‘Content’ Isn’t Just ‘Marketing’

Content blooms in surprising spots.

“Content” isn’t just things we think of as “marketing.” A great example is Virgin’s new pre-flight safety briefing, which my friend DJ Waldow Skyped from on board a Virgin flight to share with me last week.

If you haven’t seen it, check it out here:

There’s much to love about this video. I detailed why I think it’s brilliant (and what companies of any size can learn from it, over at LinkedIn, in 4 Things Your Business Can Learn from a ‘Boring’ Pre-Flight Safety Briefing. (Check it out, and please subscribe to my updates there if you like what you see!)

But over here, I wanted to highlight one key takeaway from the Virgin music video safety briefing.

Notice Content Moments Everywhere

For all of us, it’s important to notice content moments everywhere. Or, as the image on this page suggests (to me, anyway!): Content blooms everywhere. Even in unexpected places.

Virgin could’ve produced a boring video like most other airlines do (not all: Air New Zealand is another notable exception). But it didn’t squander the opportunity to create something special, which (by the way) has garnered 6 million YouTube views and significant press coverage, including write-ups in CNN and (incredibly!) the New Yorker.

Here’s the thing: “Content” isn’t just things we think of as “marketing.”

Rather, your content is every word and every pixel your company produces: So, yes, it’s your blog. But it’s also your product pages, your FAQ page, microsites, About Us page, your whole website (!), and (in Virgin’s case) your Federal Aviation Administration-required safety videos.

Publishing is an incredible privilege! It’s an immense opportunity!

I’m sorry for yelling, but the truth is that I want to use SHOUTY CAPS here, because it’s THAT important a point: Don’t squander any content opportunity to connect with the people you want to reach—whether that “content” is traditionally considered “marketing” or not.

Total Annarchy

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10 Responses to ‘Content’ Isn’t Just ‘Marketing’

  1. jen del says:

    … could compel me to watch an airplane safety video with interest. There’s some personal content for ya!

  2. jen del says:

    Only Ann Handley could compel me to watch an airline safety video. There’s some serious content there!

  3. I wasn’t sure if I was watching So You Think You Can Dance or an airline safety video, but can tell you I watched it with the rapt attention I’ve never given a safety video before. To contemplate that, in our lifetimes Ann, we have gone from Pan Am flight attendants giving a verbal safety speech to this boggles the mind. “May you live in interesting times” takes on a whole new meaning. We certainly do!

    • Ann Handley says:

      So true, Karen. The fact that this video was FIVE minutes seemed potentially indulgent… Won’t passengers get tired of it and tune it out? But then every time I watch it (5 or 6 times now), it sucks me in. And I notice something new. It’s an amazing effort.

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  5. Allison S says:

    Virgin Airlines shows the benefits of quality content instead of quantity. http://studioone.com/blog/cleaning-content-marketing

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