Is content marketing about emotion or utility?

Do successful content marketing campaigns rely on a brand’s ability to tell emotional stories, or its internal systems to help scale content creation? Should a company partner with an agency to facilitate sustainable storytelling, or should it invest in a content platform and manage the strategy in-house?

These questions aren’t easily answered, but true forward-thinking marketers are discovering that the solution lies somewhere in the middle.

Take MasterCard, for example. The organization wanted to scale its global content creation program. But in order to produce relevant and entertaining information for various audiences, they knew it would need people on the ground in every city it wanted to engage.

“Our daily challenge is to connect with people’s passions on a global scale. Doing that sustainably meant assembling a constellation of authentic voices from around the world,” said Guillermo Morrone, VP and head of MasterCard Global Consumer and MasterCard Priceless Cities content strategy.

Morrone had to build a strategy with a foundation in emotion and utility. To do this, he needed a partner with strategic vision and the technology to back up its advice.

Skyword sees its clients exploring these new facets of content marketing. There’s a clearer vision of how to produce content that moves audiences to act. Great content isn’t just useful; it’s entertaining, saddening, frustrating and loving. It’s the type of writing that makes people stop and think — much as New Balance is doing with its athlete sponsorships.

“Competition isn’t the only highlight in athletes’ stories. There’s treasure in their personal histories as well. At New Balance, we’re highlighting all those stories and inspire others to reach their personal goals – whatever they may be,” said Patrick Cassidy, head of global digital brand marketing at New Balance.

But raw emotion will only move the needle when it’s evoked consistently and amplified across the social Web. Technology has improved the processes of managing and creating content, but without strategic direction, even the most-innovative platform is just a fancier word-processing software.

Brand marketers thrive off processes that help them do what has begun to work at greater scale. There’s demand for a systematic approach to emotional storytelling, something that’s a core theme at this past week’s Content Marketing World, which drew more than 2,500 niche marketers from 50-plus countries.

Yet even with a stronger understanding of storytelling and the knowledge required to run a content marketing program, enterprise organizes continue to come up against challenges that push them to buck the status quo of marketing.

Skyword’s newly launched Content Marketing Resources Center looks to combat these hurdles, liberating marketers from worn-out practices and giving them the tools and systems to tell great stories at scale.

Does your content strategy need either emotion or utility or does it need both?

Ask yourself this question the next time you evaluate your strategy. You’re no longer confined to traditional channels — you can start creating what your audience loves, rather than interrupting it on the Web.

Top brands like MasterCard and New Balance are already doing this at scale. You can see a preview of New Balance’s moving content strategy at Skyword.com to gain a better understanding of just how mature the art and science of content creation has become.

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