s too difficult for us to look at. Sadness and pity, quickly followed by guilt. Three emotions and we didn’t even make it to the end of the advert.

As content marketing becomes increasingly more strategic and brands become even more desperate for their content to reign supreme expect our emotions to be front and centre when it comes to marketers communicating with us. Delivering educational, useful content is pleasant enough but unlikely to have us hitting the share button and contributing our own vitally important thoughts to the piece.

Emotional investment is the currency of content marketing in 2016 and that may mean having our feelings manipulated even further by corporate brands on the hunt for a willing audience.