Forget Content Strategy, What's Your Point of View?

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Less Big Idea. More Big Ideal. - Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy

There are a few expressions we throw around in the marketing world about content. You've all heard them – a lot. Be a part of the conversation. Think like a publisher. Or the dreaded: We need a content strategy. What all of those are really saying is this: We need a point of view.

We live in a world where media is ubiquitous. Half of our lives are spent staring at screens – and over half of that time is spent consuming content. But we don't want just any content. We crave content with perspective - and humanity. Content is what we use to build our identities, it's what we trade and share in social networks, and it gives us a reason to communicate with each other. And here's the reality: If you can figure out your point of view, you'll be able to carve out a place in the world of social communications that will be the envy of your competitors.

Great brands have been harnessing this idea for a long time. P&G does it like this (warning: you will cry when you watch this). Louis Vuitton trades in the transformative power of travel. IBM believes that technology will make the world work better. When you find that thread, something that resonates with people – then you have a reason to leverage social channels in lots of ways.

It’s no longer just luxury brands that are doing this effectively either. J.Crew now sells a curated point of view, not product. Toms believes companies and consumers care about the world – and can look good doing it. Patagonia took out a full-page ad on Black Friday (the biggest shopping day of the year) that said, "Don't buy this jacket." It encourages people to be thoughtful about how they consume - buy less, buy better. These are messages that resonate.

Simply put, point of view is brand. And it's more important than topic. When we think about content strategy, we often start from a place of "What do we want to write about? What content are we going to create?" We should be asking, "What’s our point of view?" The people you enjoy spending time with usually share your point of view. And when you share a point of view with someone, you can talk about anything.

The fundamental challenge of our time is learning how to engage people when we don’t have control of the media. It’s about having something to say. Because when you are able to find something interesting to say - and find the overlap between point of view and cultural context, something extraordinary happens. You become part of the fabric of what people care about. And that is a really powerful place to be.

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