Content is the New Advertising

The term “content” is a buzzword that’s become popular in the last two decades, and lots of marketers have jumped on the content train. To us, it’s a term that’s overused and underdefined.

We believe content is a story, message or experience that comes from a brand. It’s similar to advertising, but it’s designed to deliver a memorable interaction on its own terms. Content gives the person experiencing it a unique feeling at the time and place they want to feel it.

Today, advertising is just one spoke on a wheel of mediums you can and should use to deploy great content. The most successful brands develop great content and strategies that unleash their brand potential.

So, how do you do that?


Ask questions.

To get the most out of your marketing, you have to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What do they want to hear? And how do they want to hear it?

Keep planning.

Once you understand what your audience wants to hear, you define a content strategy, create compelling content and send it out into the world through the right channels. It’s a fluid, iterative process. The key is to continue to create better content over time.

Remember quality.

Just because social media may be less expensive than TV commercials doesn’t mean you have a green light to skimp on your production budget. And it doesn’t mean you should open the floodgates to daily posts just because you can. Your audience wants interesting stories that are well crafted. This allows your brand to be free to take chances, but not shortcuts.

Be mindful.

Too often, brands approach content they way they’ve always approached traditional ads. They see content as a chance to shout about their news, offerings and differentiators. But that doesn’t work in today’s environment. Users scroll right past those sales pitches on their way to truly engaging content.

Recently, Netflix launched a campaign for its “Gilmore Girls” reunion series that took the web (and the country) by storm. Not only did they run traditional ads with news of the release; they also transformed 200 independent coffee shops across the country into “Luke’s Diner,” the famous fictional coffee shop from the show. Visitors lined up hours before opening to get free coffee in branded “Luke’s Diner” cups. A custom Snapchat filter was used nearly 900,000 times. Netflix created content documenting the experience and broadcast it on its own media channels. And the press loved it.



In order to produce great content, you must ask yourself if it’s relevant, consistent and valuable to the audience you’re trying to reach. Great content, along with your brand, evolves over time and focuses on the customer. And if you always put your audience first, they’ll return the favor in spades.


Lauren Cox Sweeney founder and CEO of Dotted Line Collaborations

Lauren Sweeney is the Founder and CEO of Dotted Line Collaborations, full-service advertising and branding agency solving big brand problems from our headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. When Lauren’s not providing strategic direction for the firm or delivering amazing results for our clients, Lauren is outdoors enjoying all that Richmond has to offer or traveling to a new and exciting destination.

To read more about our firm’s recent work, visit


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