“Oh, wow! You look hideous.” Most of us would agree that this would be an extremely unkind thing to say to someone. But what if I told you the recipient of those words was wearing a Halloween mask. Although the statement (content) is the same, the context in which it has been made can easily change its meaning and the subsequent emotions evoked.
Content is what we say or write. Context is the meaning behind it. Context helps to shape content. It serves as the strategy for your marketing. Any time that we communicate, we are utilizing both content and context. However, if we are to change either what we say or the situation in which we say it, we change the very experience of our audience. That’s why it’s so important to truly know your target audience. They will notice when you make the effort to speak directly to them rather than at them. When you talk to them about things that they care about, there is a good chance that they will think of your business when it comes time to fulfill any related needs.
Context should always be considered with every marketing decision that we make. Everything from our websites to our social media pages is representative of various contexts. We have all seen restaurant menus that were very bad and we have seen the same that are really good. Although both menus serve the purpose of letting diners know what they can order, the menu itself (font, graphics, colors, descriptions, etc.) can create different beliefs about each. A beautiful and professional looking menu may make people believe and expect better food – regardless of whether or not that’s the case.
Not all contexts are appropriate for every business. While Instagram, an app that allows you to share pictures, may make sense for a wedding photographer, it would not have the same affect for a commercial litigator, who depends more heavily on LinkedIn for business. Even though the content messaging for both may be the same (“You want to pay for my services.”), the context can change how an audience perceives that messaging. The photographer may look professional, while the attorney may appear unprofessional – just because of context.
Successful marketing is all about telling the right story, in the right way, at the right time, and in the right place. It’s not enough to tell a great story in order to communicate what we want. The context that we use also has a great impact. Content and context vary from business to business. A company must take who its audience is and what its audience wants into consideration when figuring out what to say and how to say it. You must ensure that you are asking the right questions. Can the content and context of your messaging have a significant impact on engagement or revenue? If not, you should probably divert your attention elsewhere.
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