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Lose the lipstick, show off the pig.
Lose the lipstick, show off the pig.

The way we interact with content and advertising is changing faster each year. It is almost impossible to tell what the future of advertising may look like in 5 years time.

However content is still going to be pivotal, while the formats and distribution platforms may change, the need for a connected audience to access content will remain. Like a lighthouse in a stormy sea.

The one trend that is on the increase is the desire for authenticity.

The millennial generation will surpass the buying power of any prior generation in less than twelve months, and only 6% of them think online ads are credible.

Maybe we've watched far too many Mad Men seasons, or maybe we have been raised in a world bombarded by constant advertising and have simply developed the ability to zone it out.

Whichever way you look at it the largest cohort of buyers globally now demands real experiences from the brands that they engage with, they listen to your customers before they listen to you, and if they have a bad experience they will blast it all over their social media feed.

Funnily enough this generation is more forgiving of mistakes, they recognise that to err is human, and they prefer to see the reality over the gloss.

Of course that's before they get their hands on it and go a little crazy on the instagram filters - but that's their thing. When it comes to purchasing, consumers now want to see the pig. 

What authentic content marketing isn't

So when we talk about content authenticity - we're really just skirting around the ways in which we create and use content, and the intent for which we distribute that content to our audience.

Authentic content marketing is not about glossy brochure stock images, motivational quotes and an excess of smooth sassy verbiage. While they can have their place (as can a good meme), they are not a foundation on which to build a strong content strategy. They are simply click-bait made pretty.

Authentic content marketing is also not just about data points, or a nicely crafted collection of keywords aimed to increase your SEO ranking.

While a high SEO ranking is nice, more often than not it results from a piece of content delivering real value, not because a certain phrase was used 15 times. 

Content is not a commodity. So don't treat it as such.

What authentic content marketing is

Content marketing is your brand. It's the expression of who you are as a company, and all of the humans that make you up.

It's about lifting the veil and showing your audience that you're real people, and that you care about the same things they do. 

It's also about having fun with your customers, and enjoying interacting with them.

Providing content to your audience is simply starting a new conversation, one that they can interact with wherever they are. Its about creating content that means something to them, either on an emotional level or by providing recognisable value.

Authentic content marketing doesn't just revolve around what you say about your brand, it's also what your customers say about you - both to you, and to their friends and followers. Content has become a new form of currency - it's what we trade for attention, interaction and loyalty from an audience bombarded by white noise.

Authentic content is expression, it's opinion, it's creative - it's human. 

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