I’ve been wanting to tackle a request to unpack a few terms from the Visual Journalism Bootcamp “Top 10 Lessons List” for some time, so here goes:
Strategic Dissonance (as I understand it)
Dissonance, by definition, is a lack of harmony. As part of the summer VJ Bootcamp we attended, author Tony Deifell introduced the idea that the very nature of messaging – be it news, education or advertising – is in crisis (lack of harmony) because of the emergence of multi-platform, web-based content. Using words that left me wishing I’d brought a thesaurus, Deifell explained how 21st Century communications are at a point of great calamity AND great opportunity. How we adapt to the explosion of new communication methods and models of business ultimately will determine the future of communicators and their industry. As such, Deifell urges New Media practitioners to get strategic in their approach to plying their trade.
Content Marketing breaks the top-down approach of advertising with a new means of promotion that involves more listening than messaging. It recognizes that we as consumers have become too savvy or cynical to believe what we’re fed by manufacturers and their soothsayers. Content marketing is created to engage, inform and inspire the ongoing dialogue of target audiences through Social Media. In doing so, we can come alongside those we wish to serve (or sell to), learn where they are at and craft content that can help meet their needs. In so doing, we stand the chance of earning trust and building relationship.
This is the dark side of Content Marketing that involves the use of web-gathered metrics to identify and target audiences who are pre-qualified or predisposed to whatever product or service you are hoping to promote and then engaging them with a progressive series of messages designed to elicit a certain response. In its slimiest form, it can mean hiring actors or “alts” to play multiple roles to feed and ultimately steer a conversation or comment thread in carefully selected online communities (i.e. chats, forums, message boards, etc). Some of the nicer examples include shock-value and humorous ads, that a producer will hope “goes viral”.