Is Content Director the New Creative Director? | Outbrain Blog


Is Content Director the New Creative Director?

| Isabella Barbato

Is Content Director the New Creative Director?

Before anyone ever heard of marketing intelligence, big data, or automation, marketing was where the creative minds lived.

Today, vast quantities of data, abundance of automation platforms and measurement tools are undoubtedly making marketers’ lives easier, but we need not forget that creativity is still at the core of any successful content marketing strategy.

Because, yes – quoting one of my favourite marketing bloggers, Mitch Joel – “Creativity for the sake of being creative is fine: anyone can do oil painting in their garage, or pluck away at their guitar in their basement for the pure love of the activity. On the other hand, great creativity does inspire on other levels. Great creativity makes human beings curious, it makes them yearn to hear more, and it makes them take action.”

And isn’t that what content marketing is supposed to do – inspire, make people yearn to hear more, make them take action?

Earlier this month, we invited our community of marketers to join us for our bi-monthly Content Conversations. In this session, we put creation and creativity back at the core of Content Marketing, and asked our panelists:

Does he/she have the skills and tools to create great, inspiring content?

Creative Directors have been historically very focused on advertising, on the “big idea” that goes “viral”, and delivers value for a brand. On the other hand, Content Directors are (or at least should be) more focused on building content platforms, they should potentially be seen as the editor-in-chief for a brand.

There are lots of similarities between the two roles: they both need to be able to understand audiences; they need to be able to tailor and build content/ads that deliver to that particular audience. The difference is more in the way those skills are applied: creatives are more focused on campaign-led opportunities, and some of them still struggle when it comes to thinking of content marketing as an ongoing dialogue with an audience, which is where content marketers can really contribute to building that ongoing conversation.

What makes a great Creative Director vs. a great Content Director?

The role of advertisers and creatives has changed as a result of an evolution that has taken place over the course of 20 years. Creatives have gone from their original role of creating TV commercials, into creating exciting engagement pieces that really fit into people’s lives. And it’s undeniable that content marketing has played an important role in this transformation. So it’s no longer a question of whether content marketing has/will revolutionise the advertising and publishing industry. It’s rather – who will lead this revolution?

Do Content Directors and Creative Directors have different skill sets, or are their skills transferable? Can a Creative Director ever truly think beyond ad copy and 30″ second spots? Can a Content Director ever truly understand brands and ensure they play a part in every story? Let’s hear the Creative Director’s point of view.

Do brands need both? Do agencies?

When we talk about content marketing, we often differentiate between entertaining content and informational content. Entertaining content has normally been the realm of creatives, whereas informational content would come more under the remit of content marketers.
This is obviously a generalisation, and there are many examples of Content Directors creating great entertaining content and viceversa, but it’s just a way to say that for brands, the decision of whether they need to work with creatives or with content experts (or with both) is really a strategic one: what do they want their content to do – Entertain? Inform?

Based on that, they then need to decide what combination of skills they need from those 2 different parties.

Big thanks to all the speakers, moderators and attendees for making this edition of Content Conversations a success!

To get updates on the next Content Conversations in Singapore, join the group on Meetup, or follow the hashtag #ContentConversations on Twitter!

If you’d like to have a chat with us about content, reach out! We’d love to hear from you.

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Isabella Barbato

Isabella Barbato

Isabella is Marketing Manager, Asia Pacific at Outbrain, based out of their Singapore office. Originally from Italy, she has spent... Read more

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