Code Is Your Medium. Content Is Your Product.

3 minute read

Upland Admin

It’s a well-documented fact that there’s a big gap between those doing content marketing, and those who are doing content marketing well.

In fact, our very own Anne Murphy just wrote about that idea, commenting on the fact that only 4% of content marketers are considered “masters.”

But today, I offer you an alternative way to think about your content marketing in the hope that you can learn some new ideas and perspectives, and kick start your creative genius to make better content.

Take a Lesson from a Potter (Not the J.K. Rowling Type)

Specifically, when you think of your next content pillar I urge you to think of code as your medium, and content as your product.

What I mean by code is web code—like languages, HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.

Code is to content marketers what clay is to potters. It’s our medium, and the basis for how our intended design takes shape. When content marketers produce assets like blogs, whitepapers, and YouTube videos, what we are really doing is manipulating tiny bits of binary code to help deliver our message.

However, for those in marketing, our relationship to code isn’t nearly as tactile as a potter’s to clay. Most content marketers aren’t computer engineers, nor do they have much professional experience at website building.

But getting in touch with the code that makes our messages consumable could be the key to unlocking creative innovation.

Let’s use an example to illustrate this point. Before there were assets like this 8-bit-inspired infogif (a content piece that was born from two popular parents: the .gif video and infographic) there was the static infographic. Many infographics had a similar look and feel: vertically oriented, big title block, cartoony design, and numerical data points to help illustrate a concept.

At some point, designers and writers began to question the conventions and press for something more innovative.

Questioning the status quo is essential in the business of content marketing because we are fighting for our buyer’s attention—which is becoming more difficult to grab. They have limited time to interact with new information. With only 24 hours in a day, and more and more content published each day, the competition for their attention is intensifying.

Innovate Your Content Product

To stay ahead of the curve, and at the top of buyers’ minds, it is essential that content marketers innovate and improve their product. And what is our product? A manipulation of our medium: code.

Let’s turn back to our infographic example. A year ago, infographics were cool. But the hype around illustrated data started to decline, and creative teams needed to evolve their offering to keep people’s interest. What did they do? They turned back to their foundation—code—asking: What are the possibilities? What are the limitations? How can we improve on an existing concept, and bring new life to it?

Because, just like in pottery, you can’t imagine a mug and have it (poof!) appear. You must first manipulate the medium.

Click the interactive links below to get a feel for the kind of content we’re talking about. The pictures below don’t do justice.

Static homepages became practically 3D immersive experiences. <– click!

Static blogs have become interactive games. <–click!

static blog vs interactive blog

Infographics have become interactive and embedded with video. <–click!

The .jpg….

….became the .gif.

Challenge your content marketers and creative teams to learn their media. Challenge them to consider the code, and thereby the scope, of what they can produce. And send them this link if they knead* a little inspiration.

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