Almost 2 years ago, I started a minor at my university. I don’t know how common this is in other countries so just to be safe I’ll explain it real quick. A minor here is when you take a semester off from your major (English teacher, in my case) and do something else. This can be something that is in the same field as your major, but more specific, like teaching special education or teaching a different age of kids. It can also be something completely unrelated. That’s what I ended up doing when I took a minor in Creative Writing.
I don’t have to explain why I picked a writing course, I’d say that’s pretty obvious. For a long time I had ideas of doing a writing related course as my major, but I ended up deciding against it multiple times. I love writing and being able to do it as my job would be a godsent, but it also feels very risky. Especially for someone with my issues, it can be really hard to get into a field that’s that competitive. So instead I went with teaching, which can always use more people, and did creative writing as a minor.
The minor had a few courses, some of which were fun, like the writing and argumentative courses. Some were less fun, like the ones that involved networking, which terrifies me. One stood out to me though, because it fascinated me yet irritated me at the same time.
That course was called content marketing. As of writing this, I still haven’t passed the course, but that’s unrelated to my like or dislike of it, it just came down to poor timing and mental health issues.
Content Marketing is the “art” of selling your product to the consumer. Pretty simple at face value and not really much wrong with that. Where it gets more complicated is when you start to really dive into how predatory it can get.
You see, the assignment we had to do was make a social media campaign about a company we picked. A big part of it was figuring out how this company and the customer were related. You want to build up a relationship so the customer feels that the company is a person, or someone they can rely on.
That’s where I feel like it gets predatory. And I’m not a fan. Coca Cola isn’t my friend and as much as I like their christmas ads from time to time, that doesn’t mean they’re anything more than a company that likes to sell me their fizzy drinks.
In a similar sense, I know some people who are such hardcorde Apple product fans that they’d never even consider getting an alternative, even if the alternative were better or cheaper. It’s just a lifestyle thing at that point. And that’s a very good trick used by marketing campaigns that we fall for far too often.
That’s why I didn’t like the course. The teacher was a great, very nice guy, very understanding of my situation when I wasn’t doing well mentally, and good at teaching. It’s just that the content (pun intended) wasn’t something I enjoyed. I noticed this as the course went on. It’s a similar issue I had when I was doing business economics. The core of marketing and things like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are fascinating to me, and I think it can be useful in figuring out priorities in life, but modern day advertising bureaus try every trick in their playbook to abuse it, and it’s not something I want to be a part of.
But maybe I’m just a bitter person who hates everything. This is probably true even if you agree with me on this to be honest. Do you find content marketing similarly interesting like I do, or do you not care for it? Let me know in the comments down below!