[column] Content in the wrong environment

Articles are already classified before publication. Especially now in the war between Russia and Ukraine, this is quickly becoming a hot topic and the application is gaining momentum. In the past, advertisers sometimes decided to stay away from news sites altogether, but now they can select much more specifically. For example, they can still advertise with war reports, but no longer if it specifically concerns the dead and wounded. I read this in our colleagues’ newsletter.

As I write this I hear in the background the donation campaign of Monday 7 March with terrible stories. Meanwhile, a long story arrives in my mailbox from a good friend from Ukraine who is trapped in Moldova, while his wife and son live in fear in Kyiv. He writes to drive you crazy. He can’t cross the border. When I turn on the TV I can watch a stream of war images. How do you deal with it as a content marketer?

Robert Zantinge of ZB from Ede launched the platform The Good World last week. How do Communications directors help make the world healthier, more sustainable, fairer and more inclusive? What are they successful with? What are the pitfalls? The Good World wants to share this knowledge and inspire professionals in marketing and communication. All those communication directors have a problem with that. The war in Ukraine is changing the mindset. On March 2, de Volkskrant wrote: ‘It started with an apparently ordinary email to an ordinary civil servant. In reality, this was the beginning of a digital offensive that preceded the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Military hackers in Moscow tried to shut down Ukrainian ministries.” Email marketing is getting a new dimension.

Email marketing gets a new dimension

On the website of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency I read ‘Russian has not been an official language in Ukraine since 1996 and its use can be sensitive. Therefore, also pay attention to the spelling of city names. For example, it is better to spell the capital as ‘Kyiv’ in communication to Ukrainians. The Dutch spelling is a direct translation of the Russian spelling.’ It explains why more and more media are talking about Kyiv.

As a content marketer, we know that a message or story only becomes meaningful and effective if it matches the right context. Research shows that the time, time of year or recent events and the associated associations can cause content to be given meaning in a different way. The context of today’s media is terrible. In our brain we constantly try to give meaning and look for an optimum, as it were, between content (content), confrontation (medium) and context (decor). If that is congruent, there is maximum opening for the message. If content matches the needs, emotions and values ​​of the consumer and is shown at the right time in a suitable environment, we can speak of context marketing. But I think the present moment calls for a pause.

On the radio I followed a conversation about the painful distinction that is made between the word refugee from Ukraine and that from Islamic and African countries. We expect more than 50,000 new fellow countrymen who will be able to start work in no time. Our values ​​tilt. And that has a major impact on our work as content marketer. Because it goes beyond context marketing, whether or not helped by artificial intelligence.

In these times, the reliability of content is essential. Not only in journalism, but also within content marketing. The current war is not only a terrible physical war, but also an information war in which real and fake are intertwined. Let’s reformulate the values ​​of our profession. It seems logical that I would rather not place my commercial message next to stories in which the suffering caused by the war is told in a reliable way. In that context, may I ask DPG to stop with the annoying book advertisements that pop into your face every four pages when I read VK on my iPad. I enjoy reading the newspaper, but that pleasure is diminishing by the week. Let’s just stay away from paid groceries for a while and focus with concern on the harsh reality that is turning the world upside down.

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